“The Ministry of Innovation and Technology is puzzled by the statement issued by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) on Tuesday, according to which negotiation between the Ministry and the Academy have come to a standstill”, the Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday in which it objected to the fact that the MTA is attempting to place pressure on the Government by issuing the statement.

“The paperwork cited by László Lovas is the working document relating to the previously agreed negotiations that are due to begin today, and which the members of both Committees have also received”, the statement reads.

“It is sad and unfortunate that the Academy is attempting to place pressure on the Government through various statements instead of handling the cited document as a basis for negotiation and commenting it with substantive observations and suggestions”, wrote the Ministry, according to whom the document involves financing and structural issues relating to the Hungarian research & development and innovation management (R+D+I) system, and includes proposals for the restructuring and optimisation of the Academy and state research institute system, and for making cooperation with universities more efficient.

“With regard to the proposals included in the document, they fully conform to the expectations and solutions included in the statement issued by the MTA Presidency”, the statement reads.

On Tuesday, the MTA told Hungarian news agency MTI: “The Hungarian Academy of Sciences regards the negotiations with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology as having come to a standstill, but would like to continue those with the Government”. At its Tuesday session, the Presidency also voted on the need to convene an emergency council meeting before the end of this year. At the request of the Minister, President of the MTA László Lovas summarised the Academy’s proposals in a letter dated 23 August, including, amongst others, a proposal on the setting up of a Research Network Scientific Council, the Academy wrote.

However, no response to the proposals put forward by the MTA President was received from the Minister by 10 September. On 10 September, László Lovas and Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics held a short meeting, during which the Minister presented the MTA President with a working document and informed him that he is free to place it at the disposal of council members.

It transpires from the working document, “which also includes totally new considerations in comparison to previously” that, amongst others, certain research groups or full institutes from the MTA research institute network would in future be maintained by universities. Other research institutes would be included in another research network or would close entirely. The institutions that continue to be maintained by the MTA would undergo a “consolidation and profile cleansing” process. According to the Minister’s plans, all this would be performed by December of this year.

At Tuesday’s session of the Academy’s Executive College, President of the MTA László Lovas said he regards the harming of the integrity of the existing research network as unacceptable.