Australia's major government science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), announced last week that it is planning to cut up to 25% of its research support staff in an effort to save money. CSIRO executives argued the move would let the group spend more on science, but scientists said they see the cuts as part of a restructuring they fear will enable administrators to make more decisions about what is researched.

Mike Whelan, the organization's chief financial officer, described the plan at a Senate committee hearing on Thursday (November 3). He told politicians that a staff review was being undertaken in an effort to save $30 million a year, and insisted that the cuts would allow the organization to spend more money on science.

Whelan told The Scientist the cuts would bring CSIRO in line with other comparable organizations. "We spend in the order of $985 million...

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