European Space Agency science gets the short end again. Is receiving a mandatory GDP-based budget really a net positive?

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — The European Space Agency (ESA) Science Directorate came away with crumbs from the Nov. 22-23 meeting of ESA government ministers, reflecting the structural problem of having science funded by mandatory contributions from ESA’s 22 governments.

Forcing governments to finance science under a formula based on their gross domestic product means the most reticent of them has veto power over the rest. More than 80% of ESA’s budget is for programs with voluntary contributions from its member states.

In ESA’s case . . .

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