Funding crisis at Brazilian science agency could leave 80,000 researchers and students without pay

Science | AAAS | 8/19/2019 | Staff
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A major budget crisis at Brazil’s leading science funding agency could disrupt the lives of thousands of students and early-career scientists. In September, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) in Brasília could run out of money to continue to fund the grants and scholarships it provides to more than 80,000 Brazilians.

On 15 August, the agency took to Twitter to announce the suspension of financial support for its recipients—a measure that many had feared since the government decided to slash CNPq’s scholarship budget by 21%, from 998 million reais ($249 million) in 2018 to 785 million reais ($196 million) this year. “We are taking the necessary measures to minimize the consequences of this restriction,” the statement reads. So far, however, CNPq has not clarified how many people will be affected next month, or how long the suspension of payments would last.

Budget - Issues - CNPq - Series - Cuts

The budget issues at CNPq are only the latest in a long series of cuts to Brazil’s federal science budget. “But there was never a crisis like this,” says José Alexandre Diniz-Filho, an ecologist at the Federal University of Goiás in Goiânia.

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CNPq’s administration had warned that this year’s budget would not be enough. To make it through 2019, the agency requested an additional 330 million reais, which Congress approved in June. But the Ministry of Economy hasn’t authorized the allocation of those funds so far; in an email to Science, a spokesperson said the ministry had yet to decide on CNPq’s request and does not have a deadline for doing so.

Troubles - Brazil - Community - July - CNPq

The troubles have alarmed Brazil’s scientific community. In late July, seven of CNPq’s former presidents circulated a manifesto urging the government to “make every effort to reverse this gloomy situation.” An online petition to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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I find it extremely funny when people keep voting and expecting the government to change!
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