Scientific activity in Spain has traditionally suffered from chronic under-resourcing, as well as from the tendency to regard universities as primarily teaching, rather than research institutions. Since the mid-1980s, however, there has been a great increase in scientific output, reflected in higher levels of investment, a larger volume of publications, and a higher number of personnel involved in research. In the decade to 1994, the number of research scientists and engineers doubled, rising to 42,000. By the same date, total investment in research, the bulk of which was directed to science and technology, increased five-fold in absolute terms. The Science Law (1986), which set up a framework to coordinate the activities of the various bodies involved in scientific research, was followed in 1988 by the first three-year National Plan for Scientific Research and Technological Development. This was an attempt to improve recruitment and training of research personnel, as well as co-ordinating research in agriculture and food science, technology and communication, bioscience, and a category called special programmes, which includes high-energy physics. The third of these national plans was approved in 1995, to run from 1996 to 1999, with a budget of 100,000m pesetas ($794m).
   Simultaneously with greater investment, there has been an effort to improve conditions for research workers. It was announced in 1996 that the existing three-year contracts for those employed by CSIC was to be extended to five years, with a possible renewal for a further five. Concern has nevertheless been expressed by the scientific community at the scale of the "brain drain" of Spanish-trained researchers, and of the difficulty experienced by those trained abroad in finding employment when they return to Spain. Many of the most distinguished scientists produced in Spain this century have made their reputations abroad, most notably Severo Ochoa (1905–88), who won the Nobel Prize in 1959 for work in biology carried out in the US. High quality work is nevertheless being carried out in universities and research institutes in Spain, as evidenced by the award of the Prince of Asturias Prize in 1995 to Manuel Losada of the University of Seville for work on the photosynthesis of nitrogen, and of the National Research Prize to a geneticist, Antonio García Bellido, of the Centre for Molecular Biology, a joint body of the Autonomous University of Madrid and CSIC. Despite this overall increase in investment and activity, questions were raised in 1996 about the commitment of the state to scientific development, in view of the fact that the PP government elected in March of that year had renamed the former Ministry of Education and Science the Ministry of Education and Culture. A group of leading scientists meeting at their annual summer school in El Escorial published a statement urging that science should continue to be a major government responsibility. Moreover, the objective set by the previous PSOE government to increase investment in scientific research to 1 percent of GDP by 1990 has not been met. As a proportion of GDP, spending on research and development has remained static at 0.9 percent, which is less than half the European average.
   Scientific research in Spain has benefited considerably from involvement in European programmes, particularly the Fourth Research and Development Framework Programme scheduled for the period 1994–8. In 1994, Spain had an 8 percent share in programmes run by the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), a 4 percent participation in the European Space Agency, and a 6 percent share in the European Science Foundation.
   Further reading
   - Spain 1995 (1995) Madrid: government publication, pp. 347–81 (a useful overview of education and research policy).
   - Yarde, R. (1989) "Last Rites for the Inquisition", Times Higher Educational Supplement 30 June, p. 15 (a compact and clear summary of governmentsponsored plans for scientific development).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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