French basic science left behind

Launch of 'competitiveness clusters' worries scientists who think academic research is at risk

Clementine Wallace(clementine.wallace@gmail.com)
Jul 24, 2005

The French government's recent announcement that it would commit €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion US) over the next three years to collaborations working largely on applied research has disappointed some scientists who see it as a sign that politicians are favoring industrial innovation at the expense of basic research.

On July 12, the French Interministerial Committee for Territorial Planning and Development announced it would be dedicating the funds to 67 research collaborations between national laboratories and private industry. The government hopes these "competitiveness clusters" will encourage top-notch researchers back to France and boost the country's international standing.

"While it is legitimate that the government is concerned about improving its industrial policy, it is illegitimate and irresponsible to confuse industrial policy and research," said Alain Trautmann, spokesperson for Sauvons la recherche (Let's Save Research), the movement leading the national protest against the parlous state of French science.

"I think...

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