A group of 22 leading Spanish scientists published a manifesto late last week (October 14) expressing concern that the new Spanish government was not living up to promises that it would increase the national research and development (R&D) budget 25% by 2005.
Current levels of research investment in Spain are among the lowest in Europe, so scientists were pleased that the Socialist Party's election campaign included a promise to double the country's €2 billion R&D budget by 2008.
Shortly after wining the general election in late March, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez-Zapatero reiterated the promise of increasing the budget by 25% next year. But when Science Minister María Jesús San Segundo announced the detailed budget on September 30, the sentiment within the science community turned to annoyance. Although overall R&D spending would grow by 35%, most of the increase in available funds would come via 8-year interest-free loans.