MOL and the University of Pannon will establish the Circular Economy Science and Innovation Park in Nagykanizsa. The research and development center will be looking for answers to the most important questions related to the circular economy, that is, how much of all products produced is recycled and how much we can reuse in some form.
This is the best way to protect our environment, which is why MOL wants to be a regional leader in the field. Oszkár Világi, Managing Director of Innovative Businesses and Services at MOL Group, told a local paper that the center seeks to be at the forefront of international standards. In addition to circular waste management, the main areas of research will be renewable energy, such as the hydrogen economy, battery recycling, carbon recovery and sustainable water management — all the biggest challenges faced today. The center will look for ways to reduce environmental impact and how to preserve valuable resources for future generations.
The expert also spoke about the fact that, unfortunately, there has been no such type of cooperation in Hungary in recent decades. In the West, however, science parks have been around for decades. MOL believes in these collaborations, which is why we are pleased that the government is supporting the creation of domestic science parks, he said.
Regarding the source of the investment, Világi said that the HUF 30 billion investment will be implemented from state resources, although MOL will also contribute. In addition to its own knowledge sharing, MOL’s task is to help the center with its industrial and economic knowledge and management approach. We hope that we will successfully apply for the R&D resources available in the 2021-27 EU application cycle as well, he said.
According to the expert, the knowledge park will start working mainly with domestic and regional researchers; however, an international team of students from different elite universities around the world will emerge over time. The center will be open to other corporate partners, as well as partnerships with other universities and research centers.
The primary goal is to lay the foundations for an independent knowledge center that will be able to make significant improvements in the long run, Világi said. An example of this is the MSc degree in Circularity in Engineering, which will be launched this year in English and is actually one of the results of this collaboration. In the medium and long term, we hope that this partnership will enable us to achieve the goals of MOL’s strategy for 2030 and beyond and to successfully complete the energy transition. The science park will be the center of the company’s innovation activities and the first visible realization of the transformation we’re undertaking, the director said.
Work is already underway on the university’s current infrastructure and research base, and we are expected to hand over the institution’s new buildings in 2024, Világi concluded.