Labor & Education

Hungarian government focuses on education and innovation

Thanks to the measures introduced in recent years, students attending higher education institutions are able to acquire knowledge that is internationally competitive.

During his year-launching press conference in Budapest on Tuesday, László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology, said that thanks to the measures introduced in recent years, students attending higher education institutions are able to acquire knowledge that is internationally competitive.

The minister stressed that the Hungarian government is a partner to all students. “We would like young people to develop their talents to their fullest, to find their personal path to the world of work, and to be useful members of Hungarian society, the Hungarian economy or Hungarian science,” he said.

“Hungary counts as a moderate innovator within the EU according to the European Commission’s evaluation, but in 2018 Hungary spent twice as much on innovation as it did in 2010,” the minister emphasized. “This year, the government is spending an additional HUF 32 billion (EUR 97 million) on innovation than it did in 2018, an increase of 25 percent,” he added.

Minister Palkovics said the reorganization of the institutional support system for innovation has begun, and awarding funding to possible applicants is the task of designated institutes, adding that decisions on the awarding of a total of HUF 85 billion (EUR 257 million) in funding were made last year, which he called a significant sum.

The minister stressed that a new era of innovation has begun within the Hungarian economy, research and higher education alike.

The National Science Policy Council was established at the beginning of this year, and is a body that is directly responsible to the Prime Minister. The Council will be holding its first session in mid-February, at which the adoption of the National Innovation Strategy will also be discussed. 

Additionally, the minister outlined a new structure for funding tenders, with all funding being handled by the National Fund for Research, Development and Innovation. The Eötvös Loránd Research Network has also been established, parallel to the Bay Zoltán National Applied Research Institute Network.

The Hungarian government has also established a molecular research institute and a molecular biology research institute.

Minister Palkovics spoke about the fact that universities represent the foundations of the innovation ecosystem, and several universities have been awarded funding during the course of competence center tenders. 

The minister added that a research center or higher education system does not exist on its own, and making them international is a major task. Five pilot programs are currently underway at five Hungarian universities in the interests of this initiative. 

According to the minister, the Hungarian economy grew by 4.9 percent in 2019 based on preliminary figures, which is one of the highest rates of economic growth in the European Union. The ratio of high-tech within industry is some 70 percent, and Hungary’s economic performance is partly thanks to this, he said.

“The government is working to assure that Hungary is one of the winners of the 21st century, to which economic development is vital, and the engine of economic development is innovation,” the minister concluded.

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