The Government today approved a battery of measures to reduce administrative procedures and streamline the recruitment of staff in research centers and Spanish universities, avoid delays in calls and improve equality.
The approval of these measures, "long-awaited" by scientists for years, "will give impetus" to the R & D & I system and universities, which for years have endured a "very poor situation", has advanced the Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, in the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers, collected by Efe.
These measures, which are "few, but very important", are grouped in a Royal Decree-Law that will entail a dozen legislative changes in several regulations and laws and that will allow researchers to focus on their work, compete better internationally and to attract research talent, pointed out the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque.
For Duque, these measures "of draft" are a "milestone comparable to the laws of science of 1986 and 2011" and, as minister, "a satisfaction that compensates the sacrifices and that is an incentive to get new things".
To reduce the high bureaucratic burden, the Royal Decree eliminates the previous intervention in Public Research Organizations (OPIs), a rule imposed in 2014 that hindered the functioning of these bodies and even caused these organizations to lose calls to European projects. pointed Duke.
Regarding employment, the law modifies the Law of Science of 2011 so that schools and universities can hire staff indefinitely from projects that have specific funding, a measure that until now was not possible and to reduce the temporality and instability of scientists, especially among young people.
Likewise, The IPOs will be allowed to prepare annual reports (instead of individualized reports as they have done up to now) for all planned hirings, which will expedite the management of the recruitment of researchers of a labor nature.
The Royal Decree-Law, which includes measures for the purchase of equipment and instruments for research, determines that the research centers may execute minor contracts for services and supplies up to 50,000 euros with the same supplier for different units. In practice, this measure will allow the purchase of laboratory equipment for two projects of the same university, something that until now was impossible.
In addition, the new regulation will allow the State Research Agency to have more external resources to reduce the time for checking grants of research projects, a measure that attempts to free resources to devote to the management of calls.
In equality, the rule modifies the Law of Science so that the maternity, paternity or temporary disability leave does not affect the selection and evaluation of the scientific activity of the researchers, a "disadvantage" that was "urgent" and "just" to solve , according to Duque. This measure will improve equal opportunities -especially for mothers- and will be applied in all the Ministry's calls.
The Royal Decree-Law also includes "more advantageous improvements" for affected by the loans Renta-Universidad, since only those that exceed 22,000 euros per year will have to start returning the loan, for which they will have a 15-year term. The measure may benefit up to 12,000 young people who are pending repayment of loans, some of which have already faced situations of default.
The regulation also modifies the Law of Science to extend the duration of research agreements. Thus, in the case of agreements for centers, institutes, Spanish or European consortiums the period of validity is extended to 17 years "to be able to amortize the investment", although, the agreements for consortiums may have longer validity if this is required the scientific project or the nature of the investments.
Research centers, consortiums and foundations may apply for credits directly, provided they are financed from the European Regional Development Fund or the European Social Fund. This will help to avoid delays in the acquisition of equipment and in the execution of works and infrastructures in research centers (such as the repair and renovation of ships or the purchase of equipment for large scientific installations).
The last of the ten measures establishes that Scientific and Technological Parks that accredit a financial situation that prevents them from complying with their payment obligations of loans or advances, may defer their amortization installments as long as they present a viability plan.