The Spanish government plans to increase research and development spending from €6.5 billion to €7 billion, Science reports. However, it notes that researchers there aren't too pleased with the 8.3 percent budget increase.
That, it says, is because more than half the R&D budget is set aside for loans to companies, leaving only a portion to flow to researchers. An analysis by the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE) found that of the €7 billion budget, €2.8 billion would go to the public research system, Science reports, noting that that system includes not only research projects, but also scholarships and infrastructure support. The rest, it adds, goes to those industrial R&D loans, though few companies actually apply for them — it says €3.2 billion in funding went unspent in 2017.
Science further says accounting rules, largely put into place to prevent corruption and deficits, add layers of bureaucracy that also make it difficult to spend funds. COSCE and other organizations will be asking the Spanish government to both increase research funding, while curbing some of those rules, it adds.