MTA–ITM budget talks will continue on Tuesday

President László Lovász, will meet with László Palkovics, leader of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM) on Tuesday, 26 June to continue talks regarding the planned budgetary change in the funding of the Academy. President Lovász will present the results of these negotiations with the MTA’s Presidium during a meeting at 2 pm the same day.

The Academy will aim to continue the management of the budget that directly ensures the functioning of the MTA’s research network, including the researchers’ wages (this amounts to 17.1 billion HUF out of the debated 28 billion HUF). Furthermore, the Academy will be seeking to persuade the Government to guarantee that the expert oversight of the grants that would be transferred to the ITM would remain with the Academy. This is of fundamental significance in order to ensure freedom of research.

As the Academy hopes these discussions will prove to be fruitful, the information shared with the wide public is rather limited. Up to now, only one communiqué has been published, and the President has only given two interviews: a long one to and a short one to the M1 TV.

Despite our limited communication, there are two things that need to be stated besides the very clearly communicated facts in these two interviews, especially concerning topics where the ministry’s point of view has already been communicated widely in the media.


According to the government’s communication, efficiency is of key importance – they claim that efficiency will increase if resources are in one hand. We are speaking about 28 billion HUF, while the ITM’s total budget is 1300 billion HUF. It is important to note that the efficiency of basic research is not enhanced by the state, but by working along international excellence standards, which is already characteristic of the Academy.

Research strategy

The Academy has a research strategy. It is centered around the Academy’s basic task, i.e. basic research, but applied research is also of high importance, as well as the role of joint research with universities and market players. Basic and applied research are inseparable: directly applicable research results can only be achieved on a basis provided by significant basic research. The MTA’s 10 research centers and 5 individual research institutes have their own mid-range research strategies. Additionally, each unit of the MTA research network has short term and long term research strategies. These documents have always been reviewed by the Government and no objections have ever been made.

“Political issue”

The MTA does not consider this problem a political issue. The Government’s suggestion was discussed by the Presidium. The Academy’s Presidium is the main decision making body between two General Assemblies that is made up of the Academy’s elected leadership: the President, the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, the three Vice-Presidents and the heads of our 11 departments. The leaders of the MTA’s institutes and Minister László Palkovics were also invited to the meeting. The Presidium unanimously voted in favour of the response sent to the Government’s proposal, and no objections were raised by the leaders of the institutes. Therefore, this declaration reflects the widest possible opinion of the Academy, irrespective of political views. This declaration is the statement of the scientists’ and researchers’ community on an issue that directly influences their work. This declaration was issued by the MTA, which was later interpreted in a number of ways by the media, and blemished by their political agenda.

The Presidency’s declaration was also supported by Hungary’s excellent young researchers, i.e. the leaders of Lendület (Momentum) Research Groups.

Finally it must be noted that the Academy has no record of the political or ideological views of its members, the members of the public body, the doctors of the Academy, or the colleagues working in the research network. Anyone who is dedicated to the present government – even someone who as a minister, is a member of said government – may be a renowned member of the academic community, in the same way as the strongest political opponents of the government. The Academy believes that both political behaviours are legitimate, as well as all those political strategies that fall between these two extremes. However, the Academy is not interested in this question. In a scientific community each and every member is measured by his or her scientific achievement. This is the only factor that counts for the Academy of Sciences.

MTA Communications Department