[MEXICO CITY] Researchers in Mexico are being invited to sign a letter protesting a cut to the science budget proposed by the country’s president Vicente Fox.
The letter, prepared by the office for coordination of scientific research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), will be delivered to Congress. It says the cut "will not only threaten the country’s development […] but will also reverse the investment already made in the country".
The Mexican Academy of Sciences has already lost half its funding from the federal government, granted through CONACYT, and was forced to cut several science popularisation programmes as a result.
The president's planned cuts will also directly affect public universities such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), reducing their total budgets by 3.2 per cent.
Juan Ramón de la Fuente, head of UNAM, and René Drucker Colín, the university's coordinator of scientific research, have both spoken against the cut.
"The Mexican science and technology system now faces its worst crisis ever," said de la Fuente.
"We are at risk of destroying what has been built in the last 30 years regarding science," said Drucker.
De la Fuente and Drucker, whose university conducts half of all Mexican scientific research, made their comments during the announcements earlier this month of five new research projects on water, nanotechnology, stem cell research, genomics and biodiversity.