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Researchers v the government

Argentine researchers are very concerned by the government’s decision announced in May to cut budgets and salaries in the scientific and technological development field. The letter sent to president Fernando de la Rua, points out that scientific research and technological development are key elements in the country’s economic and industrial growth, as well as being important for the well-being, education, and health of the public. “Argentina invests around 0.45% of its GDP in S&T, while in other Latin American countries, this percentage comes to between 0.65% (Chile) and 1.2% (Brazil)”, observes the letter. They also state that the Argentinean scientific system suffers from three chronic ills: lack of clear planning and policies, lack of proper planning, and the lack of periodic assessment, by a competent commission, of the national scientific production and the workings of the various S&T organizations. The government’s latest measures will worsen these ills and increase the country’s backwardness in relation to First World countries, they predict. They demand full payment of salaries and the preparation of a development plan for S&T in the country, with an increase in the sector’s budget.