President of confederation of science societies says that the government is ignoring the research community

A leading Spanish researcher has sent an open letter to Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, complaining that country’s science base is being run down. The letter, written by Carlos Andradaspresident of the Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain (COSCE), was published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais last night. His angry and sarcastic tone shows a growing frustration that the scientific community is being ignored as cuts to research budgets are implemented.

Research has faced severe cuts in recent years. The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the largest public research institution in Spain, has had its budget cut by 30% since 2008, lost 10% of its staff in less than two years and faced collapse until government payments scheduled for December were brought forward to September.

Andradas feels they have been left to rot. Several letters, he says, have been signed by Spain’s leading scientific figures and sent to Rajoy. Large protests, the most recent ending with the handover of a petition signed by 45,000 supporters, have been organised. But the government has largely ignored them, sending only a cursory letter in response.

‘Since you must receive innumerable letters signed by 30 directors of the most prestigious research centres [in Spain] … we assume it is physically impossible to respond more personally,’ Andradas says. ‘CSIC is bleeding. We are immersed in paralysis and uncertainty … In September we will try [to contact you] again.’ Andradas then signs off: ‘Until then we wish you a happy holiday, Mr President.’