The growing relevance of science will remain in the hands of young researchers  
July 29, 2022

It is true that Spanish science has a series of structural problems (excessive bureaucracy, scarce funding, limited human resources and low social perception), but it is also true that in the near future science and technology are going to be much more important than what they have been in the present and the past . And there the many young researchers who come out of Spanish universities will have a relevant role and many possibilities . This has become clear in one of the round tables of the course “The future of science and scientists in Spanish society” , directed by Professor Jesús Pérez Gil at the UCM Summer Courses.

Javier Montero , vice-rector for Academic Planning at the Complutense University , has recognized that this series of structural problems has existed for decades, but also that scientists and young people agree that they are very critical and that they want to improve everything . Both the vice-rector and Lluis Montoliu , a researcher at the CSIC-CNB , have assured that the investigation has nothing to do at this time with how it was 20 or 30 years ago, since ” today the situation is much better, just as it will be within a few decades thanks to the new generations ”.

Eva Ortega , researcher at the CNIO and general secretary of RAICEX (Network of Associations of Spanish Researchers and Scientists Abroad) , agrees with the appreciation of her colleagues, but fears that we will always remain “as the bottom of the advances” . Ortega dreams of changing this situation and allowing young people (who so wish) to return to Spain to continue here with a quality and well-paid scientific career.

For this to be possible, José Manuel Torralba , vice-president of COSCE and director of IMDEA Materials , believes that many of the obstacles that exist in Spanish legislation must be repealed , and he considers that everything requires a change from above , with a government president who believes in science and who promotes policies that benefit it. He gave Torralba as an example how much is done for the scientific fabric in Catalonia , Euskadi and Galicia , and there “young people have to fight for everything to change”.

Elisa Fernández Núñez , IIB-CSIC scientist and FCS-CCOO union delegate , considers that it is not so easy to repeal laws, since science is part of the public system and must be governed by the same rules as the rest of society . For the researcher, what is really important is that steps are not taken backwards and science is not considered again as something that “is there and is not relevant”.

For her part, Elena Gómez Díaz , a researcher at the López Neyra Institute , believes that what happens on a day-to-day basis in the work of researchers is more important than at political debate tables, and trusts in the role of laboratories to create friendly, dignified and ethical work environments .