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miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2018

Leaked document points to scholarship cancellation by future CONACYT director

The soon-to-be director of Mexico’s Science and Technology Council (CONACYT), María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, formally requested its current director Enrique Cabrero to suspend every existing call for scholarships that “might compromise or affect budgetary resources for 2019.” The document was leaked through social media, causing uproar among the Mexican people.

The letter, which was written on September 24 of the present year, includes a request to cancel all calls issued after July 31st, 2018, including the Support Program for Scientific, Technological, and Innovation Activities, as well as the Fund for the Promotion and Support of Scientific Investigation in Biosafety and Biotechnology, and other contracts such as the one shared with the publishing house Fondo de Cultura Económica.

According to the upcoming director, “a request for succession was made to revise finances and uphold the upcoming government’s new proposals; we ask that the current administration clarifies which of these financial instruments will affect next year’s government,” the document states.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Álvarez-Buylla confirmed that the letter was authentic, and that it had been leaked by someone inside CONACYT.

“The intention was good, considering that we are in a process of delivery and reception during the transition period with Doctor Cabrero. However, the misuse and misinterpretation of this information on social media has caused people to think otherwise,” stated the academic.

Shortly after the leaked letter controversy, María Elena Álvarez sent a letter to several media outlets clarifying that “it was indeed requested that the calls for scholarships were suspended in case they jeopardized resources for the upcoming government. However, this suspension does not imply that the scholarships themselves will be cancelled,” the document states.

She assured that said measures were being subject to scrutiny. “We are focusing all our efforts on generating criteria that may allow us to render CONACYT’s operation more efficient and austere, just as the President-elect has requested, in order to destine a larger amount of resources to the academic community while fostering the generation of new knowledge,” she stressed.

Earlier today, CONACYT released a statement through social media, clarifying that the current calls for scholarships would remain as they were and that the council would continue to work towards a smooth government transition in full transparency and abiding by the law.


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