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Spain Creates National Funding Agency

Spanish researchers are "cautiously optimistic" about the newly unveiled State Research Agency, ScienceInsider reports. The Spanish government announced the creation of the agency last week, and said that it could begin awarding grants by 2017.

The agency won't, though, have a new funding stream, and instead will draw upon existing research budgets. The advantage, according to the he Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, will be more stable funding and agile management.

Mathematician Carlos Andradas Heranz from Complutense University tells ScienceInsider that while the announcement is "good news," whether the funding system will actually change is still up in the air. At the same time, University Carlos III's Aurelia Modrego Rico says the announcement is "late, inopportune, outdated, fruitless, and insufficient."

The creation of the State Research Agency comes four years after the passing of a law to develop an autonomous research funding agency, ScienceInsider notes, but it adds that the agency is to remain part of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and will be overseen by the research state secretary.

"The danger is that [the agency] will mean no more than a change in letterheads if its creation is not accompanied by other more urgent measures," Spanish astronomer Amaya Moro-Martín of the Space Telescope Science Institute in the US says.