The Guild Stands with Global Science Marchers
On 22 April 2017, The Guild will join people across the world to celebrate the collaborative and transnational spirit of science, and to condemn efforts to curtail academic freedom.
Science can and should be a source of our future, but it does not exist in a vacuum. Saturday’s march forms part of broader effort to secure science’s place in the public sphere where funding is determined, and legislation is discussed and adopted.
In Europe, the Commission and other institutions are creating funding mechanisms and flexible regulatory systems to promote Open Science and incentivise scientific cooperation throughout the Union. Yet, in recent months, we have witnessed worrying actions that threaten academic freedom; these include: Hungary’s latest higher education law, which in effect targets Central European University; and the imprisonment – without charges – of students, teachers and researchers in Turkey. We are alarmed by these developments.
We also raise our concerns in relation to other restrictions to academic freedom we have witnessed recently. These include threatened cuts to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the US, and restrictions on public discussion for employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture in the US.
Globalisation, economic change and population movements have caused deep anxieties: these cannot continue to be addressed with platitudes or fake news. They require in-depth discussions about values, cultures and what it means to be secure: and they require greater efforts to ensure wider social participation. We call upon the governments of European states to enhance their commitment to research, innovation and research-led education.