Greek Government Reallocates Research Funding

The Greek government is having to make some tough choices to survive with every penny spent being accountable to their Euro and IMF bailout partners. However it is a very short term and in many ways retrospective measure to start taking funds from educational and research budgets.

The money seizure was authorized in a crisis decree passed by the Parliament in a heated and intense session in Greece last week. The decree powers government as well as other state bodies that are local to transfer their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece to be able to cover pensions and wages of public sector workers. As Science went to press, it remained unclear when it will be taken and just how much cash will be targeted, but researchers expect the authorities to snatch resources set aside to buy overheads. These amount to as much as 20% of the worth of grants and purchase expenses which are not covered by research bureaus and temporary staff in addition to utility bills.

“We do expect a reasonable deal in the on-going discussions for the Greek debt is likely to be reached shortly, by the end of June,” he said in an email. “Subsequently this measure will likely be waived.”

To decrease the amount of confiscations, many research workers are anxiously changing or spending as much of the overhead reservations as they can, in a few instances by stocking on consumables and paying Ph.D. pupils’ wages for several months in advance or investing in such technology or software like this residential VPN system.   “I ‘ve little doubt that the substantial activity in concealing research funds in the authorities might be under way,” says Costas Synolakis, a marine scientist now in the University of Southern California in LA.

On another front, researchers and educational reform will also be fighting the authorities declared without public consultation on 17 out of the blue. The reform entails fighting universities’ governing boards, removing present rectors, and giving pupils a sizable share of the votes to name rectors that are new. As a result, it overrules many changes brought in by an 2011 law that sought to restrict the powers of administrative staff and pupils.

That earlier law activated tremendous student demonstrations and proved highly contentious. Nevertheless, parliamentarians approved it by a big bulk and it was seen by professors as a confident part of lessening the ability of political parties. “Since the 1980s, university managements are voted, not on merit or administrative art, but on party qualifications,” Synolakis says. In effect, he maintains, the most recent reform–expected to be voted on by Parliament inside the the next couple of weeks–will “transfer Greek higher education back about 30 years.” Other scientists are likewise essential. He adds that it also fights electronic voting in university elections, which, he says, may enable pupils intimidate voters and to steal ballot boxes, as they’ve done before.

The brand new law also seeks to alter functions and the makeup of the National Council for Technology and Research, an 11-member panel that advises the authorities on financing and the business of research.

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