Balázs Hankó recalled that the Government has set the goal for Hungary to be among the top 25 countries in the world in terms of innovation by 2030, and among the top 10 countries in Europe, and the John von Neumann Programme was adopted to achieve this. The programme has launched a call for proposals for Focus Area Innovation Projects, which is mainly open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and research institutes. Innovation project proposals are particularly welcome in the areas of digital transformation, health and green transition, he said.
Balázs Hankó stressed that Hungary has moved up a category according to the summer data: from emerging innovator to moderate innovator, which means that the Hungarian innovation ecosystem has reached the average European level.
Among the goals, he said, is to increase the number of researchers and developers, to have 9,000 researchers and developers per million people in Hungary by 2030, and to double the number of patents and innovator SMEs, as this can drive the Hungarian economy forward.
Ádám Kiss, President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDI Office), said that by 26 August, 117 contributors had submitted 300 comments on the programme during the public consultation. The details of the call for proposals with the guidelines are now available on the NRDI website. Requests for a professional opinion may be submitted from noon on 28 September 2023 until noon on 05 October 2023. The opinions provided by the funder with the involvement of peer reviewers will be published in December.
Applicants can receive a maximum advance of 30%, and the implementation period is usually 24 months, during which 85% of the total funding amount is paid. A 15% share of the funding will be withheld to encourage applicants to implement their commitments during the maintenance period, he said. Applications are assessed by a panel of 250 reviewers and are subject to continuous professional review every six months during implementation.
He also said that they are expecting significant over-application, exceeding the available funds by at least 2 or 3 times, because there has not been a market bid of this magnitude for two years. They are also ready to handle the increased participation with adequate IT background and human resources,” added the President of the NRDI Office.