Accommodation was arranged for me at a guest-house of the Academy, located in the old Castle District of the city, though when we got to the designated address my taxi driver didn’t believe it could be right, as it looked like an ordinary house or apartment building, albeit dating from the 18th century. Luckily, a tiny sign beside the imposing solid wooden door read, ‘MTA Vendégház’, confirming that we were at the right place. Once inside, the welcome was friendly, facilities were fine, and all was well.
Next day our EAB meeting took place at the building that houses the Institute of Economics, a truly horrible concrete edifice whose sole redeeming feature is that once inside, it affords – at least when looking west – lovely views of the southern end of the Buda Hills. We were there to assess the Institute’s annual report for 2009 and to offer advice on its research strategy, but naturally I cannot comment on such things here since our formal business is confidential between the Academy, the EAB itself, and the Institute. However, I can say that the quality of the Institute’s work, and its leading researchers, bears no relation to the quality of their building; they do lots of quite outstanding research and many researchers at the institute have well established international profiles. Given that, it is always a pleasure to visit the Institute, and it was nice, while there, to encounter several researchers I know well from previous visits.
Just like universities in the