• Spain's news in English

German science boss slams Spain's R&D crisis

George Mills · 13 Jun 2013, 10:57

Published: 13 Jun 2013 10:57 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On Wednesday, the Munich-based institute received Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

In a statement the jury commended "the European vocation of the Society, its interdisciplinary approach and the close cooperation among research centres and universities around the world".

The prize has previously gone to the associations including the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"International involvement has a long tradition in the Max Planck Society and has become increasingly important in the past few years," said the president of the society on receiving the award. 

"Science always builds bridges. Through the exchange of young researchers and scientists, we aim to foster understanding for the culture and concerns of other countries," added Gruss.

He added that such exchanged laid "the foundations for a scientific collaboration across borders, without which the major problems of humanity cannot be resolved."

But Gruss also sounded words of warning about science in Spain. 

"It's very sad," the head of the research was quoted as saying in Spanish daily La Nueva España.

"I know excellent scientists who don't have the necessary conditions to do research, and the worst thing is that many of them have to leave Spain."

The Spaniard Juan Ignacio Cirac Sasturain who heads up the Quantum Optics centre at the Max Planck Society added he felt privileged to work at the centre.

He said it offered the "optimal conditions for research".

In similar news, Spain's Minister for the Economy and competitiveness, Luís De Guindos, on Wednesday defended the decision of the Spanish Government not to award a top home-grown scientists with a scholarship under the country's key Ramón y Cajal programme.

Diego Martínez Santos, a 30-year-old Galician scientist, was recently recognized as the best young experimental  physicist in Europe by the European Physics Society (EPS).

However, he was denied a place on the Ramón y Cajal programme on the grounds that CV wasn't strong enough.

Speaking in the Spanish Parliament on Wednesday, however, De Guindos said the Ramón y Cajal scholarships had been awarded before Santos received the EPS prize.

Story continues below…

But the Spanish opposition PSOE party's spokesperson for science Miguel Cortizo said: "The loss of human capital that the current science and technology system is producing is irreparable in the short and medium term".

"In the long term, it will be worse than the Titanic," said Cortizo.  

But De Guindos said that it was "great" that foreign researchers came to Spain, and that it was also good that Spanish people left the country.

"You call it brain drain, but that's something different," said De Guindos to his opposition counterpart.

Spain's attitude to science has come under fire recently with Finance Minister De Guindos's claim to have shielded research from cuts meeting widespread rebuttals from the scientific community.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available