Winners of the “Frontline” – Research Excellence Programme (KKP_17), announced with a total budget of HUF 3 billion (EUR 9.8 million) for the period 2018–2022, can spend up to HUF 300 million (HUF 60 million i.e. EUR 0.2 million annually) on creating or expanding their research group and implementing a promising discovery research project in Hungary.
The NRDI Office has developed a comprehensive system of competitive calls to promote research, development and innovation with a total budget of HUF 853.5 billion (EUR 2.8 billion) for the period between 2015 and 2017. The total budget of calls announced in this period for facilitating discovery research projects neared HUF 40 billion (EUR 130 million).
Speaking about the new, recently announced call designed to promote top discovery researchers József Pálinkás, President of the NRDI Office said: “World-class researchers in their most dynamic and creative career phases pioneering their field of science in the forefront of international scientific research play a strategic role in enabling Hungary to catch up with the developed countries. The quality of the discovery research projects at domestic scientific centres determines the ideas and technologies professionals studying and working there can use to get involved in innovation processes and the way they can contribute to the development of genuine know-how and solutions that go beyond the simple application of cutting-edge technology invented in other countries, and to the novelty content of the added intellectual property.”
The funding of nearly EUR 1 million per winning applicants for a period of five years offers a viable alternative to international funding programmes. Every year 10 to 12 researchers are expected to win the grant, those who have demonstrated with sound scientific results that they belong to the global forefront in their respective fields of science. The grant is awarded for a period of five years. After the expiry of this period earlier winners will also have to reapply in an open competition with applicants belonging to the forefront at that point of time.
The “Frontline” call is only open to basic research projects without thematic restrictions provided that the applicant’s professional CV and research plan meet the requirements set out in the call. The total budget earmarked for the KKP_17 call for 2018–2022 is HUF 3 billion (EUR 9.8 million), including HUF 600 million (EUR 1.9 million) to be disbursed in 2018.
In the domestic system of discovery research funding the NRDI Office has established an interconnected system of calls ranging from the promotion of researchers just about to start their career to the support of independent research groups. In addition to calls open to the wider researcher community there are excellence programmes in place to enhance the competitiveness of cutting-edge research projects.
Young researchers at the beginning of their careers are fostered by the postdoctoral programme followed by the young researchers’ programme to enable more independent careers. Researchers with a solid research background are supported under the Researchers' Thematic Applications Programme. The call for thematic international research applications promote basic research projects implemented in international cooperation.
Excellence programmes include programmes promoting access to ERC calls. These run parallel to the call titled “Funding for research groups with significant achievements having an international impact” (KH_17) which is open to research groups achieving a citation index accounting for the top 5% in the given field of science within two years from the date of publication.
The recently announced “Frontline” call aims to increase the number of research groups producing internationally competitive results and to provide them with funding in a sustainable way. The most important long-term goal of the call is to further increase the success rate of the funded research groups at the competitive calls announced by the European Research Council (ERC). Currently, there are around 120 to 150 top performing researchers (and related research groups) in Hungary who regularly achieve major results with global scientific, economic or social impact. Among researchers qualifying as best performers in Hungary by international standards, there are around 60 Hungarian scientists who were selected for funding at globally open ERC calls (awarding EUR 1 to 2.5 million in funding to each winning applicant for a period of five years) and pursued a scientific career in Hungary.
Excellent domestic researchers can also enter the international competition for funds to finance the establishment of new centres of excellence. Hungary was the most successful participating country in the Teaming action, the most prestigious cooperation call of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The two winning Hungarian consortia of excellent national and international partners, coordinated by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, have been awarded EUR 26 million altogether for creating new centres of excellence.
National Research, Development and Innovation Office
The National Research, Development and Innovation Office, which is responsible for the appropriate, efficient and transparent utilisation of domestic RDI funds, developed a uniform system of competitive calls in 2015 for the coordinated, appropriate and value-creating utilisation of EU development funds provided for RDI purposes and the domestic sources provided from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund). The coordinated calls in the portfolio incentivise scientific research projects, business developments and the implementation of innovative ideas alike. The Office is responsible for providing professional background to RDI projects funded from EU sources – Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme (EDIOP) and Competitive Central-Hungary Operational Programme (CCHOP) – and for preparing the concept of calls for applications from an RDI policy perspective. The total funding available for research, development and innovation until 2020 is HUF 1,200 billion, provided from EU and domestic sources in the framework of calls announced in cooperation with the NRDI Office.