An Anxious Time for Swiss Science

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Science  01 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5364, pp. 664-665
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5364.664

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BERN-- Long a hallmark for quality, Swiss science is now facing a number of threats. The most immediate is a "gene-protection" initiative, a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban all research involving transgenic animals, severely restrict research with transgenic plants, and forbid the patenting of genetically modified organisms. And in a report issued last year, the government's advisory Science Council cited other threats to the quality of Swiss science such as relatively flat R&D budgets in Switzerland's recession-weakened economy, "structural difficulties and financial gaps in university research," and declining research efforts by some industries. Many researchers and government experts say these threats are symptoms of a breakdown in trust between scientists and the Swiss public.