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Scientists may organise protests against 2015 draft budget

Researchers from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) are unhappy with the budget draft for next year that slashes funding for the institution by 16.9 percent on an annual basis (and a decrease in finances for salaries of 10.2 percent), meaning a drop to €50.5 million for 2015, a decline in €10.3 million against this year. As a result, the scientists are planning to continue to denounce the budget, which they say may trigger SAV’s collapse – and they are not ruling out organising protests.

Researchers from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) are unhappy with the budget draft for next year that slashes funding for the institution by 16.9 percent on an annual basis (and a decrease in finances for salaries of 10.2 percent), meaning a drop to €50.5 million for 2015, a decline in €10.3 million against this year. As a result, the scientists are planning to continue to denounce the budget, which they say may trigger SAV’s collapse – and they are not ruling out organising protests.

“The SAV will find itself teetering on the brink of collapse vis-a-vis funding its activities,” SAV’s chief scientist Albert Breier told the TASR newswire on October 15. “The budget proposal clearly states the number of people to be dismissed from SAV next year ... This would result in a situation wherein continuous science in SAV would be unsustainable.” He added that some 17-20 percent of jobs would be jeopardised, and “all branches of science would be under threat”.

The researchers also demand that the state treats science the way it is treated in other European countries – that is “to support science so that it can exist, so that there’s an increase in the budget that at least covers inflation,” said Breier.

The Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry on October 14 deemed the organising of all protest gatherings as premature. The government is expected to raise the ministry’s budget for science by another €8 million. “What we need to do now is decide, along with SAV’s leadership, as to how the individual projects will be funded,” ministry spokeswoman Beáta Dupaľová-Ksenzsighová told TASR. She added that SAV features the largest concentration of excellent scientists from among all Slovak research institutions and thus sports big chances of receiving extra funding through competitions.

Hundreds of SAV staff members met on October 15 to express their disagreement with the cabinet’s draft budget for 2015. From the total of 3,195 employees of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, nearly 500 jobs are threatened, head of the committee of SAV labour unions, Daniela Illešová, said for the SITA newswire.

Education Minister Peter Pellegrini said, as quoted by the Sme daily, that they would gain money if they submit interesting and beneficial projects.

(Source: TASR, SITA, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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