On the basis of the panels’ proposals, the NRDI Office awarded altogether HUF 31 billion in funding to 56 project proposals. From the original HUF 35 billion budget, the NRDI Office will reallocate the unused amount to the Fast Track call specifically aimed at start-ups and spin-offs, where the amount of requested funding exceeded the HUF 2 billion budget sixfold.
There was a strong interest in the programme, which aims to support joint developments between businesses and the academia that have an economic and social impact, with more than HUF 123 billion worth of project proposals for the HUF 35 billion available.
Approximately 350 academic and market experts participated in the NRDI Office’s renewed evaluation process. Each project proposal was presented orally by the reviewers to the focus area innovation boards. As a result of the review, the HUF 35 billion budget will not be fully used. The awarded projects will receive a total of HUF 31 billion. The remaining amount will be reallocated by the NRDI Office to the Fast Track call, where applicants requested altogether HUF 12 billion from the HUF 2 billion announced budget.
The peer reviews will be published in early January. The next step for applicants who passed the peer review process is to submit their funding requests to the NRDI Office by 18 January 2024. Funding agreements are expected to be signed at the end of March 2024.
János Csák, Minister of Culture and Innovation, stressed that “the call focuses on the major focus areas identified in the John von Neumann Programme. Today, the green transition, healthy living and digitisation are the most pressing social and economic challenges, and these are the key areas where Hungary can be most competitive. The innovative projects supported by the Focus Area Innovation Call will help us to achieve our goal set in the John von Neumann Programme, which is to make Hungary one of the top 10 innovators in Europe by 2030 and one of the top 10 innovators in the world by 2040.”
HUF 10 billion was allocated to each of the three focus areas, but a further HUF 5 billion could be allocated for promising innovation projects not directly linked to the priority focus areas.
Under the new system, the work of the evaluators will be complemented by the technical monitoring of future awarded projects: they will provide constructive monitoring of the projects’ progress every six months during the implementation period. In addition, the winning projects will have the opportunity to benefit from the support of professional mentors from the renewed mentoring scheme of the National Innovation Agency (NIÜ). Winning projects will receive up to 30% of the funding as an advance at the time of signing the agreement, with further instalments over the 24-36 month implementation period as progress is made. The last 15% of the funds will be paid at the end of the maintenance period, depending on the fulfilment of the commitments made, thus giving the beneficiaries a stake in the implementation of the projects.
Source: Ministry of Culture and Innovation