France's President Francois Hollande says he plans to maintain funding for science and universities even in the face of an estimated €50 billion ($67 billion) in budget "savings" his administration plans to enact over the next three years, Nature reports.
Hollande made the pledge in a speech last week at the University of Strasboug, where he also said he plans to keep a research tax credit in place, even though it has generated some controversy for not generating enough private sector R&D spending.
Hollande says he wants to spend €2 billion out of the €12 billion Investments for the Future spending program on initiatives to create research and higher education clusters. Eight such clusters were already created in 2011, under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The president also said his administration has marked another €1 billion to help regional universities fund cooperative research and €100 million over five years to support systems biology research.
Dominique Guellec, of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, tells Nature that the R&D tax credit will cost the country an estimated €7 billion, while at the same time companies have reduced R&D outlays from their own resources.