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ERC head urges Ireland to back basic research

Sustained underinvestment in basic research could cause long-term harm to Ireland’s research base, encouraging young scientists to leave and diminishing its capacity to conduct world-class research, the president of the European Research Council has said.

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon recognised the difficulties for Ireland posed by the recent recession and economic downturn but he told the media, before his presentation at a meeting organised by the Royal Irish Academy on 17 November, that there had been a sustained decline that should be halted.

The collapse came in 2008, he said. “From then on it has gone down from €938 million in 2008 to about €714m now. This is comparable to spending in 2006.”

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