Student - May 14, 2009

PETITION FOR LOW-PAID PORTUGUESE SCIENTISTS

Science in Portugal is burdened by lack of funding and researchers are very badly paid. Student Roberto van Maanen at Van Hall Larenstein, feels for them in their plight and is organizing a petition.

Last winter the student of Biotechnology in Leeuwarden did an internship in a research laboratory in Lisbon. ‘The salaries have not been adjusted to inflation since 2002. Meanwhile wages have quietly gone down by twenty percent. On average, scientists earn very little more than supermarket workers.’

Now that the Portuguese government is allocating research funding for the next five years, Van Maanen’s ex-colleagues are on edge. What with the pressure of the credit crunch, they expect the grant to go down again. So Portuguese researchers are seeking the support of other European educational institutions, by means of a petition. By so doing, they hope to put pressure on their government, says Van Maanen, who is helping here in the Netherlands. ‘Perhaps we should move towards a communal European fund for research’, he suggests. ‘It is peculiar that EU chairman Barosso is full of praise for the scientific research going on in the Netherlands, while scientists in his own country are fobbed off with peanuts.’ / Wim Bras

The petition can be signed at: www.petition online.com/maisbols/petition-sign.html

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