Spain is a leader in Europe in youth unemployment and will continue to do so until it rectifies its investment policy in science. It is the message launched today by the Royal Academy of Exact Physical and Natural Sciences in an attempt to reverse the trend that the country has taken in this field, totally contrary to that of the vast majority of European countries.
"We play many things as a country, including the quantity and quality of employment," said Jesús María Sanz-Serna, president of the RAC, during the presentation of the Declaration on the financing and management of scientific research in Spain. This document approved by the plenary of the academy denounces the "critical" state of R + D + i in Spain and connects investment in these areas with the country's wealth and its capacity to generate employment. The document was presented the same day on which it was announced that Unemployment increased last month by 52,195 people, up to 3.2 million.
"The countries that invest the most in research are those that have less unemployment," said Esteban Domingo, academic in charge of drafting the document, which has been sent to the Minister of Science, Pedro Duque, the president of the Cortes, Ana Pastor, and to the presidents of all the autonomous communities. "In 2018 the investment in R + D + i of Spain constituted 67% of what was in 2008. While on average, the countries of the European Union have increased their investment in this field by 30% during the crisis, Spain has reduced 10%, "said Domingo, who has demanded" a rectification "of this trend. "This must be a matter of state, we play the economic and social strength of the country," he added. The statement mentions international examples, such as the United States, where it states that "50% of the economic volume derives directly from investment in science, which is 3% of GDP". It also highlights the example of the Human Genome Project, which invested "3,800 million dollars and yielded 796,000 million (200 times more than invested) and created 310,000 jobs."
Academics make eight recommendations to improve the effectiveness of investment in research, such as reforming an R & D & I system that "is inflexible, bureaucratized and unpredictable." It also highlights the importance of social awareness for politicians to be forced to take measures in this field and which in turn connects science and education. "A critical and stimulating education of curiosity and interest in the unknown favors appreciation for science," the document stresses. "Spain needs scientific and educational policies maintained in time, with lines of action proposed by researchers in the case of science and teachers in education.An example of how a pact for science and education marked the transition between poverty and wealth is offered by the Finland of the 1960s- 1970 ", highlights the document.
Academics believe that the R & D & I system "is inflexible, bureaucratized and unpredictable"
The declaration proposes a "generalist" investment system as opposed to one focused on "priority areas" and requires politicians to "review the priorities of the General State Budgets in light of the importance of science as an economic and social strength" .
In this sense, academics have highlighted the creation of a Ministry of Science, but have stressed that, for the moment, "has not taken concrete steps" to solve the most pressing problems, in part because of the "uncertainty" of whether the Budgets of 2019 will come out. The academics consider that the increase of the games of science that the Government foresees, of 273 million euros, is "modest", and they have criticized hard that 45% of all that amount is in the form of loans that mostly they are not granted. "The problem is not that this money is destined mainly to companies, but in fact the Government knows that these items are not going to be spent, it is a fictitious money", denounced Sanz-Serna. The recommendation of the academics, in line with that of other institutions and with the proposal not of law approved in Congress in 2013 with the support of all parties except the PP, is that Spain makes an effort in the coming years to reach the European average of investment in R + D + i, of 2% of GDP.