The Minister of Science, Pedro Duque, has asked for a medium-term social and political agreement to increase “investment in science and innovation” in a sustained and uneven manner and has committed to increase only non-financial items and not credits, that will see their relative weight reduced.
This was stated by Duke in the Committee on Science, Innovation and Universities of the Congress, where he indicated that it is urgent to approve some budgets for 2020: “I request here the support of all groups to prioritize investments in science and innovation”.
“After this very complicated decade, we have been off the hook in this race and we have to pedal harder than the rest to reach the platoon of European countries, without even pretending to even resemble the most developed”, summarized Duque, for whom the I + D is an investment of the future to maintain the welfare state.
In this regard, he has reported that from his Government the new accounts are being prepared and the commitment is to increase public investment in civil R&D over the state’s non-financial spending limit.
In particular, he added, items devoted to projects and the hiring of researchers will be increased as much as possible.
All the budget growth of 2020 will be allocated to direct injection of resources, that is, to the chapter on subsidies on whose resources the research done in scientific centers depends; According to the minister, the credits will not increase.
It is an old claim of the scientific community that has also always denounced that historically the credit item is increased and then it is not executed.
For Duque, credits and subsidies should never be added, “since it leads to sterile debates and creates distrust”, and has pointed out that the non-financial chapter runs in its entirety, with credits reserved for the promotion of business innovation .
As for this last game, the minister has also been convinced that his execution, which “in the past has been very low, will be greatly increased.”
“For all the above, the rational and what we will do is increase the weight of direct investment items and reduce the relative weight of credits. In fact, any increase in budgets will be in non-financial items.”
Duque recalled that Spain invests 1.2% of GDP in R&D when the European average is 2.1%. However, “a hopeful fact,” he added, is that private sector R&D spending is growing above general economic growth.
As for the scientific staff, “a priority” for his department, he has announced that in this term more resources will be allocated to predoctoral and postdoctoral contracts.
“The predoctoral students already rose 8% in 2019 after the approval of the Statute of Predoctoral Research Personnel in Training. And now it is necessary to put our attention on postdoctoral students, who have been frozen since 2011”.
From the PP, Pedro Navarro, has claimed a pact for science, which would involve a commitment to society and give stability to the system, a pact with which the minister, as on other occasions, has agreed: “we have to go talking to him. I am open to all meetings. “
Mireia Borrás, of Vox, has opined that Spain has “a great talent”, so “let’s make things easy for them”, and the deputy of Citizens Marta Martín has stated that, now that the minister “has half the work”, at Divide science and universities into two ministries, “I hope it is twice as effective.”
In this sense, Martin recalled the discomfort caused in the scientific community by this separation; Duque has stressed that “nothing comes out if you have no ministry”, since it allows you, among other things, direct interlocution with the president.
Now there are two ministers who can do this and talk about R&D with Pedro Sánchez (60% of Spanish research is done in universities), said Duque, who recalled, however, that there will be an organ of coordination that will have a joint participation of both departments and that will not cost more money.