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What About the Science?

Argentina defaulted on its international debt payments earlier this summer, and while the ramifications have been less severe than in 2001, Nature asks the Argentinian science minister and Argentinian researchers how they think the default will affect research there.

"I am worried. It's not clear how the default will impact researchers. But for sure it will get harder," Pablo Mininni, a physicist at the University of Buenos Aires, tells Nature.

Researchers are particularly concerned that the default may trigger a brain drain. In 1976 after a coup, Nature notes, a number of researchers fled the country and again in 2001, many researchers left after the default.

Additionally, researchers are worried about losing purchasing power. "[O]ur grants are in pesos, and a loss in acquisitive power will impact in how much we can buy, in projects to re-equip our laboratories, and in projects to develop new and more applied research," Mininni says.

But science minister Lino Barañao tells Nature that Argentinian science is better positioned this time around. In the past 10 or so years, the government has been supporting and better funding science. He also notes that the default is not as bad as it was in 2001. He adds that Argentinian science is funded not only by the government, but also by the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the Latin American development bank, among other organizations.