Under the programme, a call entitled ‘Support for Innovation Projects in Focus Areas’ will be launched which will be open mainly to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and research institutes. Applications are particularly welcome in the areas of digital transformation of the economy, the health sector and green transformation, the State Secretary said. Balázs Hankó noted that Hungary is not doing bad, having moved up a category according to new innovation data from this summer. “Hungary has gone from being an emerging innovator to a European innovator, which means that the Hungarian innovation ecosystem has reached the European average level of innovation”, he pointed out. The State Secretary stressed that the call will bring together economic operators, universities and research centres. They want to see the development of products and services that are protected by patents and generate revenue.
Hungarian innovation needs to move forward in three areas; we need more R&D staff, we need to double the number of patents, and SMEs need to implement more innovation in our projects, and they are planning to double in this area too, he explained.
László Bódis, Deputy State Secretary for Innovation at KIM, said that in 2014, 12 percent of domestic enterprises were engaged in product development and innovation, rising to more than 20 percent by 2020. He added, however, that the European average is over 40 percent, pointing out also that patent applications are filed by 2.5 percent of Hungarian medium-sized enterprises in a year, while in Poland and in Czechia this rate is 4.5 and over 7 percent, respectively. 11% of innovative enterprises in Hungary cooperate with universities, and they would like to increase this percentage further through the call, said László Bódis.
Ádám Kiss, President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDI Office) said that SMEs with annual revenues of HUF 300 million and more than 15 employees can apply, either individually or in a consortium, for one of the components of the competition. The other component is open to consortia that are expected to be led by SMEs. 20 % of the members in such consortia are required to be universities and research institutes, and large companies are allowed to join up to a rate of 35%. Speaking about funding, Ádám Kiss said that applicants can receive a maximum advance of 30 percent, and the implementation period is usually 24 months, during which 85 percent of the total amount of the grant is paid. A 15 percent share of the funding is withheld to encourage applicants to implement their commitments made during the maintenance period.
Speaking at the press conference, Charaf Hassan, Dean of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), listed the promotion of close cooperation between companies and universities as an important part of the competition. Miklós Berzsenyi, Managing Director of Controlsoft Automatika Kft. stressed that the industry welcomes the opportunity to apply. As he put it: it is in difficult times that you really need to invest and innovate, and you can win twice as much if you make developments at such a time. (MTI)