Presenting the innovation cooperation between MIT and Hungary, University of Debrecen and GE, László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology told to a press conference in Budapest on Monday: they try to achieve that advanced technology is not only manufactured but also developed in Hungary, in which Hungarian higher education institutions play a central role.
As he said, University of Debrecen and GE Healthcare participate together in the MIT LinQ Catalyst programme, conducting research in health science and the health industry. The university will employ PhD students who will also be the researchers of MIT, he added.
In addition to providing financial and environmental support, facilitating research and promoting knowledge and technology transfer, the Hungarian government also supports the transformation of ideas into operating companies, he said, noting that the project period is ten years.
László Palkovics also mentioned that the collaboration currently focuses on health research but the parties are already negotiating on extending cooperation to climate and energy technology, autonomous machines and laser physics research.
Endre Ascsillán, Vice-President at GE Hungary highlighted to the press conference that openness and innovation is very important for GE. The Vice-President called the agreement a milestone for the Hungarian innovation ecosystem as it sets the framework of establishing two centres of the Boston-based university in Debrecen, Hungary, which will retain the most talented young people in the country.
He was convinced: the agreement will allow the creation of high value innovation in the country and the coordination of responses to global challenges from the centres.
In response to a question, the Vice-President said the research programme consisted of three phases: the first one identifies the problem and the scope of research, the second one is the implementation of research, and the third one is the period when the research “matures” to a product or service. For now, the project is foreseen to have 15 research group leaders.
Zoltán Szilvássy, Rector of the University of Debrecen, explained that the university has created a vertical innovation system which helps to take ideas from research to production and which is also home to the largest health care system in the country, so it will be an ideal place for health research.
As he said, it is a great honour for the University of Debrecen to be part of a system that is able to attract outstanding talents, who are key to innovation, under the aegis of MIT, and which would later be an increasingly important centre for innovation in Europe, with the support of the government.
According to the background material provided for the press conference, the LinQ Catalyst programme has been running for seven years at MIT, the world’s leading university in engineering, with the aim of creating health research projects. 88 research groups are working in 31 institutions in the programme.
LinQ Catalyst will start running in Europe in 2020, cofunded by the European Union and EIT Health; GE Healthcare is an industry partner of MIT.
According to the February agreement, Hungary has been promoted to the “champion” status for one year, which enables it to shape the focus of innovation.