There will be no need to reduce funding to the Westfjords Natural History Institute and Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre as previously expected, RÚV reports. The government budget bill originally proposed cutting one third of the institutions’ funding. The funding has instead been secured for 2018. In addition, the operational funding of all eight nature research institutes in the country has been increased.
The target of the proposed cuts in the budget bill was additional funding received by the Westfjords Natural History Institute and Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre for projects in specific rural areas. The funding made up around one third of the institutions’ total funds. The proposed cuts were widely criticized by nature conservation groups and municipal governments. The budget committee decided finally to abolish the cuts and instead increase funding to the institutes.
Iceland’s eight nature research institutes are funded by the state budget, contributions from municipalities, and earnings from specific projects the institutes carry out.
Nancy Brechtloff, director of the Westfjords Natural History Institute, celebrates the outcome but adds that the decision is a temporary measure. A five-year contract between state and local authorities on the institutes’ funding expired at the end of last year and has been extended for an interim period of one year while a new agreement is drawn up.