Research and development

Research and innovation in Hungary

Hungary has always been proud of its outstanding researchers, inventors and innovators. Hungarian creativity is indeed a treasure that has been reflected through our past and present. It is generally acknowledged that the latest generations of Hungarian talent, scientists, inventors and innovators are the key to our future.

With that in mind, the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office was launched as of 1 January 2015 to promote value creating innovation, in strong partnership with the researcher and innovation community. The NRDI Office is the national strategic and funding agency for scientific research, development and innovation, the primary source of advice on RDI policy for the Hungarian government.

The RDI law (Act2014/LXXVI on scientific research, development and innovation) not only established the NRDI Office as a framework institution but also provided for the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund) to render state support for research, development and innovation.

Launching the NRDI Office also aims the efficient, transparent and purpose-oriented use of all available RDI resources i.e. both the domestic funds from the NRDI Fund and the funds provided from the European Union’s Structural Funds. In order to ensure access to the latter, Hungary developed its National Smart Specialisation Strategy in 2014. These funds all have to serve the scientific and economic competitiveness of Hungary, the effective involvement of our country in the forefront European Research Area, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

In order to enable the most efficient possible integration of European best practices into the National Innovation System and to facilitate Hungary's most successful possible participation in the European Research Area, the President of the NRDI Office seeks strategic advice from international experts who are not only world-class scientists in their respective field of expertise, but also have broad experience in science policy and research financing.

The scope of activities and responsibilities of the NRDI Office include the following areas:

Competitive calls for RDI project proposals

  • stimulating the implementation of well-designed R&D project plans and promising R&D programmes,
  • the harmonisation of applicants’ aims, strategic development directions and the institutional/organisational development ideas, and
  • the preparation of solid budget plans that promote the successful and sustainable utilisation of R&D funds.

Researchers’ thematic applications

Funding discovery research projects without thematic priorities

  • funding promising basic research projects initiated by researchers with an aim to get a better understanding of natural and social phenomena, potentially resulting in the foundation of new methods and/or procedures
  • strengthening workshops of scientific excellence through postdoctoral fellowship programmes for early career researchers

Research infrastructure

Providing appropriate tools and equipment for domestic research organisations

  • strengthening the R&D capacity of state-operated knowledge centres of strategic importance
  • development of research infrastructures with a view to build networks, supplementing regional research opportunities and leveraging existing infrastructures

Corporate RDI

Incentives for large enterprises, SMEs and innovative startup businesses to achieve their R&D objectives

  • development of new marketable products, services and technologies with added value
  • prototype development
  • industrial property rights
  • procurement of RDI services
  • creation of startup incubator houses

Knowledge transfer

Supporting the commercialisation of scientific results

  • building cooperation with an aim to solve complex multi-disciplinary tasks with strategic importance
  • establish the research infrastructure for industrial development projects which are based on actual market needs, in cooperation with excellent research institutions in the specific field;
  • development of the domestic research infrastructure in the form of cooperation between the industrial and higher education sectors, where the created RDI capacity generates new competitive products and service.

International cooperation

Improving the competitiveness and ability to benefit from international funds of SMEs

  • joining co-financed international cooperation
  • promotion of consortium building activities
  • supporting bilateral scientific and technological cooperation primarily through calls promoting project based cooperation
  • supporting Hungarian discovery research projects ranked among the best but ultimately not selected for funding by the European Research Council (ERC)

source: National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office 

The Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) has been the major funding agency of basic science and scholarship since 1986 when the transition to competitive research funding started in Hungary. Its "founding fathers" modelled the principles of operation on the practice of German (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and American research funds (National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health). Upon a government decree, OTKA has been operating as an independent non-profit organisation since 1991. Its legal status and rules of operation were established in an act in 1993 and reinforced in 1997 by the Hungarian Parliament in order to provide independent support to scientific research activities and infrastructure, to promote scientific achievements of international standards, and to provide assistance to young researchers. As an independent institution, OTKA reports to the Parliament and the Government of Hungary. With regards to the funds provided within the annual budget of the Republic of Hungary, the appropriations of OTKA are administered via the budget of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The administrative and financial tasks related to its operation are performed by the OTKA Office in Budapest.

source: OTKA