Focus on businesses and practical application
As in the past two years, substantial funds are available for businesses from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund in 2018, totalling at HUF 30 billion (EUR 98 million). Two other funding schemes with a total budget of HUF 31 billion (EUR 101.5 million) aim to stimulate research-industry cooperation to ensure that research results end up in innovative marketable products and technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, protein research and clean water.
“We devote particular attention to the innovation activities of Hungarian micro, small and medium enterprises. Based on past years’ experience, this year we facilitate their innovation activities with two funding schemes so that they can quickly enter the growth phase. In 2018 a total of HUF 10 billion (over EUR 32.5 million) in funding is specifically dedicated to them. On the other hand, Hungarian researchers are at the international forefront in several fields, and their achievements can turn into widely used solutions if they cooperate with businesses. Such cooperation is also encouraged with significant domestic funds” said József Pálinkás, President of the NRDI Office in relation to the announcement of the new calls.
The two new NRDI Fund calls focusing on businesses promote the development, market entry and intellectual property protection of quickly marketable, innovative products, services and procedures in the Central Hungary region. As a novelty, one-third of the HUF 30 billion budget is earmarked for micro and small businesses. These calls are open exclusively to businesses in Budapest and Pest county, as in the rest of the country (in the so-called less developed regions) altogether HUF 117 billion (EUR 383.5 million) in EU funding was made available to businesses for independent RDI activities in the past two years under the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme (GINOP).
The NRDI Office also announces calls for proposals to stimulate R&D activities in scientific and professional fields of strategic importance. These calls provide funding to the most competitive research centres in Hungary for analysing and developing solutions for complex socio-economic challenges which can only be resolved through effective cooperation between researchers and the business sector. Such long-term sustainable cooperation projects are facilitated by the two new funding schemes which are the continuation of the similar calls announced in 2017 (NKP_17 and VKE_17).
This time the calls were announced earlier than in previous years to improve the predictability of financing. Project proposals are assessed by anonymous peers against the criteria indicated in the calls, with the involvement of expert panels. The funding decisions will be made in the summer, so the funded projects are expected to start in the second half of 2018.