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Nobel laureates sound alarm as Argentina cuts science funding

Photo of Argentina cuts science funding
Argentina’s President Javier Milei attends the opening session of the 142nd legislative term, at the National Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 1, 2024. (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo)
Staff Reports | REUTERS

Sixty-eight Nobel laureates in chemistry, medicine, economics, and physics sent a letter on Wednesday to Argentine President Javier Milei voicing concern that cuts to science and technology funding will hinder Argentina’s development and its global contributions.

“We observe how the Argentine science and technology system is approaching a dangerous precipice, and we are discouraged by the consequences that this situation could have both for the Argentine people and for the world,” the scientists said in the letter seen by Reuters.

The laureates, who include the renowned British mathematician Roger Penrose and American virologist Harvey J. Alter, highlighted the “dramatic reduction” in budgets for Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and for national universities.

They emphasized the crucial role of Argentine science in advancements such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease research.

Boasting five Nobel Prize winners, Argentina credits a rich scientific tradition in part to both CONICET and its prestigious public universities.

Milei, a libertarian who as a candidate promised to take a “chainsaw” to publish spending, has drastically cut funding for these institutions.

The laureates emphasized that Argentina has developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, launched communication satellites, and created new nuclear reactors, thanks to government support for basic research.

They urged Milei to reconsider the funding cuts to avoid detrimental effects on Argentina’s scientific and technological sector.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Lucila Sigal; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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