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  • France: academic cri de coeur

    - A French academic petition denounces the top-heavy evaluation system that causes massive bureaucracy and nevertheless leads to haphazard distribution of funding.

    An online ' cri de coeur' of two French neurobiologists, Joël Bockaert and Yehezkel Ben-Ari, has started a wave trough French academic circles. In a mere couple of days the petition under the title 'Halt to academic destruction' gathered already more than 4.400 signatories. In their petition the two neurobiologists point to the fact that France has dropped on the latest OECD-rankings comparing R&D expenses.

    No issue in election debate

    Joël Bockaert is the founder of the l'Institut de génomique fonctionnelle, IGF, in Montpellier and member of the l'Académie des Sciences. He criticizes the fact that scientific research is no topic whatsoever in the electoral campaign between Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

    Bockaert uses strong words to argue that the current system of evaluation scientific work is counterproductive to the creation of excellence. To start with a lab like the IGF in Montpellier, scientists have to endure two years of bureaucratic procedures. According to Yehezkel Ben-Ari (founder of the Institut de neurobiologie de la Méditerranée in Marseille) his lab had to increase the secretary staff, because of the amount of paperwork that has to be processed for every step a scientist takes.