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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Japan's Science Budget Faces Scrutiny—Again
30 March 2010 11:32 am
A Japanese cabinet member said today that research institutes will be among the targets of a new effort to identify wasteful governmental spending launched by the ruling party. Yukio Edano, minister of administrative reform, added that he and others in the party are not discounting the importance of science and technology, but they "want to ensure that every single yen of tax money is being spent wisely."
The review, due to start next month, will be the second such exercise by the Democratic Party, which came to power last August after promising to shake up the budget-making process. Last November, a task force recommended freezing spending on a next-generation supercomputer under development and urged trimming funding for major research efforts, such as Japan's ocean drilling program and various grant schemes. After Nobel laureates and prominent scientists denounced the cuts as short-sighted, most of the money was restored in the budget for the fiscal year that starts 1 April.
"It was very painful for us to be the target of criticism by Nobel laureates and the heads of famous universities," Edano said at a press conference in Tokyo today. The Democratic Party's intent was not to undermine the objectives of scientific research, but to find "more effective ways to use tax monies to achieve those goals," he said.
In a second round of hearings, a new task force will take a close look at government-funded organizations. Edano said that many of these agencies are staffed with former bureaucrats and have large personnel and indirect costs. "We are focusing not on scientific research itself but the indirect, wasteful spending that surrounds research activities," he said.
Edano did not specify which institutes will face scrutiny, but did refer to a category of government-funded bodies that includes institutions that conduct research—such as RIKEN, a collection of research centers headquartered in Wako—as well as organizations like the Japan Science and Technology Agency, which administers grants and promotes technology transfers. He also didn't explain if the new review will affect the fiscal 2010 budget or set the stage for funding in the year beginning April 2011.