French researchers have condemned a decision by the French Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) to halve the number of new research positions by 2004. Compared to 69 positions offered in 2003, only 30 permanent posts will become available at INSERM by competitive examination next year.

The National Union of Scientific Researchers (SNCS) has blasted the measure, predicting it will further aggravate the poor employment prospects of young scientists in France.

The secretary-general of the SNCS, Jacques Fossey, told The Scientist, “Two years ago, there were a hundred permanent positions. This year there are 30. It's a situation that can only discourage young people from going into research and encourage them to opt for professions in law or engineering.”

The SNCS has called for a public protest against the job cuts at INSERM headquarters on December 10, the day the INSERM administrative council is scheduled to vote on...

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