Moldova: Research Crisis Threatens Innovation

Moldova's scientific research sector faces a critical shortage of personnel. While researchers play a vital role in driving national development by developing innovative solutions to pressing challenges, their numbers have been steadily declining over the past few years.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of active researchers in Moldova dropped significantly in 2023. Compared to two years ago, there are now over a thousand fewer specialists working in research fields. This decline is attributed in part to the implementation of a new research methodology, which includes an age limit for research staff. Cumbersome and time-consuming public procurement processes further hinder research efforts.

The dwindling pool of researchers is evident across various institutions. For instance, the Institute of Zoology, which once boasted a strong research team of 120 researchers in 2010, now has only 45-50 active researchers. Similar challenges are echoed at the State University of Moldova, where a lack of research funding is stifling progress.

Experts warn that this ongoing exodus of talent threatens to impede advancements in Moldova's medical field. Collaboration with international consortia and participation in international congresses are seen as crucial to elevating the country's medical research standards. However, many talented researchers are lured away to more financially secure and well-funded opportunities in European countries.

Moldovan authorities acknowledge the gravity of the situation. The Minister of Education and Research emphasises the importance of promoting young people to pursue research careers. He highlights the significant gap between experienced researchers and the next generation, with a concerning lack of individuals under 30 entering research fields. The Minister underscores the need for increased financial resources to support research initiatives and create a more attractive environment for young researchers.

In conclusion, Moldova's research sector is grappling with a shrinking workforce and inadequate funding. Unless these issues are addressed through targeted initiatives and increased financial support, the country's ability to innovate and address critical challenges will be severely hampered.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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