Momentum (Lendület) Program awardees' open letter to prime minister Viktor Orbán

An open letter was written by the awardees of the Momentum (Lendület) Program to prime minister Viktor Orbán. We are hereby publishing the letter verbatim.

"Dear Prime Minister Orbán,

We are writing to you as the awardees of the Momentum (Lendület) Program, Hungary’s main funding scheme for excellence in scientific research for young scientists. This internationally renowned grant program has helped us to establish our own research groups in Hungary, many of us returning from a career abroad, and to use our knowledge for the benefit of our home country. Furthermore, the support of the program enabled us to provide an opportunity for many of our colleagues working in our research groups to pursue their research careers in Hungary.

We are surprised and deeply concerned by the actions of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, aimed at a radical restructuring of the funding scheme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and of scientific research in Hungary as a whole.

The Academy’s network of research institutes has achieved its current structure as a result of many decades of gradual evolution. The present system is the result of recent reorganizations managed by the Academy itself, based on strict scientific criteria. This process has been fruitful as proven, among others, by the success of the Momentum Program.

We, the leaders of the Momentum research groups urge you to call upon your Minister to proceed with the reorganization of the Hungarian academic scene in cooperation with the leadership of the Academy. The present process is carried out by the Ministry without real negotiations with the parties involved, and the ensuing uncertainty is demolishing the basis of the country’s innovation potential in the long run.

The planned deconstruction of the Academy’s network of research institutes and the elimination of its basic funding are in sharp disagreement not only with the successful international examples cited by the Ministry, but even with the conclusions of the Ministry’s own analysis of the situation, which clearly show that in order to enhance innovation, the allocation of further financial sources would be necessary. The planned budget cuts threaten the existence of well-established research centres of fundamental national importance, especially in the fields of humanity and social sciences.

We are convinced that the keys to the enhancement of the country’s innovation potential are the broadening of the funding for basic research, the guarantee of a secure financial background, and the strengthening of the Hungarian scientific community’s ability to keep scientists in the country. The higher the number of excellent young researchers staying in Hungary, the more effectively Hungarian science is able to serve innovation. Basic research is the rich soil in which Hungarian patents and startup companies may grow, and in which Hungarian innovation can grow its strong and deep roots. Basic research trains the experts and provides the discoveries that serve as the basis for any kind of development and innovation.

It is our firm request that the hasty and ill-founded process of restructuring the funding of Hungarian research and innovation is suspended immediately. This is the only way to reverse the detrimental effects of the current instability, which pushes more and more of us to consider leaving Hungary and continuing our work in another country.


The undersigned Momentum group leaders.

Budapest, 7 February 2019.

Signed by the awardees of Momentum (Lendület) Grant until 12:00, 8 February 2019

Abért, Miklós, MTA Rényi Lendület Groups and Graphs Research Group

Ablonczy, Balázs, MTA BTK Lendület Trianon 100 Research Group

Adamik, Béla, MTA NYTI Lendület Research Group for Computational Latin Dialectology

Andics, Attila, MTA-ELTE Lendület Neuroethology of Communication Research Group

Bajnok, Zoltán, MTA Wigner FK Lendület Holographic Quantum Field Theory Group

Báldi, András, MTA ÖK Lendület Ecosystem Services Research Group

Bárány, Attila, MTA-DE Lendület Hungary in Medieval Europe Research Group

Bárth, Dániel, MTA-ELTE Lendület Historical Folkloristics Research Group

Batáry, Péter, MTA ÖK Lendület Landscape and Conservation Ecology Research Group

Beke-Somfai, Tamás, MTA TTK Lendület Biomolecular Self-assembly Research Group

Benczúr, András, MTA SZTAKI Lendület Big Data Research Group

Bíró, Anikó, MTA KRTK Lendület Health and Population Research Group

Biró, Péter, MTA KRTK Lendület Mechanism Design Research Group

Csanády, László, MTA-SE Lendület Ion Channel Research Group

Csonka, Szabolcs, MTA-BME Lendület Nanoelectronics Research Group

Csörsz, Rumen István, MTA BTK Lendület Literary Culture in Western Hungary, 1770–1820

Dalos, Anna, MTA BTK ZTI Lendület Archives and Research Group for 20th and 21st Century Hungarian Music

Demeter, Tamás, MTA BTK Lendület Morals and Science Research Group

Dénes, Ádám, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Neuroimmunology Research Group

Dóra, Balázs, MTA-BME Lendület Topology and Correlation Research Group

Dosztányi, Zsuzsanna, MTA-ELTE Lendület Bioinformatics Research Group

Enyedi, Balázs, MTA-SE Lendület Tissue Damage Research Group

Erdélyi, Gabriella, MTA BTK Lendület Integrating Families Research Group

Földváry, Miklós István, MTA-ELTE Lendület Research Group of Liturgical History

Fuxreiter, Mónika, MTA-DE Lendület Laboratory of Protein dynamics

Geiszt, Miklós, MTA-SE Lendület Peroxidase Enzyme Research Group

Hájos, Norbert, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Network Neurophysiology

Hangya, Balázs, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Systems Neuroscience

Harcos, Gergely, MTA Rényi Intézet Lendület Automorphic Research Group

Homolya, László, MTA TTK EI Lendület Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology

Horváth, Péter, MTA SZBK Lendület BIOMAG Research Group

Jakus, Zoltán, MTA-SE Lendület Lymphatic Physiology Research Group

Józsi, Mihály, MTA-ELTE Lendület Complement Research Group

Kállay, Mihály, MTA-BME Lendület Quantum Chemistry Research Group

Katona, István, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology

Katz, Sándor, MTA-ELTE Lendület Lattice Gauge Theory Research Group

Kele, Péter, MTA TTK SzKI Lendület Laboratory of Chemical Biology

Kern, Zoltán, MTA CSFK Lendület 2ka Palæoclimate Research Group

Kézsmárki, István, MTA-BME Lendület Magneto-optical Spectroscopy Research Group

Király, Ildikó, MTA-ELTE Lendület Social Cognition Research Group

Kiss, Farkas Gábor, MTA-ELTE Lendület Humanism in East Central Europe (HECE) Research Group

Kiss, László, MTA CSFK Lendület Exoplanets and Stellar Structure Research Group

Kiss, Viktória, MTA BTK Lendület Mobility Research Group

Kóczy, Á. László, MTA KRTK Lendület Game Theory Research Group

Kóspál, Ágnes, MTA CSFK Lendület Disk Research Group

Kovács, Tamás György, MTA Atomki Lendület Lattice QCD Research Group

Legeza, Örs, MTA Wigner Lendület Strongly Correlated Systems Research Group

Lengyel, Balázs, MTA KRTK Lendület Agglomeration and Social Networks Research Group

London, Gábor, MTA TTK Lendület Functional Organic Materials Research Group

Lukács, Ágnes, MTA-BME Lendület Language Acquisition Research Group

Makara, Judit, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Neuronal Signaling

Maria, Lugaro, MTA CSFK Lendület AGB Nuclei and Dust Research Group (LAND)

Markó, Alexandra, MTA-ELTE Lendület Lingual Coarticulation Research Group

Maurovich-Horvát, Pál, MTA-SE Lendület Cardiovascular Imaging Research Group

Mócsai, Attila, MTA-SE Lendület Inflammation Physiology Research Group

Mosonyi, Milán, MTA-BME Lendület Quantum Information Theory Research Group

Muraközy, Balázs, MTA KRTK Lendület Firms, Strategy and Performance Research Group

Nagy, László, MTA SZBK Lendület Fungal Evolutionary Genomics Research Group

Nagy, László, MTA-DE Lendület Immunogenomics Research Group

Nusser, Zoltán, MTA KOKI Lendület Cellular Neurophysiology Research Group

Orbán, Gergő, MTA Wigner FK Lendület Computational Systems Neuroscience Lab

Ősi, Attila, MTA-ELTE Lendület Dinosaur Research Group

Pál, András, MTA CSFK Lendület Fly's Eye Research Group

Pál, Csaba, MTA SZBK Lendület Synthetic and Systems Biology Research Group

Pálffy, Géza, MTA BTK TTI Lendület Holy Crown of Hungary Research Group

Pálvölgyi, Dömötör, MTA-ELTE Lendület Combinatorial Geometry Research Group

Papp, Balázs, MTA SZBK Lendület Computational Systems Biology Research Group

Pásztor, Gabriella, MTA-ELTE Lendület CMS Particle and Nuclear Physics Research Group

Reményi, Attila, MTA TTK Lendület Protein Interaction Group

Simon, Ferenc, MTA-BME Lendület Spintronics Research Group (PROSPIN)

Stipsicz, András, MTA Rényi Institute Lendület Low Dimensional Topology Research Group

Surányi, Balázs, MTA NYTI Lendület Quantifier Scope Research Group

Szabadics, János, MTA KOKI Lendület Laboratory of Cellular Neuropharmacology

Szakács, Gergely, MTA TTK EI Lendület Membrane Biology Research Group

Szegedy, Balázs, MTA Rényi Institute Lendület Limits of Structures Research Group

Székvölgyi, Lóránt, MTA-DE Lendület Genome Architecture and Recombination Research Group

Szilágyi, Róbert, MTA-ELTE Lendület Chemical Structure/Function Research Group

Szöllősi, Gergely János, MTA-ELTE Lendület Evolutionary Genomics Research Group

Szüts, Dávid, MTA TTK Lendület Genome Stability Research Group

Takács, Gábor, MTA-BME Lendület Statistical Field Theory Research Group

Takács, Károly, MTA TK Lendület Research Center for Educational and Network Studies (RECENS)

Tapolcai, János, MTA-BME Lendület Future Internet Research Group

Tarczay, György, MTA-ELTE Lendület Laboratory Astrochemistry Research Group

Tardos, Gábor, MTA RAMKI Lendület Cryptography Research Group

Tasnádi, Attila, MTA-BCE Lendület Strategic Interactions Research Group

Timinszky, Gyula, MTA SZBK Lendület DNA Damage and Nuclear Dynamics Research Group

Tóth, Szilvia Zita, MTA SZBK Lendület Laboratory for Molecular Photobioenergetics

Tóth, Zsombor, MTA BTK Lendület Long Reformation in Eastern Europe (1500-1800) Research Group

Török, Péter, MTA-DE Lendület Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group

Vankó, György, MTA WFK Lendület Femtosecond Spectroscopy Research Group

Varga, Dezső, MTA Wigner FK Lendület Innovative Particle Detector Development Research Group

Varju, Márton, MTA TK Lendület HPOPs-Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union Research Group

Virág, Bálint, MTA Rényi Lendület Random Spectra Research Group

Weisz, Boglárka, MTA BTK Lendület Hungarian Economic History Research Group

Werner, Norbert, MTA-ELTE Lendület Hot Universe Research Group


ERC grant winners: Abért Miklós (2014, Consolidator grant), Dénes Ádám (2016 Consolidator grant), Hangya Balázs (2016 Starting grant), Kállay Mihály (2007 Starting grant), Katona István (2009 Starting grant), Katz Sándor (2007 Starting), Kóspál Ágnes (2016 Starting grant), Maria Lugaro (2016 Consolidator grant), Makara Judit (2017 Consolidator grant), Mócsai Attila (2007 Starting grant), Nagy László (2017 Starting grant), Nusser Zoltán (2011 Advanced grant, 2018 Advanced grant), Pál Csaba (2007 Starting grant, 2014 Consolidator grant), Simon Ferenc (2010 Starting grant), Stipsicz András (2011 Advanced grant), Szabadics János (2017 Consolidator grant), Szakács Gergely (2010 Starting grant), Szegedy Balázs (2013 Consolidator grant), Szöllősi Gergely (2016 Starting grant), Takács Károly (2014 Consolidator grant), Vankó György (2010 Starting grant)."


The authors of the above letter can be contacted at