[Science/Letter] French Scientists Take a Stand
- 2004-02-17 04:33
Over 35,000 French scientists have signed an open letter to the French government to express strongly their concerns about current French research policies and their consequences for the future (1). Deep cuts in the research budget made in 2002 and 2003, followed by a major reduction in the number of staff scientists to be recruited in 2004 by national research agencies (e.g., CNRS and INSERM), offer a gloomy perspective for French science.
French scientists are angered by the contrast between the actual facts and claims emanating from the highest ranked governmental members and President Jacques Chirac that research is a national priority. There is a general feeling that this government sees academic research, including basic science, as a costly activity of secondary importance. Although the research minister Claudie Haigneré was correct in pointing out that private industry research is weak and needs to be reinforced, she seems to hold the very naïve view that it can grow on its own without permanent nurturing from academic research. At a time when the EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin is making a plea for massive support of basic research (2), the French government is moving in the opposite direction!
French scientists want the government to pay the millions of euros it has owed since 2002 to national research agencies and to reestablish the recruitment of young scientists to agencies and universities. However, this movement is not just another simplistic request for more money. Rather, the signatories of the letter strongly advocate a thorough appraisal of research politics in France. They are asking for an in-depth review process, through a national debate. A model for this was the "colloque de Caen," organized in 1956 by the former prime minister Pierre Mendes France, which led to a revival of French research under De Gaulle. This historical comparison is pertinent given the growing gap between France's research effort (with the exception of nuclear physics and aerospace) and those of many other countries where R&D is strong.
The French scientific community wants to see a reform of the complex and rigid organization of the research system. Among the important topics to be addressed are how to make science careers attractive, the role of universities vis à vis research agencies, the formation of postdoctoral training organizations, and how academic research can influence private research. They want an action plan demonstrating that science is indeed a national priority, because strong science is a sign of a strong country and is vital to long-term economic interests. Many French scientists are committed to working hard for these goals, and they are pressing for urgent action by the government.
If these demands are not met by 9 March, the members of the "Save Research Movement" are determined to resign their administrative responsibilities to make clear that they will not comply with a program that dismantles research.
INSERM Unit 429,
Hopital des Enfants Malades,
149 Rue de Sevres,
Paris, Cedex 15, 75015
1. An English translation of the letter is available at www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/303/5660/954b/DC1.
2. See http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/press.cfm.
다른 사람들 의견
기본적으로 우리는 기본적조차 확립되지 않는 열악한 환경을 말하는데 이들은 차원이 너무 틀려요. 참 부끄럽죠? 근데 이 기사 전에 한번 올라오지 않았나요?
네, 올라 왔었는데요. 이번주자 science 에 letter 로 해서 올라 왔길래, 조금더 자세한 내용도 있고 해서, 올려 봤습니다.
음냐.. 맨날 논문만 읽어서인지 무슨 뜻인지 하나도 모르겠네요. T.T