MPs override President; protestors say Academy of Sciences doomed

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MPs override President; protestors say Academy of Sciences doomed

12. 09. 2018 14:58

Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) institutes will remain in the state that they were in before their transformation, MPs decided with 76 votes on Tuesday, thus breaking the president's veto of the Universities Act. This act includes an amendment to the SAV Act, which has subsequently been reapproved.

More than 500 employees from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), along with supporters of science & research, took part in a protest rally on Tuesday in front of Parliament in the lead-up to the decision. The protesters were concerned about the situation in which the academy finds itself, with researchers prevented from accessing grants and entering into commercial cooperation. "We are right, but the MPs have power," stated SAV head Pavol Šajgalík, who on Tuesday asked, in vain, for at least one of the parties of the ruling coalition not to vote for the amendment to the Act on SAV which, according to SAV employees, would mean the liquidation of the institution.

The result did not end in the scientists' favour, with seventy six MPs overriding the presidential veto. Many protestors believe this signals a death warrant on the Academy of Sciences, as 47 institutions inside the Academy will cease to exist, being re-established at a later date. SAV will therefore revert to its pre-July state, continuing in its original budgetary form. The amendment also commits the Academy to provide all necessary documents by the end of the year in order for its organisations to be transferred to their new legal form of becoming public research institutions.

Initially, SAV institutes were supposed to be transformed and entered in the register of public research institutions (VVI). According to the approved amendment, SAV will be composed of partly and fully budget-subsidised organisations. The amendment also obliges SAV to ensure that by December 31, 2018 all necessary steps are taken to enable its organisations to become VVIs under the procedure established by the VVI Act.

Gavin Shoebridge, Photo: TASR

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