Carlos Moedas arrived to attend a conference at the European Innovation and Technology Institute in Budapest where he also met József Pálinkás, President of the NRDI Office. His visit was made particularly relevant by the second country visit of the Peer Review, performed just a week before by a group of independent experts who are evaluating Hungary’s RDI resources within the framework of the Policy Support Facility under Horizon 2020. The full Peer Review will be completed by June 2016, and the presentation is planned to be attended by Director-General Robert Jan Smits of DG for Research & Innovation. Giving an account on the recent steps of the process, the President of the NRDI Office expressed his conviction that the recommendations to be included in the report will largely contribute to the fine-tuning of the reform of Hungary’s research, development and innovation system.
Upon his appointment as a commissioner, Carlos Moedas gave strategic priority in his programme to open innovation and open science, two topics that were also discussed at the meeting. Through the free flow of new information and open access to knowledge, the results of publicly funded researches will bring more social and economic benefits, therefore Hungary advocates for a soonest possible implementation, and József Pálinkás availed the opportunity to reiterate the country’s position on this matter. This progressive step could dramatically accelerate the development of scientific research and facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations. Open innovation aims to bring together as many as possible stakeholders (researchers, businesses, users, the governmental and the NGO sectors) to work together from initial experiments to the development and commercialization of prototypes, by way of mutual exchange of ideas.
The NRDI Office is making utmost efforts to drive the participation of Hungary, as much as possible, in the dissemination of excellence under the projects of Horizon 2020 Teaming, ERA Chairs and Twinning programmes. In the first stage of the Teaming call, three Hungarian consortia were awarded a total of EUR 1.3 million funding, making Hungary one of the most successful participants of this programme with a success rate of 33.3 percent. With the coordination of the NRDI Office, a successful project proposal was submitted by EPIC (Centre of Excellence in Production Informatics and Control) in cooperation with MTA SZTAKI, the Budapest University of Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute. MOLMEDEX (Creating the Hungarian Centre of Excellence for Molecular Medicine) project, developed in cooperation with the University of Szeged, the University of Debrecen, Semmelweis University, the Szeged Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), was also awarded funding. The third winning project proposal called “Smartpolis”, was submitted, with the coordination of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Fraunhofer Fokus Research Institute and the Urban Software Institute.
József Pálinkás also shared with Carlos Moedas his concern about the unfavorable cost accounting rules introduced under the Horizon 2020 programme which hinders Hungarian universities and research institutes financed from budgetary funds to offer competitive remuneration to researchers participating in awarded projects. According to the President of the NRDI Office, a solution to address the issue could be the introduction of a ceiling on personnel costs rather than restricting project-based wage increase.