If anything has taught us about the pandemic, it is that without science there is no future. This is not just a practice in rhetoric. The scientific capital resulting from the increase in scientific knowledge and equipment has made it possible to find pharmaceutical solutions for COVID-19 at an unprecedented rate. Without this scientific capital, which has soberly accumulated over years of discreet research, we would of course have to wait for the immunity of the group. A bleak path from the point of view of public health, economic health, social health and the health of democratic institutions.
The pandemic isn’t the biggest problem, however. The major challenges of the century are ecological. It’s about managing a centrifugal climate, managing collapsing ecosystems, and ensuring social progress in harmony with the planet that sustains us. The task that falls on the shoulders of our generation is not a small one and the solution, if any, will depend heavily on more and better knowledge.
With anticipation, therefore, on February 26th, I read the article from Público, signed by Teresa Firmino, which took note of the declarations made by the Minister of Science and Technology, Manuel Heitor, on the funding of 40 associated laboratories under 45 applications. In the said article, the Minister mentions that the funding for 5 years is 77 million euros. In reality it is 24 million euros as the remaining funds have already been allocated to the research centers due to previous evaluation processes and in most cases have already been implemented or committed.
What the Público report does not say is that the funds approved are a symbolic percentage of the budgets submitted for evaluation. For example, the approved budget at the Institute for Global Change and Sustainability CHANGE corresponds to 10% of the submitted budget. Given that the evaluation of these laboratories involved the analysis of a detailed science and transfer program, which included a budget primarily devoted to the creation and consolidation of scientific jobs, the size of which depends on the number of researchers working on the Support application; It is fair to ask that part of the 10% commitment made by the researchers is intended to go to mr. Minister Manuel Heitor to be executed?