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Lawmakers voted to refer research institutions of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) under the auspices of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network, a new body with its own, independent budget chapter.

The legislation was passed with 131 votes in favour, 53 against and three abstentions. Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics said that the government plans to allocate an additional 32 billion forints (EUR 99.1m) to the new framework. The parliament’s decision was an important step in renewing the R&D&I sector in Hungary, he said. State-funded research will now manifest in inventions, and a stronger cooperation between academia, higher education and economic players, he added.
MTA earlier protested the “forced transformation without any valid reasoning” and complained that the new legal framework offers no guarantees for basic funding. The Academy issued an appeal to lawmakers to weigh its arguments on the matter, aired over months of negotiations with the innovation and technology ministry, and warned that approving the proposed legislation would “hurt the freedom of scientific research and could result in the loss of values which are fundamental for Hungary”. MTA also said earlier that it would initiate an appeal of the legislation with the Constitutional Court.