Friday, January 21

Pedro Duque leaves the Government without approving his Science law and with the sector on the warpath




When Pedro Duque He came to the Government of Pedro Sánchez in 2018, he was one of the best known faces of Spanish Science. It was the Spanish astronaut who managed to go into space. But three years at the helm of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and a pandemic have diluted the image of what was one of the most mediatic signings of Sánchez. Now he becomes one of the outgoing figures of the Executive.

Duque says goodbye to the Science and Innovation portfolio after presenting before the Council of Ministers andThe controversial draft of the new Science Law, which, among other things, introduces changes in the hiring of scientific personnel, introducing the figure of the tenure track. In recent weeks, Duque has had to face criticism from most of the sector groups (unions and professional organizations) who affirmed that the new regulations consensus had not been reached with the Spanish scientific community and that, contrary to what it intended, it precarious a sector that was already quite damaged.

Also remains in the air Duque’s promise on the Pact for Science and Innovation, a document signed by 72 representative organizations of science, the university, the company and the workers that wanted to raise the budget in Science above European levels, up to 3% of GDP in 2030, to remain independent of governments. “I would like to see it continue to apply when I am retired. I think I will have time to see that in 2030 we will reach 3% investment in R + D + i, “he said in a recent interview with ABC.

“The impulse for the Pact for Science and the intention to renew all the current regulations is recognized,” say sources from the Spanish Confederation of Scientific Societies (Cosce) to ABC evaluating the departure of the hitherto minister-, but the budget increase is still insufficient». “As has been remarked from Cosce on multiple occasions, Science should be a matter of State and the whole system would have to be refounded to end the prevailing precariousness.” Made up of 84 companies representing more than 42,000 scientists and the sector’s main interlocutor with the Government, Cosce was very critical of the changes that Duque announced in the draft of the new law, stating that “not only will it not mitigate precariousness, but that it will be impossible to attract and retain talent. “It is the end of scientific meritocracy,” they said in a statement.

And Cosce is not the only body that has raised the hatchet against Duque’s management in recent months: several unions and groups even called mobilizations throughout Spain to protest the little consensus that the new one had. normative.

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In recent months, Duque had already been relegated in one of the last important announcements that concern his portfolio, as was the news of the creation of the Spanish Space Agency, an information that was revealed by surprise by the director of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Ivan Redondo. After the initial confusion, including that of some of the main organizations linked to the space sector, Duque – who had initially spoken out against – found the creation of this organization very appropriate, included in the draft national security strategy. In his opinion, the agency, whose development was planned throughout the legislature, will serve to promote new “national projects” and to coordinate various aerospace activities. “Wherever the requirement comes from, images, telecommunications, launchers … it is good to have a coaching staff capable of responding to everything. It is the most efficient, “he said.

Recently, Duque’s team has also been immersed in the controversy caused by the change of names of the National Research Awards, although the Ministry backed down shortly after several organizations in the sector, such as the Conference of Rectors of the Universities (CRUE) will criticize the measure.

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