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We are all seeking to serve Hungarian science and the Hungarian people

In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister, the young researchers state that the Lendület Programme helped them to continue their scientific career in Hungary after having returned to their home country, or – thanks to the programme – having increased their capabilities while remaining in Hungary. The letter states that the currently ongoing restructuring process has been launched without substantive negotiations, and the uncertainty it is creating will in the long term destroy the basis for innovation potential. The researchers therefore “request immediate suspension of the hasty and ill-considered process for restructuring the funding of Hungarian research and innovation.”

Mr. Orbán’s reply – which was posted on his personal website – states the following:

“Reading your letter I received the impression that we stand on the same foundations: we are all seeking to serve the benefit of Hungarian science and the Hungarian people. At the same time, as is the way of things, the scientific community and the Government see certain problems from different points of view, and with divergent approaches . This is why it is important that in the course of dialogue with each other we are not guided by partial information, but by our common goal: to simultaneously enhance both the reputation of Hungarian science and Hungary’s competitiveness.”

According to the Prime Minister, there is no question that „the changes taking place around us today present challenges that science can play a key role in addressing. We can also agree that the conditions for scientific work in Hungary have perceptibly improved, but the system for innovation and research and development still lacks the element that would guarantee that knowledge generates direct economic benefits. Regrettably, international innovation rankings show that in this area Hungary is one of Europe’s weaker performers, and our ability to pursue our interest in the acquisition of the significant resources for science and innovation could be sharpened. Therefore in this matter any responsible government must take action.”

He continued as follows: “from all this it seems clear to us that increasing the added value of Hungarian industry is possible if our research institutes focus their resources on the areas of both basic research and innovation. The Lendület research groups are the best example in Hungary today of the smooth operation of a system in which researchers receive state funding for one clearly definable research topic or another.”

Mr. Orbán observed that, in addition to increasing funding, on 4 October 2018 the Government decided to review the operation of the entire structure – including the Academy’s network of research institutes. He stated that “The goal – as with the transformation of universities – is the creation of a system which operates optimally and free of administrative restraints, but also more responsibly and transparently. This means that nothing valuable will be lost, and likewise freedom of scientific research cannot be compromised.”

In closing his letter of reply, Mr. Orbán wrote: “I sincerely hope that a constructive dialogue on the new operating principles will begin as soon as possible. Minister László Palkovics is ready to continue talks on behalf of the Government.”