CONICET, Argentina’s top publicly-funded research institute, will not announce the results of its annual PhD scholarship applications and researchers’ promotions until the 2024 national budget is finalized.

The board of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, known in Spanish as CONICET, said Tuesday in a release that they had made the decision after Congress failed to approve the 2024 budget. The government instead renewed the 2023 budget.

“The board has decided to postpone releasing the […] scholarships and promotions results until a final budget is established,” said the communiqué.

This affects PhD applicants and CONICET researchers who were up for promotion, as well as some other kinds of scholarship, according to the Young Scientists in Precarious Jobs group.

“This is a sign that they are cutting funds,” CONICET worker and union leader Manuel “Manolo” Sueiro told the Herald.

The CONICET board also urged its new president Daniel Salamone, a cloning researcher appointed by President Javier Milei, to “conduct the negotiations that will allow the necessary budget adaptations” to ensure the payment of scholarships.

According to the communiqué, the board initially decided to continue with their original schedule, including publishing scholarship application results in January, despite the change of government and the institution’s authorities. However, in a meeting held Tuesday they changed their decision on the basis of Milei’s decision to renew the 2023 budget.

The outgoing government filed a 2024 budget bill in Congress last September, but it was never debated nor voted on. At the end of December, Milei issued a decree to renew the 2023 budget, in line with the financial administration law. This means that funding for each sector is the same as last year. In the same decree, Milei established that Chief of Staff Nicolás Posse will be allowed to make adjustments to the 2023 budget law when necessary. A new budget bill could also be discussed during the year, but the government hasn’t given any indications of that yet.

The day CONICET announced its scholarships decision, administrative staff who started working at the council in 2023 were notified that their contracts would end on January 31. The move came a result of the Milei government’s decision to terminate all temporary state contracts of under a year, as part of its austerity measures. Of 166 workers with that kind of contract, 48 have been told their contracts are ending, Sueiro confirmed to the Herald.

CONICET workers plan to protest the dismissals on Wednesday at 11 at the scientific complex in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

Milei and his staff have publicly accused CONICET and its researchers of inefficiency and questioned the value of their work. Before being elected, the president had said he wanted to privatize or reform it and “clean up what [scientists] who write nonsense have dirtied.”

CONICET is an internationally-recognized institution, listed 14th in the SCImago Institutions Rankings in terms of research performance among over 1700 governmental institutions.

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Argentine academics in limbo as CONICET postpones grant announcements

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17.01.2024

CONICET, Argentina’s top publicly-funded research institute, will not announce the results of its annual PhD scholarship applications and researchers’ promotions until the 2024 national budget is finalized.

The board of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, known in Spanish as CONICET, said Tuesday in a release that they had made the decision after Congress failed to approve the 2024 budget. The government instead renewed the 2023 budget.

“The board has decided to postpone releasing the […] scholarships and promotions results until a final budget is established,” said the communiqué.

This affects PhD applicants and CONICET researchers who were up for promotion, as well as some other kinds of scholarship, according to the Young Scientists in Precarious Jobs group.

“This........

© Buenos Aires Herald


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