France set to boost research budget by 6 per cent

Proposals ‘reverse the trend’ of falling spending, says research minister

October 4, 2017
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France is to increase its research spending by 6 per cent, according to draft budget plans for 2018.

Frédérique Vidal, France}s minister for higher education, research and innovation said that “we all know we have come to the end of a movement where laboratories’ allocations have been trimmed, year after year”, Nature reported.

“With the 2018 budget, we are reversing the trend and are starting to give fresh oxygen to our research,” she added.

A further €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion) will be injected into research funding over the next five years as part of an economic recovery programme, the journal also reported.

The announcements come after the research budget for 2017 was reduced as part of broader cuts to public spending.

The draft budget plans an increase in funding of around 5 per cent for the France’s National Research Agency. The body has been hit in recent years by a falling budget, success rates in the low teens, and in July its head resigned after concerns over the grant application evaluation process.

But there is only a 1 per cent increase for the country’s public research bodies, many of which run their own laboratories jointly with universities, Nature reported.

In response to the draft budget, the French Conference of University Presidents warned that the new money did nothing to cover an increase in student numbers.

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