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Austrian Scientists Face a Massive Budget Cut--or Do They?

Austrian scientists are in a cold sweat after learning that they could face a 90% budget cut. That bomb was buried within a draft budget document released 2 weeks ago, just days after a major electoral win by the country's conservative Austrian People's Party. Austrian scientists had been promised a 5-year budget of €2.35 billion—that is, back in the warm and lazy summer days when the liberal party was in power and global financial markets were riding high. The number now suggested is just €350 million. "Scientists are upset and alarmed," says a spokesperson at the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development who requested anonymity. "But the real numbers will come in January." If the cut turns out to be true, he predicts that scientists will take to the streets. However, he says, such a budget would be so disastrous for Austrian science that he can't believe the cut is a serious proposal. "I think it was just a clerical error."