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The balance of international membership fees
The balance of international membership fees
21 April 2016
Modified: 25 April 2019
Reading time: 19 minute(s)
The budgets of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund allocate approximately HUF 3.3 billion (over EUR 10.5 million) for membership fees in international RDI organisations and access to research infrastructures in 2016, and a total of HUF 3.9 billion (EUR 12.6 million) in 2017.

The NRDI Office intends to monitor on an annual basis the benefits of membership in various organisations by looking at the achievements and expenditure in the specific R&D fields, and to ensure that the resulting public benefits are not only enjoyed by the beneficiaries but also by the wider researcher community, society and decision-makers competent in the funding of science.

Major areas of the memberships in international organisations financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office:

  • The professional cooperation programmes provide general and industry-specific opportunities for Hungarian researchers to participate in organised research projects and advanced training (such as biotechnology: ICGEB, EMBL), as well as research frameworks and funding for marketable innovative ideas (COST, EUREKA, AAL). Hungary spends a total of approximately HUF 128 million on such membership fees but in many cases these amounts are exceeded by the funds awarded directly to successful Hungarian participants through application. For instance, last year the COST programme granted EUR 600,000 for the networking of Hungarian researchers, compared to the annual membership fee of EUR 6,800.
  • For countries that are similar in size to Hungary, the costs of joining prominent research infrastructures is especially burdensome; we are going to spend more than HUF 3 billion on this in 2016. Indeed, it is very costly to ensure access for our researchers to experiments conducted in the world’s largest particle accelerator (CERN), the leading experimental fusion reactor (ITER) or the advanced x-ray laser laboratory in Hamburg (XFEL). However, this is essential to ensure Hungary remains in the forefront of international research and development in the fields of science concerned. We have joined the European Spallation Source (ESS), currently under construction, in a promising new financing scheme: 70% of the EUR 1.6 million membership fee paid during the investment will be spent on works, supplies and services ordered from Hungarian research institutions, SMEs and large enterprises. In other words, more than two-thirds of our payments will be reinvested in the Hungarian R&D sector, of which participating research institutions are already contracted for securing supplies in the value of more than HUF 4 billion in the coming years.
  • Organisations belonging to the third group provide support for sound national RDI policy and strategic planning by providing data, comprehensive statistics, analyses on global problems and possible answers that affect Hungary too, and by sharing best worldwide practices. Good examples of this include the vast data base of OECD and the analytical-synthesizing work of technical committees, or the TAFTIE membership which enables the representation of national interests in matters already in progress or under preparation through the exchange of experience between European innovation agencies. All this background information brings lots of practical and informal advantages along.



Total membership fees in 2016: approx. HUF 127.7 million

Organisation, programme
Objective, characteristic feature
Member since
Membership fee for 2016
Benefits of the membership
Professional programmes

European Cooperation in Science and Technology

  • harmonisation of technical and scientific basic research projects financed from national sources at a European level
  • supported by the European Commission and the Council of Europe, funded from the H2020 budget
  • actions coordinating the activity of national research institutions, universities and industrial businesses
  • action objectives are determined by the researchers themselves in the form of grassroots initiatives
  • the main criterion is scientific excellence
  • Hungarian participation in COST actions



EUR 6,783.87
(≈ HUF 2.1 million)


  • participation of Hungarian researchers in European research cooperation programmes: good opportunities for young researchers to get involved in international scientific life
  • access to the latest research findings: the findings of common research projects are generally freely accessible for participating countries
  • 493 Hungarian researchers participated in COST actions in 2015, 39% of whom were young researchers
  • in 2015 EUR 612,385 was spent on Hungary from the researcher networking budget
  • in 2015 Hungarian researchers were involved in 235 actions in the following fields: IT, transport, telecommunications, materials science, environmental protection, forestry and forest products, agricultural science and biotechnology, food technology, social sciences, medical research, general engineering, chemistry, meteorology, physics

European market oriented R&D cooperation


  • enhancing the global competitiveness of Europe through the coordination of industrial and technological research
  • projects are funded in the R&D stage preceding market entry
  • open toward all fields of technology ensuring wide scope for the applicants' innovative ideas
  • its flexible system is an excellent platform for bilateral or regional project activities
  • participants are mainly businesses, for-profit institutions, SMEs and research centres (universities and research institutions)
  • the EUROSTAT programme operating in the framework of the cooperation is specifically designed to support SMEs involved in R&d



EUR 34,000
(≈ HUF 10.5 million)


  • opportunity for SMEs to launch innovative projects in international consortia without any restriction on the topic
  • opportunity for joining leading research groups and consortia led by prominent European large companies
  • max. 30% of domestic funds provided to EUROSTARS projects is returned to Hungary in the form of EU co-financing
  • since joining the organisation Hungarian businesses and research institutions have participated in around 100 EUREKA projects
  • presently 36 EUREKA and 23 EUROSTARS projects are in progress with Hungarian participation
  • on average, the rate of successful applications is 30% for domestic EUREKA projects, and 20% for EUROSTARS projects with Hungarian involvement

Active and Assisted Living Programme


  • the aim is to assist the life of elderly people by developing info-communication devices and services
  • support of projects co-financed from EU sources and implemented in international consortia, creation of marketable products and services promoting the objectives of the programme



EUR 10,000
(≈ HUF 3.1 million)


  • available source for developing and marketing products and services in the given field
  • annual exhibition where new products and services are presented among others to potential investors (social insurers, venture capitalists)
  • the results of the programme, i.e. the new products and services, are potentially advantageous for all aging societies, including Hungary (social innovation)
  • since 2008, 38 Hungarian members have participated in 21 projects to develop marketable products and services in international consortia
  • 42-49% of the funds provided to Hungarian applicants have been financed from EU sources

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology


  • autonomous intergovernmental organisation
  • aims to make less industrialized countries able to use the latest achievements of biotechnology
  • biotechnological research projects take place in three well-equipped further training and research centres with the involvement of a few permanent and many fellow researchers
  • 64 member countries



40 300 USD
(≈ HUF 11 million)


  • Hungarian researchers can apply for grants annually for high-standard biotechnological research projects (Collaborative Research Programme, CRP) as well as for PhD and Post-doc fellowships
  • between 1988 and 2015 Hungarian research groups received a total funding of USD 1,442,400 for involvement in collaborative research projects (CRP)
  • between 1988 and 2015 26 Hungarian researchers received PhD and Post-doc grants in a value of altogether USD 634,642

European Molecular Biology Laboratory



  • interstate research organisation dealing with life sciences
  • its research performance is second to none among non-American institutions involved in genetics and molecular biology
  • it is a leader in integration of European life sciences research and takes part in seven research infrastructure projects in biology and medical science in the EU
  • (free) associate membership until 2017
  • 20 member countries



- from 2017 the fee of permanent membership is EUR 300,000
(≈ HUF 93 million)


  • opportunities for Hungarian researchers to take part in leading life sciences research projects
  • access for Hungarian researchers to the most advanced research infrastructures and services
  • training and further training opportunities in the framework of the EMBL International PhD Programme

The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics


  • non-profit international educational and scientific organisation
  • three specific fields: aeronautics and aerospace, environment and applied fluid dynamics, turbomachinery and propulsion
  • post-gradual training in fluid dynamics, extensive experimental, IT and theoretical research on gas and fluid flow, mainly financed by governmental and international agencies and industrial actors



26 000 EUR
(≈ HUF 8 million)


  • Hungarian researchers receive around EUR 200,000 scholarship grants every year
  • in academic year 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 respectively six and eight Hungarian researchers received grants from different departments of BME and ELTE in the fields of Aeronautics and Aerospace, Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics

Total membership fees in 2016: approx. HUF 3181.4 million

Organisation, programme
Objective, characteristic feature
Member since
Membership fee for 2016
Benefits of the membership

European Organization for Nuclear Research


  • the main profile is basic research in physics: to discover what the universe is made of and how it works
  • the largest particle physics laboratory in the world; half of particle researchers work in CERN projects globally
  • it studies subatomic particles with unique equipment: particle accelerators and detectors (accelerators greatly increase the energy of particle beams before letting them collide to each other or to fixed targets, while detectors detect and record collisions)
  • the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world



6 915 800 CHF
(≈ HUF 1,936 million)


  • access by Hungarian researchers to internationally unique and costly large research equipment
  • opportunities to make new discoveries in basic research in physics which can serve as the basis for later developments
  • every year around 80 Hungarian researchers participate in research projects in relation to various experiments (ALICE – 30 persons, CMS – 40 persons, ASACUSA – 3 persons, NA61 – 3 persons, TOTEM – 4 persons)
  • supply delivered by Hungarian industrial actors: total supply value reached CHF 1,710,000 in 2011, CHF 2,988,000 in 2012, CHF 5,140,000 in 2013, CHF 3,515,000 in 2014 and CHF 3,597,619 in 2015 (Hungary is a “well-balanced country” in terms of its membership fee proportionate share)
  • The number of Hungarian staff members in the CERN is high compared to its membership fee proportionate share (approx. 10 persons)
  • annually 4-5 Hungarian summer student receive scholarship grant, and 40-50 physics teacher takes part in study tours; the programmes of the visitor centre are still open
  • The Wigner Research Centre for Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is contracted to operate the CERN Tier-0 computer centre in the Wigner Data Centre until 2019
  • share in the scientific findings of the experiment
  • 30 researchers participate in it

CERN LHC ALICE experiment
A Large Ion Collider Experiment

  • ALICE a heavy-ion detector experiment on the Large Hadron Collider ring
  • it is focusing on the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities where a new state of matter, namely the quark–gluon plasma (QGP) appears

1989 and 2000


55 000 CHF
(≈ HUF 15.4 million)


  • share in the scientific findings of the experiment
  • 30 researchers participate in it

CERN LHC CMS experiment
Compact Muon Solenoid

  • CMS is a general-purpose detector on the LHC ring
  • the wide scope of its physics programme ranges from the Standard Model (including the Higgs boson) to studying the extra dimensions and particles thought to constitute the dark matter

1990 and 2000


110 000 CHF
(≈ HUF 30.8 million)


  • share in the scientific findings of the experiment
  • 40 researchers participate in it

European XFEL
European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility

European XFEL

  • pending investment in international research infrastructure
  • when completed, it will become Europe's first and the world's largest hard X-ray free-electron laser
  • business company in the DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchroton) research centre
  • its membership entitles Hungary to 1% share in the company



2 200 000 EUR
(≈ HUF 682 million)


  • the future access by Hungarian researchers to internationally competitive and costly large research equipment
  • measurements and experiments can be performed to the extent of the beam time provided by the membership
  • potential new findings in the fields of molecular biology, genomics, medical diagnostics, therapeutic applications, nanotechnology and related materials science etc.
  • efforts toward in-kind contributions; no specific supplier has been found yet
  • industrial supplies for operative purposes (future opportunity)

European Spallation Source



  • one of the largest pending research infrastructure investment of the EU
  • large energy particle accelerator; when completed, it will be the world's largest spallation source of its kind
  • parts of the facility will operate in 2023 but its full capacity will be reached in 2028



1 640 000 EUR
(≈ HUF 508.5 million)

  • future access by Hungarian researchers to internationally competitive and costly large research equipment
  • the membership fee currently covers building costs as well, 70% of which is returned to domestic suppliers in the form of supply orders
  • involvement of three Hungarian research institutions (Wigner Research Centre for Physics – HAS, Energy Research Centre – HAS, Atomki – HAS) and many innovative businesses
  • moral and financial benefits for the domestic R&D sector
  • economic boost for Hungary (capacity expansion, job creation)

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor


  • large-scale research infrastructure aimed at conducting fusion experiments for commercial purposes
  • 7 funding partners: EU, South Korea, China, USA, Japan, India and Russia
  • Hungary is part of the cooperation by means of its EU/EURATOM membership



28 000 EUR
(≈ HUF 8.7 million)


  • access by Hungarian researchers to internationally competitive and costly large research equipment
  • potential new findings in the theory and application of nuclear physics
  • research grants and opportunities for industrial supply
  • opportunity to provide industrial supplies in the F4E tenders of the EU membership coordinator
  • in 2011-13 many Hungarian institutions received funding for their projects from F4E, raking Hungary fifth in received funding and eighth in the number of applications. Further applications are pending evaluation; Hungarian institutions are expected to play an important role in ITER diagnostics developments (measurement technology)
  • Hungary is placed well among member countries in winning research scholarship grants

Total membership fees in 2016: approx. HUF 7.8 million

Organisation, programme
Objective, characteristic feature
Member since
Membership fee for 2016
Benefits of the membership
Organisations providing help in making RDI-policies and strategic planning

GSF GLobal Science Forum


  • OECD aims to help member states make the best possible economic and social policies
  • it pursues analytical and research activities in the field of economic policy and social sciences at its forums and working organisations
  • the Global Science Forum (GSF) focuses on international scientific and technological cooperation
  • consultation forum for leading representatives of scientific policy-making
  • prepares draft action plans in priority scientific policy issues
  • identifies significant opportunities for scientific cooperation



2000 EUR
(≈ HUF 0.6 million)


  • access to information (statistics, analyses) essential for planning national policies and strategies
  • benefits of the conventional public confidence toward members (e.g. in the international money market: comparable and stable standards of evaluation)
  • participation in specialised committees (scientific, technological, industrial and innovation policy related international trends, best practices, research and analysis of plans for the future)

Science Europe

Science Europe

  • association of European research performing and research funding organisations
  • strengthens the European Research Area (ERA) through the European Commission and Member States and relying on the active participation of the scientific community
  • ministerial level consultation forum aimed at ensuring that publically financed national research and innovation brings the greatest possible economic and social benefit for Europe



5000 EUR
(≈ HUF 1.5 million)

  • representation of the interests of Hungarian researchers and basic research projects in the standing committees in various fields of science (Social Sciences, Humanities (!), Physical Sciences, Engineering)
  • representation of the interests of Hungarian researchers and basic research projects in thematic working groups (Open Access, Cross-Border Collaboration, Research Policy and Programme Evaluation, Research Integrity)
  • lobbying for the creation of a European R&D policy (EC)

The European Network of Innovation Agencies


  • cooperation of European institutions managing national RDI programmes in technology
  • exchange of experiences and best practices (management of governmental tasks and subsidy programmes, further development of innovation services)



10 000 EUR
(≈ HUF 3.1 million)


  • interest representation at European level in running and planned RDI projects
  • opportunity to participate in the ad-hoc working groups (State Aid, Benchmarking Impact, Effectiveness and Efficiency of Policy Instruments Implemented by Innovation Agencies, Competence Centres, Project Selection Procedures)
  • information for strategic RDI plans
  • learning about current issues and trends, assisting domestic preparation, training programmes

European Science Foundation


  • non-profit organisation for the promotion of cooperation in European research and development



8500 EUR
(≈ HUF 2.6 million)


  • own programmes for funding basic research projects
  • Hungarian participation in EUROCORES (European Collaborative Research) basic research projects
  • its coordination role has been taken over by Science Europe, so the NRDI Office will terminate its membership after 2016

Updated: 25 April 2019
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