The number of researchers applying for Europe-funded Marie Curie fellowships in the United Kingdom has dipped slightly since the country’s vote to leave the European Union, data released to Nature show.
The march organisers said they wanted to show the world that “lots of people care”. But to truly make things better for the scientific community, this care must be turned into proposals for action. Otherwise last week’s marches, and any subsequent protests, will remain little more than a photo opportunity.
When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on 23 June last year, the decision triggered a period of intense soul-searching and uncertainty, not least for a research community with strong and long-standing financial and social links to the continent. Worries about science funding, residency rights and even about racist attacks took root in laboratories across the country.
UK scientists who had vigorously protested against a planned shake-up of the way their country’s research is funded say they’re largely reassured after the government announced amendments to the plans. Science minister Jo Johnson announced a package of changes last week that look likely to smooth the way for the reforms to become law — although not everyone is satisfied.
Influential research organizations are pulling out of Science Europe, the Brussels-based advocacy group that aims to champion researchers’ interests with European Union policymakers. All but one of France’s research-funding organizations are preparing to leave the group at the end of this year, Nature has learned — including Europe’s largest basic-research agency, the CNRS, which controls an annual budget of €3.3 billion (US$3.5 billion).
Citation rates in astronomy are stacked against women, a study that uses machine learning to quantify bias has found. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, estimate that, as a result of gender bias, papers whose first authors are women receive around 10% fewer citations than do those that are first-authored by men.