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Initial thoughts at the beginning of the term of office

It so happens that I am assuming the leadership of the Slovenian Research Agency at the beginning of the new term of office of the European Commission. In the speech before the European Parliament, the recently appointed Commissioner of Research, Science and Innovation stressed the need to strengthen research and innovation policies in the EU Member States, which I understand as an incentive, namely the researchers with a well-regulated research-innovation environment in their countries are usually more successful in the race for European research funds.

Together with the competent ministry, the Council for Science and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia initiated the evaluation of the implementation of the Research Innovation Strategy of the RS 2011-2020 (RISS) in these days. The implementation of the measures of the scientific and innovation policy was transferred to the Agency with the adoption of the Strategy by the National Assembly of the RS in 2011. I am aware that in terms of implementation, the activities of the ARRS have a strong and even dominant impact on a number of indicators reflecting the performance of the RISS. The competent ministry plays a central role in the design of the research-innovation policy whereas the Agency plays a sensitive role of an efficient and independent policy implementer.

With a new term of office, the professional public is often divided on the road between the desire for change and the expectations of stability and predictability. In this dynamics, I bet on a dialogue with all stakeholders and on transparent implementation of the decisions coordinated with the bodies such as the Scientific Council of the Agency and scientific councils of individual disciplines and the Management Board which makes sure that the Agency acts in the public interest. A consensus and only in exceptional circumstances a compromise is needed in the implementation of decisions in complex environments such as research-innovation environment where legitimate interests can be quite diverse or even opposing.

A scientist forms an opinion on his personal and societal position mainly on the basis of his judgement of the possibilities for work and the attitude of the society towards knowledge. Therefore, the ARRS is here to enable the first and improves the second. In the given situation, it needs to take care of a transparent and predictable system of funding and fair criteria for the allocation of public funds. The phrase “in the given situation” in the previous sentence is not a blandishment but calls for adequate attention of the political decision-makers to turn the curve of financing which has been falling ever since 2011 upwards. Namely, this is the basis of the necessary predictability of the Agency’s activities and the conditions for successful work of the researchers and institutions in which they work.

I would like to thank all who expressed their confidence in me in my candidacy for the director of the ARRS.

Prof. Dr. József Györkös

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