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OECD reports bleak outlook for science

A public backlash against international mobility and declining government R&D funding are threatening scientific progress, the OECD has said.

In its assessment of the state of global science, published on 8 December, the OECD raised concerns about the impact of populism on international cooperation. Rising objections to migration are worrying since innovation is “increasingly driven by cross-border cooperation and the ability of scientists, students and entrepreneurs to work in different countries,” it said.

The report highlighted a poor outlook for science spending, with public R&D budgets predicted to decline in many countries because of limited economic growth and rising pressure on governments to save. There is an increasing preference of applied science over basic research, the OECD said, challenging the pool of knowledge that could promote future scientific breakthroughs.

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