- The Science and Innovation budgets contemplate an increase of 59.4% in direct investment, up to a total of 3,200 million euros
- The minister defends that they are "robust and realistic" budgets that must be consolidated and, therefore, stresses the importance of promoting the Pact for Science and Innovation
The Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, presented this Wednesday in Congress the general lines of his Department's Budgets for 2021, representing the largest direct investment in R & D & I in absolute terms in history in Spain, with which it seeks to place the country's Science, Technology and Innovation system among the most advanced countries in our environment, with the perspective of at least converging in the medium term with the average investment of the EU.
During his speech at the Congress, Minister Duque has detailed that the increase in funding for Science and Innovation is 59.4%, compared to this year's budgets, an increase greater than the total increase in the General Budgets of the State (41%). There are more than 3,200 million euros, above the record of 2,500 million euros in 2009. “I firmly believe that these budgets represent the quantitative and qualitative leap that our R & D & I system needs to contribute to the progress and well-being of this and the following generations ”, has defended Duque.
The minister stressed that these budgets are in line with the conclusions of the Commission for Social and Economic Reconstruction that was approved in Congress last July and that it proposed to “increase public investment in civil R & D & I above the increase in the limit of non-financial expenditure of the State and advance towards the community objectives of total public and private investment ”. “Never before has the need for a state policy for science and innovation been so evident. This policy deserves the highest consensus and should stay away from partisanship because it will be essential to accelerate the recovery and, furthermore, guarantee long-term prosperity ”, he stressed.
The minister has defended that they are “robust and realistic” budgets and has emphasized that the challenge now is to consolidate them in the future. For this reason, to try to consolidate this objective, a Pact for Science and Innovation has been launched, which includes three minimum commitments in public funding in the medium and long term, stability for agencies and promotion of talent.
The pact already has the support of more than 40 academic, scientific, social and business organizations in the world of R & D & I and last week the minister officially shared it with the regional and R&D councilors. Now, he explained, his intention is to present it to the Parliament in the near future.
Two goals and four priorities
The minister explained that the budgets have been designed with two objectives. The first objective is that they could be executed and absorbed by the system. The implementation rate by the Ministry and its agencies is above 90% and these budgets are designed to keep it that way.
The second objective is that they have a short-term impact, thus aligning with the EU's requirements on Recovery Funds. Specifically, two aspects have been prioritized: the recovery of the system's capacities, so affected by the previous crisis, and, on the other hand, emphasis has been placed on the effect of the programs on the productive system through the transfer of knowledge.
Also, when allocating significant budget increases. The Ministry has been guided by four priorities:
- Increase in the calls of the funding agencies for science and innovation (AEI, CDTI and ISCIII), especially those for public-private collaboration and the transfer of knowledge with economic and social benefits, consolidating the instruments implemented and launching new ones.
- Reinforcement of the hiring of research personnel, with the objective of the reform of the Science Law currently in public consultation. It contemplates the creation of a stable entry figure to the system, the so-called 'tenure track' available to most of the neighboring countries. A reform aimed at reducing the precariousness and temporary status of our young scientists, which especially affects women.
- Modernization of the leading scientific infrastructures in the country, with cases such as the renovation and improvement of animal experimentation laboratories in vaccines and treatments, and the large national and European infrastructures.
- Financing for strategic projects with driving force and economic impact, such as personalized medicine or energy transformation in the face of climate change.
This article was first published on 2 December by CSIC.