A classical sculpture depicts the Greek Titan Atlas bent awkwardly under the weight of an immense globe. The same sculptor might depict Mariano Barbacid, director of Spain's National Center for Cancer Research (CNIO), carrying an additional weight: Time.

Like other Spanish scientists who have returned from the United States and Europe to build their country's biomedical research system, Barbacid must push time forward to an age when Spain attracts legions of Titans in the life sciences. In the meantime, he is trying to prove to expatriate Spanish researchers that the government will finance competitive research right now. That means showing them that the national research budget will consistently climb—now, at 0.9% of gross domestic product, including military research and development, it remains among the lowest in the European Community. He also must show those researchers he can loosen the taut Spanish bureaucracy and keep his staff competitive with scientists...

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