Spanish science is in need of drastic and urgent reform if it is to keep pace with its European neighbors, according to a report that the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) released in June. The group represents some 30,000 scientists from 53 societies.

"The situation is critical," says COSCE president Joan Guinovart, a biochemist at the University of Barcelona. "Spain's science is at a crossroads. If we take a step forward now, we can get to the level of our neighbors. If we don't, we'll lose a historic opportunity."

The authors urge the government to stick to its previous promise to increase R&D spending by 25% annually until 2008. "I am confident that they will respect this commitment," says Pere Puigdoménech, director of Barcelona's Institute of Molecular Biology.

Salvador Barberá, state secretary of science policy at the Science and Education Ministry, says that "not only will the government keep...

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