03 February 2007

Portuguese science tackles an attitude problem

They may not have quite the same planet sized chip on their shoulders as engineers, who are for ever complaining that people confuse them with the mechanics and technicians who mend vacuum, cleaners, but scientists the world over like to complain of their lot. It seems that in Portugal they really do have something to moan about. An article in The Scientist, A Portuguese Science Association Reaches Out, kicks off with the statement that "Portugal is a country where being a scientist is still not considered a career by most of its population and it's a place where funding for research comes almost exclusively from government sources."

Back in November 2004 a group of young life scientists decided to do something about this and set up the Associação Viver a Ciência (VaC). Their idea is to do something about attitudes to science in Portugal. And they are doing this on a shoestring. The annual budget of an €140,000 or so wouldn't buy one of those studies of the subject that we go in for in the UK.

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