GOVERNMENT funds for collaborative research between Germany and the former Eastern Bloc have been slashed.
The German Research Society (DFG), which administers the country's science funding, has cut the budget for research collaboration with central and eastern Europe by 34 per cent.
The cuts are the latest of several and ironically come at a time when the DFG is enjoying a slight increase in funding from the federal government.
Doris Schenk, in charge of collaboration with central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union at the DFG, said: "It's a pity this is happening at a time when Russian scientists are becoming increasingly eager to co-operate. There would be a large number of opportunities for research co-operation. But now we have to be extremely selective."
Dr Schenk stressed that prospects for collaboration with central and eastern Europe would improve as the region developed into a key market over the next ten to 15 years.
"The transformation process in what used to be the Soviet Union may be taking time, but there will be considerable results in the long run. Research institutions have attained a high level of independence."
The Russian Foundation for Basic Research, with its headquarters in Moscow, is one of the DFG's chief partners in the region.