Letter to the Science Fund regarding the competition for new projects that were announced during the annual vacations

The Network of Academic Solidarity and Engagement (MASA) sent a letter to the Fund for Science regarding the call for new projects that were announced during the planned vacations, you can read the letter in its entirety below.


We are addressing you on behalf of the members of the Network of Academic Solidarity and Engagement (MASA), but we are sure that the request we are sending you on this occasion is supported by a large number of our colleagues engaged in scientific research work. First of all, we would like to welcome the call for tenders for new projects by the Science Fund in several research areas. However, this is not the first time that the Science Fund has issued a call for financing projects before the beginning of the annual vacations, which practically shortens the deadline for the preparation of project documentation from the anticipated 2.5 months to 1.5 months. This is not only about not respecting the right of scientists and researchers in Serbia to their well-deserved annual vacations, which violates their working rights, but also puts them in an almost impossible position to obtain documentation for applying at a time when the administration is also at a high number of NIOs on annual vacations, as well as teaching staff in the Ethics Committees. At previous meetings with the management of the Science Fund, the researchers reached an informal agreement that such situations would not be repeated again, following a similar situation that occurred with the announcement of calls for Promise and Ideas, but also due to other objections to the work of the Fund.

According to the information available to us, our colleagues will request a postponement of the deadline for applying through various forums. MASA will strongly support these requests. In addition, MASA will point out, through domestic media and other public actions, the extremely unfavorable position in which the domestic scientific community found itself on this occasion.

If the budget deadlines are in question, they can be administratively overcome, but if it is a situation in which certain persons/organizations were in a privileged position of knowing in advance when the invitation will be announced and, therefore, able to immediately of these invitations obtain the necessary documentation along with pre-prepared projects, then this is a situation that speaks of systemic corruption and will be the subject of our organization's fundamental interest.

Bearing in mind the above, as well as the fact that it is about two calls, where a total of 28.5 million euros will be distributed, which will finance over 100 research teams that will gather more than a thousand researchers from Serbia, MASA demands that the application deadline moved to November 1, 2022, and that the decision to move the deadlines be made urgently, and certainly before the beginning of the annual vacations, which at NIO begin in the second half of July.