key official left management with adjustment warnings and more layoffs

key official left management with adjustment warnings and more layoffs

The now former director of the Fund for Scientific and Technological Research (FONCYT), Marisa Censabella, left management last Friday. At the time of his departure, he warned in a harsh letter that research projects are at risk and more layoffs are coming at the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation. Ambit contacted the CONICET researcher, who revealed lack of knowledge of the sector by the new authorities and an extremely hostile attitude towards the scientific community.

Censabella held a key position in the entire science and technology network. She was appointed in October 2022, during the previous administration, at the head of FONCYT, the main fund to support basic and applied science that manages more than 6,000 projects and supports activities in Conicet and in public and private universities.

The contract that linked her to the organization had to be renewed every 180 days, as occurs with temporary appointments. And although Javier Milei’s government did not interrupt it, it decided last Friday not to renew it.. Censabella worked in the Libertarian administration for just over 100 days.

Before leaving the organization, the now former official sent a harsh letter to the Agency’s board of directors in which he warns that more are coming layoffs in the organization and that research projects are at risk.

The text that this media was able to access ensures that “More layoffs are expected starting Tuesday the 26th”despite the fact that “in January 35 people were dismissed and another 16 resigned due to the new working conditions that are not consistent with the dynamics of productivity by goals that characterized the Agency in recent years.”

The new layoffs would be linked to the Government’s intention that the Agency once again depends on the Undersecretariat of Science and Technologywhich could imply that support areas such as communication, legal, systems and administration cease to exist.

Furthermore, the letter states that the Scientific and Technological Research Projects (PICT) “are at risk”. PICTs are the most important research financing instrument in Argentina. They are subsidies that are given to specific projects and are strictly evaluated by scientific and technological peers with recognized national and international experience.

Scientific research: the experience under the Milei government

Ámbito contacted Marisa Censabella to learn more details about her departure from management. According to her, It is “very difficult” to work in the administration of Javier Milei. The former official also said: “There is a line down where you have to obey absolutely everything. There is a very big negative and little listening to the professionals who know the area and the impact that the instruments have on the scientific community.”

In that sense, Censabella considered that The consequences of these three months “are more of destruction than construction of something new”. “I was speaking with Secretary Alejandro Cosentino and Undersecretary Paula Nahirñak. They were supposedly work meetings, but there was no work. It was simply listening to a speech that we had to align ourselves with the new management without specifying where we were going,” the former official told this medium.

He also described that inside there is an extremely hostile climate towards the scientific community: “I heard expressions of a lot of violence towards the interns and of alleged punitive actions towards people who send many emails to the authorities’ mailboxes asking for some recomposition of income.”

The CONICET researcher maintained that the current officials “they have no experience or track record in science” and he remarked: “I asked many times what the direction was. I stated that it had to be transmitted to the investigators, but they told me that it was not yet the time. The feeling is that they don’t know where the scientific system is going.”

Debt and the blender

When asked by this media, Censabella revealed that “subsidy payments have been suspended”. In that sense, he explained that the Agency “did not pay anything in 2024.” On this point, he specified that The institution’s debt already amounts to more than $3,000 million. “The stoppage in payments has to do with liquefying them in the long term,” he explained.

According to the researcher, The orders not to execute the items came directly from the Chief of Staff that drives Nicolas Posse“which controls each and every movement”, despite the fact that the R&D&I Agency is until now a decentralized body.

Censabella excluded Alicia Caballero, the new president of the Agency, from what happened in recent months. But she asked the authorities “reflect, consult specialized personnel and give signals to the entire scientific community of where we intend to take the system.”

Source: Ambito

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