Puerto Rico's future at stake

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Science  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6253, pp. 1145
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3620

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This week, Puerto Rico hosts scientists and other stakeholders in Caribbean science to discuss “Attaining Sustainability Through Science and Education.”* This comes at the end of a summer that saw the island's economy “death spiral” into a first-ever default on a bond payment. Its more than $70 billion in debt, high unemployment, and a shrinking economy are causing Puerto Ricans to leave the island in droves in search of stability. This includes young scientists and biomedical professionals. Austerity measures being considered by the Puerto Rican government include reducing support for higher education, but this would only drive the brain drain, decimate the scientific enterprise, and reduce the capacity to confront the economic and environmental challenges: a perfect storm that would be devastating to Puerto Rico's future. Robust science and technology are needed now more than ever to avoid this catastrophe.