The Government takes the first step towards a stable research career

Pedro Duque, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers

Pedro Duque, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers

The Minister council has agreed this Tuesday initiate the reform of the Law of Science, Technology and Innovation, which aims to create a attractive and stable research career, promote knowledge transfer and improve R + D + i management.

This reform will give scientists and technicians “the tranquility, the stability and the necessary means“to carry out its work, which must be” an engine of economic progress and a source of social well-being, “said the Executive spokeswoman, Maria Jesus Montero, at the press conference after the cabinet meeting. “Today is an important day for science”, but the next few years “will be even more” and, for that, they will have to “get the reforms right” and show that they believe “in science”, stressed the Minister of Science , Pedro Duque.

This reform, “well thought out” and “long diagnosed”, part of a draft law that has been approved by the Council today and that will be debated in a dialogue table with representatives of scientific and university associations, the health field, the autonomous communities and social agents .

The resulting text will be submitted to public audience and then it will return to the Council of Ministers, where it will be approved before being sent to Parliament for processing. In parallel, a subcommittee of the Congress of Deputies will study the reform of this law.

The essential objective of this reform is to design an “attractive, predictable and stable” scientific career that allows attract and retain talent scientific, modernize the hiring of public employees and reduce the temporary and precariousness of researchers in Spain. And it is that, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cited by the minister, Spanish scientists are experiencing an “anomalous” situation compared to other countries, which has had “many very negative consequences” such as the departure of some 5,000 researchers abroad between 2011 and 2016.

To retain this talent, the Executive proposes to use the ‘tenure track’, a hiring model used in USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, among others, and that allows you to fixed contracts subject to external evaluation. In addition, this type of contracting is a recommendation of the European Commission to Spain, Duque recalled.

At the same time, the government wants to reinforce the policies for attracting talent, with more and better contracts in the initial postdoctoral phase and with aid to those hired ‘tenure track’ for the projection and consolidation of their scientific projects. Another objective of the reform included in the draft law is the promotion of knowledge transferSince, although Spain is at the forefront of scientific publications of excellence in many fields, this scientific level does not reach innovation.

To reverse this situation, the incentives for scientific staff For their research to reach society, the direct generation of start-up companies (companies arising from research) will be facilitated and the Knowledge Transfer Offices will be oriented towards the market.

Finally, for improve R & D & i governance (research, development and innovation), the Government will launch new complementary programs with the autonomous communities to finance and carry out joint and strategic actions in this regard. In addition, it will carry out regulatory reforms to promote the creation of research centers and infrastructures between the State and the autonomous communities and will promote administrative agility for new research infrastructure projects.

Since CCOO they have “radically” rejected the preliminary draft and that it is intended to “impose”, and they have asked that it be negotiated within the framework of the Social Dialogue Table. For CCOO, the ‘tenure track’ does not solve the stabilization needs of “the great bag” of long-term precarious research personnel; “It is actually one more form of temporary contract”, they allege. “The proposed contract (apparently indefinite) is subject to termination conditions (external evaluation and accreditation); even after passing the evaluations, its continuity is subject to the will of the organization.”

The Federation of Young Researchers has regretted that the draft has been approved “without the support and without having listened to the scientists”: “The proposal not only retains all the bad things of our current career -labor-, but also makes it worse“.

The April 15 they have called a concentration before the headquarters of the Ministry.


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