Protestors have taken to the streets of Budapest in reaction to highly controversial reforms to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences that will see the research agenda of the 200-year-old institution put under the government’s control.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban plans to strip the Hungarian Academy of Sciences of its network of research institutions and hand over their buildings and assets to a new governing council in order to set the research agenda and promote more lucrative and innovative research projects.

The new science governing council will be chaired by Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics, who will make the final decision on all funding issues.

The European Commission urged the Hungarian authorities on 3 June “to refrain from making any decision that will restrict both scientific and academic freedom.”

Over the last two years, Orban’s ruling Fidesz party forcing the Central European University (CEU) to move much of its activity to Vienna and has banned teaching subjects that are opposed to its strict socially conservative and nationalist agenda.