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A report from the European University Association argues that long-term science funding cuts and an "evolving geographical divide" in investment in higher education are hurting the region's global competitiveness, University World News reports.

Between 2008 and 2014, a dozen European nations — including the UK, Spain, and Greece — cut their science funding by more than 5 percent, after taking inflation into account, the report says. In some instances, UWN adds, the cuts exceeded 40 percent.

Meanwhile, six countries — Germany, Austria, and Belgium, among others — had gains in funding of more than 5 percent, the EUA report found.

"The evolving geographical divide between European systems in terms of investment in higher education has also been confirmed," the EUA adds in a release. "Whilst there are notable exceptions, many countries in eastern and southern Europe still appear to be more affected by the [financial] crisis than many countries in northern and western Europe."

Researchers in the region have been speaking out against such declining science budget, UWN notes. Researchers in France , for instance, are descending on Paris on foot to call for more funding.

Additionally, Amaya Moro-Martin, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland and member of the Euroscience governing board, recently called in a Nature column for researchers to sign an open letter to national governments and the European Parliament and Commission to protest the cuts.

"Research cannot follow political cycles: it is about investment in the future," Moro-Martin says. "And it should not just serve the economy, but also aspire to increase knowledge and social welfare, including for those with no resources to pay the bill."

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