Ireland's Science Budget Avoids the Ax

Ireland's science budget for 2012 has largely been protected from the €1.4 billion in cuts to hospitals, schools, and other public expenditures announced last week. Full details have yet to be released by the government, but Seán Sherlock, the minister of state at the department of enterprise, jobs, and innovation with responsibility for research and innovation, says "the plan reaffirms the government's commitment to the research and innovation agenda."

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the state-sponsored agency that supports science, saw its budget allocation drop slightly, from €161 million this year to €156 million. Spending had peaked at €171 million in 2009, but Sherlock says that "this level of funding will also ensure that in 2012 SFI can maintain its direct support to its current funded research community of 3000 or so top-class researchers."

The overall spending on science, technology and innovation (STI) has been dropping in recent years from a high of €751 million in 2008 to €570 million in 2011. The overall figure for STI spending allocated for 2012 is not yet available.