By Elisabeth Pain
Just a few hours after President Donald Trump announced on 1 June that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macronpledged in a video to “make our planet great again” by intensifying efforts to combat climate change — and inviting U.S. researchers who might be unhappy with Trump to work in France.
The French government followed up on 8 June by unveiling a website aimed at attracting foreign scientists with 4-year grants worth up to €1.5million each.
But while some U.S. researchers say the invitation is intriguing, it has irritated some French scientists, who say the move raises concerns about their nation’s commitment to homegrown science. In particular, some French researchers are disappointed that the new Macron government offered grants to foreign researchers before answering their own recent call to shore up funding for struggling research institutes.
“Instead [of a commitment to stable domestic science funding], we get a fancy website which is more an empty shell than anything else,” says Olivier Berné, an astrophysicist and CNRS researcher at the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse. He helped organize the March for Science in France, as well as a letter from 1,500 scientists to France’s research minister that spelled out 10 funding priorities for the new government.
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