Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sparked yet another controversy. This time, government plans to seize control of the research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences resulted in a protest march.
Critics say the government plan threatens academic freedom and autonomous scientific research in Hungary, a “de facto nationalisation of the academy’s property” which would put scientific research under close government scrutiny.
As reported by The Associated Press (AP), the government argues it wants to improve innovation in scientific research and have publicly funded research projects that create “direct economic profit.”
Viktor Oliver Lorincz, a junior research fellow attending the June 2 march, said “we don’t want to belong to the government because we are afraid that the government will decide what we should research.”
In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted that the government proposal would move all the research units into a new public institution with a 13-member governing board comprising six government and six academy delegates. Orbán would appoint the chairman based on a joint proposal by the board.