In DepthHigher Education

Hungarian science troubled by nationalism

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Science  11 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6389, pp. 584-585
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6389.584

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Summary

Hungarian academics are becoming unnerved by their government's aggressive nationalist agenda, and the intensifying political pressures it is imposing on science. Central European University, which attracts top students from Eastern Europe for its English-language graduate classes and has 17 research centers focusing on social sciences, business, environment, math, and other topics, is a prime target, subject to tightening restrictions that, some fear, could force it out of Hungary. Some of its academics were recently labeled mercenaries by a pro-government newspaper. Hungarian scientists also worry that their main grant-funding body, praised for its independence and transparency in a recent European review, has become replaced by an agency more susceptible to political influence. And some researchers believe the government is increasingly wasting scarce funds on scholarship that promotes a particular agenda or controversial theories of national origin.

  • * Kata Karáth is a science journalist in Budapest. With reporting by Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup, a journalist in Berlin.