Watch for disingenuous initiatives among the guises of Spanish research activism

The consequences for research of “Spain Brand’s” institutional interests percolating research activities

At the 2017 AAAS meeting, Barbara Schaal, the AAAS President, while talking about the international nature of science, reflected that the US has probably benefited from it more than any other country because it has been able to attract the best and the brightest from the world. “Science in the US flourishes when we allow [them] to come, and to live, and to work here.” For the Spanish government, however, the internationalisation of Spanish science has a remarkably different meaning: it means to maximise the return from European grants and to use science diplomacy to improve the prestige of Spanish science abroad.

In the meantime, the Spanish science system, that was criticised more than 80 years ago by Nobel laureate Santiago Ramón y Cajal for its hermeticism, under-funding, over-regulation and bureaucratic burdens, still suffers from those same ailments which undermine the ability of the country to attract international talent. The latter, however, does not seem to be a major concern for government officials.

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