Guest essay by Eric Worrall
French government broadcaster France24 claims President Macron’s offer of fifty grants is luring climate scientists away from the US to work in France.
US researchers flock to join Macron’s climate change project
Latest update : 2017-12-13
Eighteen climate scientists, 13 of them based in the United States, were on Monday named the first beneficiaries of the research grants linked to French President Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” project, which will see them relocate to France.
“The selected projects are of very high standards and deal with issues that are particularly important,” the jury said in a statement, noting its members had received a total of 1,822 applications, of which 1,123 came from the US. A second round of laureates will be announced “during the course of the spring of 2018”, it said.
In all, a total of 50 research grants will be handed out, lasting a minimum of three years and worth between €1 million and €1.5 million each.
Among Monday’s 18 laureates were senior researchers from prestigious US universities, including Venkatramani Balaji from Princeton, Nuria Teixido from Stanford University and Louis Derry from Cornell University. Although the vast majority of the laureates are currently based in the US, they also include researchers from Canada, India, Italy, Poland and Spain.
I don’t believe most climate research and government sponsored energy projects yield sufficient benefit to justify public funding, but it is possible to oppose public funding, yet still feel sorry for people who are about to lose their jobs.
If France is happy to step into the breach, who are we to argue? The French people set their own priorities. I’m glad US climate scientists on the brink of losing their funding have other options.
US climate scientists worried about their financial future should accept the generous French offer before the offer is withdrawn, or the French grant quota is filled.