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Several unions organizing researchers in France got about 600 of their members on the streets of Paris to demonstrate against the government giving power to new agencies such as ANR and AERES (the National Research Agency and the Agency for Evaluating Research and Higher Education) fearing that centres like CNRS will lose theirs. They also protested the underfunding of research. What instigated the protest is a letter from the minister for higher education and research Valérie Pécresse to the president of CNRS laying out her plans for reform. Other protests throughout France have been announced.
Researchers’ taking to the streets to protest is not a new phenomenon in France, although it would be a rare occurrence in some other European countries. We shall see if this protest leads to changes and more funds to research as happened a few years ago. This time the top researchers have not yet threatened to leave the country.