The goal of the reorganization is to strengthen the specialist research profiles and objectives of these institutes

On the basis of the decision in principle made during the meeting on 24 November 2020 of the Governing Board of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH), three institutes that currently belong to other ELKH research centers will separate from these research centers and carry out their activities in the future as independent ELKH research institutes. The decision was made on the basis of expert scientific reasoning – involving external experts and the relevant professional colleges of the ELKH Scientific Council – with the aim of reinforcing the specialist research profiles and objectives of the institutes. Becoming an independent institute is a longer process.

The decision affects the Institute of Veterinary Science (ÁOTI) of the Centre for Agricultural Research, the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics (GGI) of the Research Centre for Astronomy, and the Balaton Institute of Limnology (BLI) of the Earth Sciences Centre for Ecological Research.

The three institutes carry out work in specialist research fields, and in many cases are the only ones to do so in Hungary. ÁOTI is the only Hungarian research site for veterinary science concerned with molecular, microbiological research. GGI provides the Hungarian base for Earth-based space exploration within the Solar System, while it also serves as the Hungarian center for seismological observations. BLI is responsible for conducting research into water at Lake Balaton and the surrounding area. The unique nature of their work has meant that these teams could not develop professional synergies and interdisciplinary collaborations with other members of the research center – one of the advantages of working alongside research centers – a factor which also supported the professional reasoning that these institutes should continue their operation on an independent basis. This decision ensures they will be guaranteed the kind of flexibility and speed in decision-making that is essential for more effective operation and allocation of tasks.

In light of the decision, Dr Miklós Maróth, President of ELKH, commented that “the ELKH leadership considers the development of the research network and the increase in its effectiveness and international competitiveness to be a high priority. In order to achieve this goal, in addition to providing increased financial resources, the provision of adequate professional support also plays an extremely important role. With this in mind, the Governing Board has now decided to optimize the organizational structure of three member institutes. Our expectations are that independent operation will benefit the professional development of the institutes and also facilitate the strengthening of their international position.”

Following the 2012 reorganization of the research network – which saw the merging of various institutions into research centers – this year, the ELKH Secretariat initiated a review and evaluation of the experiences of the last eight years. The collection and evaluation of these experiences took place with the involvement of external experts and professional members of staff from various specialist boards of the ELKH Scientific Council.

As a result of this work, in the case of these three research institutes, the idea was raised of a separation from the relevant research center and the opportunity for them to operate as independent research sites within the ELKH research network. Based on the relevant recommendations, the ELKH Governing Board made the decision to make these instites independent.

The primary duty of the ELKH Governing Board is to define – taking into account the recommendations of the research sites – the scientific strategy of the research network, provide professional and material support to achieve its strategic goals, and work to develop the research network. In the future, the distribution of funds will take place under a new model. The ELKH leadership expects this model to help ensure the financing of the research network is effective, more transparent and more reliable, promote excellence in the field of research and also, as a result, increase the international competitiveness of the research network.