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Dr. Zoltán Birkner
Dr. Zoltán Birkner
24 July 2018
Modified: 05 October 2022
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Dr. Zoltán Birkner, President

Pursuant to Prime Minister's Resolution 101/2018. (VII. 23.), Zoltán Birkner was appointed to be the President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, as from 1 July 2018 for a term of 5 years. Supervised by László Palkovics, Minister of Innovation and Technology, the President participates in the renewal of the Hungarian innovation system, manages the elaboration of calls, programmes, investigations and strategic documents related to the development of the ecosystem. On an annual basis, he reports to the National Assembly on the activities of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and on the utilisation of the appropriations of the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund.

Dr. Zoltán Birkner’s professional career includes thorough experience in higher education as a lecturer and education organiser, in scientific life as a researcher of innovation management, and in business sector as a manager dealing with organisational and business development and industrial research and development projects. Upon his personal initiative, the Soós Ernő Water Technology Research and Development Centre was established in 2014, which he supervised until 2018.

He is member of the National Science Policy Council, a supporting body of the Government's research and innovation efforts, and member of the Economy Protection Operational Group, an organisation established to mitigate and prevent detrimental effects of the global coronavirus pandemic on the national economy.

He is Chair of the Growth Investment Committee of the Hiventures VC company, that makes funding decisions to support innovative businesses with high potential of fast growth.


Higher education

  • 1998: College of Finance and Accountancy, Budapest – economist in finance
  • 1994: Faculty of Humanities, Kossuth Lajos University – teacher of history and geography

Academic degree

  • 2021: Habilitation – Management Sciences and Business Administration, University of Pannonia – Theses: Regional and sectoral dimensions of innovation
  • 2010: PhD – Doctoral School of Management Sciences and Business Administration, University of Pannonia – Thesis: Is innovation the engine of success also in Zala county?

Professional experience

  • from 1 July 2018: President – National Research, Development and Innovation Office
  • 2008–2018: Head of Campus – Nagykanizsa Campus, University of Pannonia 
  • 2015–2016: organisational development manager & innovation consultant – Hidrofilt Kft.
  • 2014–2018: Head of Research Centre – Soós Ernő Water Technology Research and Development Centre, University of Pannonia
  • from 2010: Associate Professor – University of Pannonia
  • 2001–2008: Acting Head of Campus – Nagykanizsa Campus, University of Pannonia
  • 1994–2001: secondary school teacher – Batthyány Lajos Grammar School, Nagykanizsa

Public activities, membership in professional organisations

  • Circular Economic Technology Platform (KGTP), Chair
  • National Science Policy Council, member
  • Economy Protection Operational Group, member
  • National Laboratories Supervisory Board, member
  • Growth Investment Committee, Hiventures, Chair
  • Hungarian Innovation Grand Prix jury, member
  • Science and Innovation Young Talent Contest jury, Co-chair
  • Scientia et Securitas online periodical, Editorial Board member
  • Hungarian Economic Association, Nagykanizsa local organisation, Board member
  • MTA VEAB Communications Working Committee, member, former secretary

Prizes and awards

  • 2021: National Council of Student Research Societies, Golden Insignia
  • 2020: Méray László Prize – University of Pannonia
  • 2019: Szent György Memorial Meda
  • 2018: Knight's Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit
  • 2013: Harsányi János Prize – Faculty of Economics, University of Pannonia
  • 2011: Harsányi István PhD Prize – Hungarian Association for Innovation
  • 2009: Hungarian Education Memorial Award – Ministry of Education and Culture
  • 2009: Pro Universitate Pannonica Grand Silver Merit Award – University of Pannonia
  • 2007: VEAB Memorial Award – Veszprém Regional Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA VEAB)
  • 2004: Honourable mention by the Rector – University of Pannonia
  • 1988: Junior Geographer Prize (1st place of the National Secondary School Academic Competition in Geography)

Language skills

  • English – conversational
  • German – conversational

Top 10 publications

    • László Berényi, Nikolett Deutsch, Bernadett Szolnoki, Zoltán Birkner: Perception of e-Learning Among Hungarian Engineering Students, ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF E-LEARNING 19: (5) pp. 376-387, 2021
    • Csalódi Róbert, Birkner Zoltán, Abonyi János: Learning Interpretable Mixture of Weibull Distributions—Exploratory Analysis of How Economic Development Influences the Incidence of COVID-19 Deaths, DATA 6: (12) p. 125, 2021
    • Németh K, Birkner Z, Katona A, Göllény-Kovács N, Bai A, Balogh P, Gabnai Z, Péter E: Can energy be a “local product” again?, SUSTAINABILITY 12: (3) 1118, 2020
    • Pintér Gábor, Zsiborács Henrik, Hegedűsné Baranyai Nóra, Vincze András, Birkner Zoltán: The Economic and Geographical Aspects of the Status of Small-Scale Photovoltaic Systems in Hungary—A Case Study, ENERGIES 13: (13) p. 3489, 2019
    • Zsiborács Henrik, Baranyai Nóra Hegedűsné, Vincze András, Zentkó László, Birkner Zoltán, Máté Kinga, Pintér Gábor: Intermittent Renewable Energy Sources: The Role of Energy Storage in the European Power System of 2040, ELECTRONICS 8: (7) 729, 2018
    • Marton Zsuzsanna, Birkner Zoltán, Keller Krisztina, Berkesné Rodek Nóra: A turizmusbiztonságban rejlő marketing és menedzsment implikációk, TURIZMUS BULLETIN 18: (2) pp. 12-20, 2017
    • Berkesné Rodek Nóra, Birkner Zoltán, Ernszt Ildikó: Köldökzsinór, Felsőbbfokú Tanulmányok Intézete, 2017
    • Birkner Zoltán, Máhr Tivadar, Berkes Rodek Nóra: Changes in Responsibilities and Tasks of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems, NASE GOSPODARSTVO / OUR ECONOMY 63: (2) pp. 15-21, 2016
    • Birkner Zoltán, Máhr Tivadar: Interpreting innovation – in another way, VEZETÉSTUDOMÁNY 47: (10) pp. 39-50, 2016
    • Kaszás Nikoletta, Keller Krisztina, Birkner Zoltán: The Role of Transferring Knowledge in Case of Non- Business Sector Projects, PROCEDIA - SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES 221: pp. 226-235, 2016

      Personal data

      • Date of birth: 9 August 1971
      • Marital status: married, father of two children
      Updated: 05 October 2022
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