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Policy

Brazilian science ministry downgraded by interim president

by Meghie Rodrigues, special to C&EN
May 30, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 22

The already delicate situation of science in Brazil has become even more fragile. The Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation has been fused with the Ministry of Communications, which, among other roles, regulates internet and postal services. Gilberto Kassab, a former mayor of São Paulo, is the new minister. The move, led by Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer, alarmed scientists all over the country, who consider it to be harmful to science and technology— and who have battled harsh research funding cuts since 2014. “The junction of such disparate activities in a single ministry weakens the sectors of science, technology and innovation, which, in other countries, gain importance in an increasingly knowledge-based world economy,” reads a letter to Temer from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the Society for the Advancement of Science. The consolidation of ministries is an attempt to reduce the number of government workers. There are now 23 out of the former 32 ministries. Temer replaced elected President Dilma Rousseff, who has been suspended for up to six months and is facing impeachment.

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