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Minister of Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, explained to the Senate yesterday that the 2011 budget for her Ministry “clearly shows this Government’s commitment to science and innovation as driving forces behind the change in productive model". Garmendia assured that the MICINN resources for 2011 are “very similar” to those available last year and that the “slight adjustment” in the budget –which is only 0.77% less than in 2010–  will not affect funds earmarked for science and innovation. The MICINN 2011 budget is 5,401 million euros.

Garmendia explained that cutbacks have been made in chapters 1, 2 and 6 of the MICINN budget, which are those that cover internal administrative costs. Chapters 4, 7 and 8, in which the Spanish government sets aside funds to foster science and innovation, have not seen any cuts as a result of the austerity plan. This will allow for the level of investment linked to the Spanish National R&D&i plan and the State Innovation Strategy to remain untouched. This means that “all research laboratories will continue running at full capacity and we will maintain all projects underway and all researcher contracts in 2011".

She also highlighted that funds earmarked for training and mobility of research personnel –50 million euros–  and those set aside for scientific facilities will remain untouched.  Regarding the budget for public research organizations, the Ministry contributions will be maintained this year.

Priorities for 2011

Among the MICINN’s main priorities for 2011 are the start-up of the Severo Ochoa program, to support top research centers, and the INNCORPORA plan, which, after the success of its first call for proposals, will be more wide reaching, funding a larger number of contracts to hire technologists and increasing the diversity of participating groups.

Two initiatives destined to have a “great transformative effect” are the innovative public purchasing plan and a new venture capital fund. For the former, the Ministry plans to mobilize up to 1,000 million euros.

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