Some 3,000 French scientists, support staff, and others are taking a three-week march — though some are bicycling or kayaking — to Paris to call for an increased science budget and more university research and support staff positions, the Nature News Blog reports.
"We realized we needed to bring together the whole scientific community — labs, universities, all disciplines, and all categories of staff," says Patrick Lemaire from Montpellier University and the president of Sciences en Marche, the group that is leading the protest.
In particular, the group is calling for €10 billion to bring some 3,000 agency and university research and support staff on board each year for the next 10 years, as well as an overall budget increase of 8 percent, or €20 billion, during the next decade.
However, the Nature News Blog notes that the French government is unlikely to accede to the protesters' demands as it is strapped for cash.
It further adds that the scientific community largely supported the current French government when it took office, but is now becoming increasingly frustrated.
"It became clear very quickly that the government has no courage and no vision for the future of science and higher education in France," Lemaire says.
The protestors are to reach Paris in the middle of October.