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Space mission proves strength in numbers

ESA funding boost offers political clout—and benefits science

Even a cursory glance at the final 2019 edition of Research Europe shows what a tumultuous year has passed. The EU is officially in a climate emergency, publishers and funders remain at loggerheads over open access and Plan S, and Brexit is throwing its shadow over higher education collaboration.

But amid all this anxiety the year ends with good news so unexpected that even its recipients were “surprised”. Last week, the European Space Agency was granted a five-year budget worth €14.4 billion—40 per cent more than its previous budget and more than asked for.

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