Academia Europaea expresses concern at proposed legislation impacting on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences#

The President Sierd Cloetingh, has on behalf of the Board of trustees of Academia Europaea, written to the Minister for Innovation and Technology of the government of Hungary to express our concerns at proposed legislation that if adopted, would put at risk the independence of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) with respect to research planning and funding for the science programmes managed by the Academy. The AE has asked the Minister to re-assess the proposed legislation to ensure the continuing strength in excellence that the Hungarian Academy is recognised for.

The Board of Academia Europaea also strongly supports the resolution of the Praesidium of the Hungarian Academy that was published on 15 June, 2018.

Academia Europaea is honoured to have amongst its membership 114 members from Hungary.#

Minister László Palkovics
Ministry of Inn
ovation and Technology
Fö utca 44-50 1011 Budapest
25th June 2018

Proposed amendment of the Law on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Law on the 2019 State Budget of Hungary#

Dear Minister Palkovics,

We have been informed about the proposed amendment of the Law on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) and the Law on the 2019 state budget of Hungary and its implications for MTA. Academia Europaea (AE) has strong links with MTA and no less than 114 Hungarian scientists and scholars are Members of our Academy. Members of MTA have played important roles in the life of AE and our 29th Annual Plenary Conference in 2017 took place at MTA in Budapest. We welcome any efforts by the Hungarian government to improve the Hungarian science system, but the proposed amendment, no doubt due to lack of proper consultation with MTA, threatens the scientific autonomy and, most importantly, the quality of scientific output from MTA. The amendment, if implemented, would diminish the quality and scope of the scientific output from Hungary and fail to have positive effects on the Hungarian research environment.

The excellence of MTA’s researchers and the output of its research centres, institutes and research groups are second to none in Hungary, and due to the autonomy of the institution it enjoys widespread trust among the Hungarian population and within the European scientific community. The exceptional results in the region in winning grants from the European Research Council are also noteworthy. The Budapest offices of the Academy have and continue to be important hubs for European science diplomacy meetings.

AE currently has over 3,800 independently elected scientists and scholars (including 114 from Hungary) who are drawn from the entire continent and more widely. Our members are elected purely for their excellence irrespective of citizenship or nationality. Recognizing the pre-eminent role of MTA in ensuring Hungarian scientific excellence, we strongly support MTA’s demand to withdraw the proposed amendment of the Law on MTA and the Law on the 2019 state budget from voting in Parliament, to allow for a wider consultation on the effects of the law. This would ensure that the academy’s autonomy remains untouched and that an appropriate role for basic and fundamental research is safeguarded. We therefore endorse the Resolution of the Presidium of MTA issued on 15th June 2018.

Yours sincerely,
Sierd Cloetingh
President of Academia Europaea
President of COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology)
Knight of the Royal Order of the Netherlands Lion
Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Member of the German National Academy of Science & Engineering
Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Ole H. Petersen
Vice-President of Academia Europaea
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Fellow of The Royal Society
Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Copy to: Professor László Lovász, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Hungarian Academy (MTA) in Budapest

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