Go back

Minister warns of €400m research budget hole

Geneviève Fioraso, France’s newly appointed minister for higher education and research, has said she discovered a €400 million hole in her department’s budget when she started in the job.

Speaking at a hearing of the Education and Culture Commission, Fioraso said the unbudgeted spending includes a €45m “debt” to the European Space Agency and an extra €66m investment in ITER, the nuclear fusion project based in Cadarache.

As the new Socialist administration builds a replacement budget, it will have to use “redeployment” to tackle the problem, the minister said, adding that her team had hoped to use what margins for manoeuvre are available for funding new projects rather than filling gaps.

Fioraso also said that she wants to see France winning more funding from Europe, particularly since it contributes 17 per cent of the Framework 7 budget but gets only 11 per cent of the grants.