In DepthScience Funding

In Colombia, peace dividend for science proves elusive

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 958
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.958

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Summary

Wearing lab coats and hoisting placards with slogans such as "A country without science is a country without a future," hundreds of scientists poured into plazas in cities across Colombia on 24 August. Their beef: a proposed 42% cut to the 2018 budget of the nation's science ministry in Bogotá, Colciencias, which doles out research grants and supports graduate students. Many researchers had hoped 2018 would usher in a new era for science in Colombia. Earlier this year, the guerrilla fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia demobilized after 52 years of war with the state. But with low oil prices hitting this oil-exporting nation hard, peace has not brought about new investment. According to the proposed budget, Colciencias's funds would fall from $128 million to $75 million, and the environment ministry would absorb a 25% cut. The Colombian Congress must vote to approve the budget next month.