Hungary’s takeover of academy blasted as ‘expression of power’

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Hungary’s conservative government has brought the country’s top research institution under its control, against the will of its employees and leadership, in what critics characterise as an infringement of academic freedoms.

President Janos Ader, an ally of Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban, signed a law on Friday giving the government control over funding and key appointments of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which has 15 research institutions employing 3,000 academics.

The changes, to take effect in September, give the government influence on two-thirds of the institution’s budget and allow the premier the final say over key personnel. “We have never seen a coherent plan or strategy,” Gergely Bohm, the head of the academy’s department for international relations, said.

The move to take control of the academy is an example of Mr Orban’s desire to bend Hungarian institutions to…

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