Researchers in Hungary are protesting a plan for increased government involvement in research funding, the Associated Press reports.
Currently, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which receives 40 billion forints ($142 million) a year in government funding, oversees a number of research institutions, Reuters adds. But under a new plan proposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, researchers would instead vie for funds for certain projects. In an open letter to researchers, Orban says the change would enable Hungary to boost innovation, according to the AP.
"The guarantee to generate economic benefits from knowledge is still missing from the research and innovation system," Orban writes, according to Reuters. Orban, it adds, has centralized power and state influence over Hungarian public life, including the courts, media, and education.
Scientists, though, worry that this plan would lead to political and ideological influences on their work as wells limit funding to the humanities, as its economic benefits can be less obvious, the AP says.
"If, after all, we yield to the will of the ministry ... then there's no question that our community will lose its cardinal value, its independence," Adrienn Szilagyi, a researcher at the Institute of History, tells the AP.