BARCELONA, SPAIN—More cash and many profound structural changes—that, according to a panel of European experts, is what Spain's national science and innovation system needs to become more competitive.
A full report will be issued later, but on Thursday, the group released a six-page document containing its key messages. It says the Spanish government should raise its contribution to science and innovation to 0.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and argues for the creation of a national funding agency that gives out merit-based grants, more autonomy for the universities, and a major overhaul of Spain's national research centers. Above all, what is needed is a stronger culture of evaluation and accountability, even if it means increasing inequality between universities, the document says.
The report was put together at the request of the Spanish government by a peer-review panel of the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC), chaired by Luke Georghiou, vice president for research and innovation at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
The report acknowledges “islands of excellence” in Spain, in particular a fleet of recently created research institutes that enjoy greater autonomy. But it deplores the “low” performance of the Spanish science system as a whole. The system's main ills, it says, are fragmented governance, insufficient mobility of people and knowledge across institutions, a lack of effective science policies and research performance evaluations, and the private sector's meager R&D contribution.
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