Cuts threaten multidisciplinary science projects – 12/16/2022 – Education

As grants to fund research projects multidisciplinary services grew 166% in 11 years in the country, from 3,912 in 2010 to 10,444 in 2021.

Other areas that had significant growth were the social Sciences (118%, from 4,140 to 9,042 bags), Health Sciences (71%, from 8,327 to 14,246) and humanities (66%, from 8,281 to 13,763).

On the other hand, letters is the area with the lowest number of grants awarded, 4,773. In 2010, this number was 3,227 grants.

The data refer to scholarships from Capes (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel), linked to the Ministry of Educationand CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information, raised by Sheet based on information from the Transparency Portal, the Open Data platforms and the ANPG (National Association of Graduate Students).

Os aid from Capes and CNPq are federal and are included in the budgets of these ministries. Scholarships from state funding, such as Faps (state research support foundations), were not included.

Despite the increase in research funding in some areas, the number of grants awarded annually and the budget of the two agencies fell in the last eight years, rising from more than R$8.3 billion in 2014 to around R$2.7 billion in 2021 (in values ​​adjusted for inflation).

The budget constraint threatens projects that are related, for example, to the climate emergency or to combat future pandemicstwo of the main challenges of the 21st century, explains economist Monica De Bolle, professor at Johns University Hopkins and Master in Immunology and Microbiology from Georgetown University.

“These are highly connected and multidisciplinary themes. Science today is intertwined, and research funding is no longer that of a single project to identify such a molecule in the laboratory, there are several lines of research that are funded concurrently”, he says.

According to her, budget cuts, such as the recent contingency of funds in the MEC that harmed thousands of graduate scholarship holdersaffect this ongoing research and threaten its very continuity.

O Bolsonaro government released part of the budget last week. However, the situation generated extreme anxiety and anguish in the researchers who lived in a scenario of uncertainty.

“Even if the government has gone back, this may result, in the future, that more researchers give up their research, either because they no longer have access to funding or because without the readjustment it has become extremely painful to maintain research with low remuneration”, he says. .

Os science cuts are one of the main reasons for the so-called brain drain in recent years in the country, when Brazilian researchers, tired of fighting to do science in the country, seek a better quality of life and appreciation of work abroad.

De Bolle still criticizes what is an apparent lack of understanding of the importance of valuing science as a development policy in the country. “There is no effort to understand, for example, that if you interrupt a research project, depending on what it is, all the results go down the drain, so you not only have a budget cut, you have a waste of money that has already been invested “, alert.

Another contradiction of the current government is that, although the cuts were bigger in science and in higher education in general in the last four years, there was a strategic action to encourage multidisciplinary projects.

“Strategic areas were defined in the Bolsonaro government for the country’s development, including the social and human sciences, and we know that these areas are today an example of how multidisciplinary work helps to have a more agile and targeted response, such as what was seen in the pandemic”, explains political scientist and coordinator of the Solidarity Research Network in Public Policies and Society, Lorena Barberia.

However, she sees a reversed signal when the cuts are made in the postgraduate budget in the country. “In Brazil, society understands that it is something less relevant, that we can live without, and there is no appreciation or understanding of the fundamental role of scientists in the generation of knowledge”, he says.

This view affects the readjustment of scholarships, which has not occurred since 2013, not even within the amount corrected for inflation. “It’s not okay when a researcher, a postgraduate student, who dedicates his life exclusively to doing cutting-edge research, is living on the edge of poverty, unable to support himself in the month, often having to give up, drop research to get a more sustainable job. It’s very sad”, he says.

Inequality also affects the very distribution of scholarships in the country. While states in the South and Southeast regions concentrate the regions with the highest proportion of scholarships per million inhabitants, the North and Northeast are the most affected by the lack of funding.

“In a society as unequal as ours, it is important to emphasize that universities are democratic spaces, where everyone has the right to work and study. Bringing in students from different incomes and parts of the country who work for the common good helps, in practice, to resolve many issues that we still cannot resolve,” says Barberia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *