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CONICET researchers decry budget, salary pressures in 2018

In an open letter, five of CONICET's eight board of directors expressed their "enormous concern for the budgetary and wage situation that the organisation is facing".

Monday 31 December, 2018
CONICET researchers protest the government's budget cuts.
CONICET researchers protest the government's budget cuts. Foto:GZP-JCP

Argentina's CONICET research body is suffering a funding and budgetary crisis with some areas of research receiving only 40 percent of their 2018 budget, the organisation's leaders have complained.

In an open letter, five of CONICET's eight board of directors expressed their "enormous concern for the budgetary and wage situation that the organisation is facing".

"In the last three years, CONICET has suffered a profound and sustained deterioration in the wages of its workers and the stipends of its scholars, many of whom live on remuneration which is below the current poverty line", the letter said.

It was signed by Doctors Dora Barrancos, Francisco Tamarit, Miguel Laborde, Roberto Rivarola and Tulio Del Bono.

Among the group's main concerns were the reduction in the number of new scholars, the difficulties in hiring new support staff and the impossibility to renew existing contracts.

"The funding for the daily functioning, infrastructure and financing of investigations and subsidies tasks has diminished drastically year on year in real values but also in nominal form, in the context of a complex inflationary and devaluation process that has destroyed our capacity to promote scientific production, technological development and innovation in productive processes", the letter charged.

They complained that some research bodies within the organisation had received only 40 percent of their assigned budget in 2018.

For others, the situations as even worse, according to Ana Franchi, director of the Pharmaceutical and Botanical Studies Centre, since "the budget for some entities this year ended at between 20 and 30 percent of nominal values compared to the budget in 2017".

"This is on top of issues like the FONCYT, the sector's funding distributor, owing close to AR$500,000 in subsidies which, as time passes, means some groups are limited to doing less science.

"We are essentially a CONICET in default", she told Perfil.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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