Creation of the Public Research Agency

Source: Spanish Government
Type of item: Policy events
Date: 27/11/2015

The government finally created the Public Research Agency ("Agencia Española de Investigación") by means of the Royal Decree Law 1067/2015 one month before the general elections og 2015. The creation of the agency implies the suppression of a number of administrative bodies in the central government that so far had been in charge of managing research funds. It is a move towards centralization of the management of the public research funds. The new institution will be part of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and it is expected to be operational by 2017.

Assessment:

The prevailing impression is that the government opted for a course of action that implies meeting formally with a long-standing commitment rather than a deep reform in the management of the R&D budget. The main blueprints for national research agencies, like the NSF from the US and the ERC from the European Commission, attribute funds basically on the grounds of research excellence and, comparatively, they manage larger amounts than the new Spanish agency. It is likely that the new body, if finally becomes operational in 2017 (which is not at all confirmed), will marginally improve on the effective use of funds but it will not be enough, per se, to introduce the radical changes that the Spanish R&D system needs.