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French Funding Agency Head Resigns

The president of France's National Research Agency has resigned, Nature News reports, adding that the funding agency has been plagued by dissatisfaction with its management.

Michael Matlosz, the agency's president, resigned Friday, though Nature News says some researchers worry that the agency's issues will remain despite his departure. According to ScienceInsider, Matlosz stepped down as he faced increased opposition from researchers who assess grant proposals.

"We were rather discontented about the way evaluations were carried out because, apparently without previous consultation of scientists, ANR introduced certain procedures that were … a little bit heterodox," says Bernard Hoflack from the Technische Universität in Germany. He oversaw the agency's scientific evaluation panel for cellular and developmental biology grant proposals.

Nature News notes that in France's 2017 budget, ANR was allocated €643 million (US$748 million), an increase of 8 percent, though still below its 2012 budget of €710 million. This has led to low grant success rates of between 12 percent and 13 percent and intense competition for those funds, Nature News says. It notes that a €180 million decrease to the research ministry budget has also been proposed, though how that may affect the agency isn't yet clear.

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