Brazilian science and technology ministry sees funding slashed

More than R$480m gets wiped out of the ministry's budget as part of broader austerity measures

A new round of government spending cuts in Brazil will include a R$481m ($128.6m) reduction in the budget for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).

The cuts, announced last week, will mean an overall reduction in spending of 35,9 percent in the MCTI budget, initially set at R$1.4bn ($374m) at the start of 2015.

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The Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management stated that the cuts, which affect various other ministries and total R$ 1.4bn, were prompted by the "adverse economic scenario" that Brazil is currently faces.

Budget reductions started in May and continued in the following months, affecting flagship programs such as the National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment (Pronatec), which has focused on low-income young Brazilians and has played an important role in creating entry-level skills to fill the country's existing expertise gap in the IT sector.

Another program impacted by the cuts is Science without Borders, which grants scholarships to Brazilian students in universities based in countries including the United States, Finland, South Korea, Japan, Australia and South Africa.

In a statement, the Ministry of Planning said that all payments referring to the 23.971 scholarships under the Science without Borders program will be maintained even with the spending cuts.

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