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France announces surprise cut to research

The French government plans to cut €331 million from the higher education and research budget for 2017, a move that university leaders have called “incomprehensible”.

In a statement on 13 July, Frédérique Vidal, the minister for higher education and research, said that her department would reduce spending by €180m in 2017. This is in line with the government’s plan to recalibrate this year’s budget after an €8-billion deficit was identified.

She said that €160m of the budget reduction would come from funding set aside as “precautionary reserves”, and that the remaining €20m would come from across the ministry “so as not to affect the universities’ resources, research programmes already underway or recruitment drives”.

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