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Tussle continues over Hungarian academy budget

Hungary’s science ministry has again denied that its reforms of research institutes are political, but has been accused of withholding 2019 funding while conducting an audit.

The audit of Hungary’s research institutes is being overshadowed by the innovation ministry’s reluctance to disburse funds to those same institutes, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has said. In a statement published last week, the academy said it had received a letter from the ministry, explaining that the “more than 8.6 billion” Hungarian forint (€27 million) the academy had received should cover its entire 2019 expenses, including running all its research institutes.

In a letter to the news website Science|Business, published on 31 January, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács dismissed a claim by the academy that a lack of funds had forced it to use excellence funding to pay the electricity bills. “All I can say is that the Academy of Sciences has all the necessary assets to finance its operation,” he said.

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