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Research Is Spared the Budget Ax

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Science  27 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5283, pp. 1790
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5283.1790a


Paris—French scientists are breathing a collective sigh of relief this week followingthe announcement of France's 1997 budget on 18 September. Research emerged comparatively unscathed from a frenzy of spending cuts that will produce the most austere national budget in decades. Although overall civilian research and development spending will fall about 1.5% (not counting an inflation rate of about 2.1%), a combination of reoriented priorities and cuts in overheads should protect current spending levels in France's publicly funded research laboratories, and even give a small but badly needed boost to university-based research. Also holding steady are France's space programs, projected at $1.85 billionfor 1997, an impressive 18% of the $10.2 billion civilian R&D budget.