Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Dara Calleary has stated that today’s open letter by over 900 scientists should raise the alarm bells for current government funding policy in scientific research and innovation.

Deputy Calleary commented, “The scientific community have sent a very direct message to Government, that current policy is undermining Ireland’s ability to carry out world class scientific research and educate the scientists of tomorrow.

“Investment in science is crucial to supporting industries that are here and also attracting more industry to invest in Ireland. The fact that science students are emigrating is not acceptable -particularly when changes were made at second level to attract more students towards science.

“Government again prove that they are more obsessed with spin rather than substance -there is no point in talking about a knowledge economy if this government refuse to get the basics right. Minister Bruton must meet with Minister O’ Sullivan as a matter of urgency to ensure that third level universities get the required funding for basic science research in next October’s budget.

“It is critical that there is a rebalancing in existing funding between commercialisable and basic research (blue skies research). A proportionate funding approach must be taken that ensures sustainable investment in order to maximise the economic dividend and attract FDI investment.

“Furthermore, Minister Bruton must clearly clarify if the government will have a proportionate funding approach to scientific research in the formulation of the new strategy for science, technology and innovation.

“Finally, the Minister must also explain why an open consultation for the new science strategy was not widely advertised. Disconcertingly, many researchers as late as last week were unaware of the consultation, leaving many to rush their submissions by next Monday’s deadline.”