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Scientists rally to protest lack of government funding

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More than 500 scientists of the National Academy of Sciences took to the streets to protest government underfunding of scientific research.

More than 500 scientists of the National Academy of Sciences left their laboratories and research institutes on Dec. 9 and took to the streets to protest government underfunding in scientific research.

Gathering at the Cabinet of Ministers in the government district, they said they feared that lawmakers would pass next year’s budget with additional cuts in research. Some held placards that read: “Hands off science!”

Instead, they urged government to support scientific research and education by increasing its budget and to respect academic freedom.

This year the science budget was set at Hr 2.3 billion, which was 7.5 percent less than in 2014. The protesters are asking for at least Hr 2.7 billion.

According to the latest law passed by the Verkhovna Rada, research funding is set at 1.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. But according to the protesters, Ukraine only spends 0.3 percent of GDP on research.

Oleksiy Ryabchyn, a lawmaker with Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshyna party, who talked to the protesters during the rally, said that when Ph.D. candidates make it to streets, it’s a “bad sign” for the country.

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