The new competence center will, in fact, be located partly in Nagykanizsa and partly in Veszprém, under the leadership of the University of Pannon with the support of MOL Group, Hidrofilt Kft., Bay Zoltán Applied Research Centre, Nagykanizsa City Development Centre and Netta-Pannonia Kft.
The center will deal with renewable energy, waste management and water technology, as well as sustainable tourism and sustainable urban development, via some 50 research sub-projects.
Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics spoke about the establishment of the competence center for a circular economy in Nagykanizsa. It will receive support of about HUF 5 billion, while the next level of university-company cooperation will be the development of a science and innovation park, which will receive HUF 38 billion from the European Union.
The Minister explained that the goal is to create a university-centered innovation ecosystem in Hungary so that internationally competitive, domestically owned enterprises can be established and further developed.
The government intends to strengthen research centers outside of Budapest by providing EUR 51 billion in the next budget cycle from EU funds, Palkovics said, calling the amount “unprecedented.”
Zoltán Birkner, President of the National Office for Research, Development and Innovation, noted that their goal is the creation and linking of knowledge based on the university network and the companies that work with them. There is a HUF 148 billion fund to achieve this; the number of applicants has multiplied in recent years, with 750 new businesses submitting applications this year alone.
Zsolt Hernádi, President and CEO of MOL, said that the company’s new strategy, formulated almost five years ago, is to open up to new industries and innovative technologies. He recalled that one of the biggest challenges is what to do with waste. Hungary currently reuses only a third of its waste, but the manufacturing sector is developing rapidly. MOL aims to be a lead actor in creating an applicable knowledge base that will make Hungary the leading recycler in Central Europe.
András Gelencsér, the rector of the University of Pannon, said that Nagykanizsa is an ideal location for the development because it has all the knowledge and decades of collaborations needed for such a project.