Mixed reactions to French budget cut

French science has taken a hit but many are not sure whether to be mad or glad.

Melissa Mertl(

Le Monde and other French papers stated today that the government plans to cut the 2003 research budget by 0.8% to €8.84 billion. But the official announcement is difficult to untangle. Next year's public research and development budget will either increase 5.3% or fall 1.3% from this year, depending on how one reads the budget outlined yesterday evening after a vote by the French council of ministers.

Research unions are calling the rise a "trick of the eye," as the higher figure relies on disputed public funds supposedly not consumed in 2002. "Nobody was easily deceived," says Jacques Fossey, secretary-general of the National Union of Scientific Researchers (SNCS). His organization calls the draft budget "unacceptable."

As two-thirds of the budget is dedicated to salaries, the National Union of Scientific Researchers expects the reduction will result in the loss of about 50 research positions and a 10% drop in funds for...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?