French academics calls for education cash-boost

12th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - The French Circle of Economists urged the government to raise spending on research and higher education to six percent of output in order to to spur economic growth, its president Jean-Herve Lorenzi said Monday.

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - The French Circle of Economists urged the government to raise spending on research and higher education to six percent of output in order to to spur economic growth, its president Jean-Herve Lorenzi said Monday.

"The bottom line for French economists is how to increase potential growth," Lorenzi told the private Europe 1 radio station.

"That is what is creating all the problems and we all agree on one point: The virtuous cycle is to put money into knowledge.

"This will create innovation, productivity and growth."

The circle is a private institution created in 1992 and which comprises of 26 university professors who mull theoretical and practical economic issues.

Lorenzi identified research as probably the biggest source of economic growth, claiming that "results could be rather swift" and citing "the well-known American model that we admire so much".

French economic growth has lagged behind that of its European partners and the United States, while unemployment remains stuck at more than nine percent.

Including higher education, which he considered key, Lorenzi said the United States consecrated six percent of gross domestic product to research, while in France it represented four percent of GDP and and an average five percent for members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"France brings up the rear of developed countries. We spend very little money for research, whether public or private, advanced education and universities."

Thousands of French public sector research scientists demonstrated in Paris on March 19 to press a campaign for government funds to stop a brain drain to the United States and elsewhere.

Along with pictures of Jean-Francois Champollion, who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the discoverer of radium Marie Curie - two scientists who "stayed in France" - protesters carried photographs of modern-day researchers "expatriated in the USA."


© AFP
       
                                                                 Subject: French news

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