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Forefront – Research Excellence Programme
Date of announcement: 20 november 2020
Modified:
Next deadline for submission:
Deadline for E-submission: 01 march 2021 16:00
01 march 2021
Deadline for application via post office: 4 March 2021
Submitter of proposal
Budgetary institution, Non-profit organisation
Beneficiary groups
Institution of higher education, Other budgetary research institution, Non-profit research organisation, Institution of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH)
Budget
HUF 3 000 000 000
Number of applications
10-12
Funds available per project
HUF 300 M
Project duration
5 years
Field of research activity
Fundamental research
Evaluator of proposals
NRDI Office
The “Forefront – Research Excellence Programme” provides substantial grant for up to five years to excellent researchers in their most dynamic and creative career phases, belonging to the top of the international scientific community, for research activity in a Hungarian research centre.

The programme follows a funding model that supports forefront discovery research while offering grant opportunities to internationally top-performing researchers for implementing their projects at a Hungarian host institution in connection with European Research Council (ERC) calls. This way, the Forefront programme enhances Hungary’s efforts to become a regional hub for research, development and innovation.

This call for proposals aims to help internationally acclaimed researchers to prepare for and succeed in ECR calls.

The KKP_21 call is only open to researchers for discovery research projects without any thematic restriction, provided that the applicant’s scientific track record and research plan meet the requirements set out in the call. Applicants have the highest chance if they have achieved internationally outstanding scientific results in the past ten years and can be reasonably expected to continue this level of performance on the basis of their research plan.

The call is financed from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund.

Eligible applicants

Applications are eligible if submitted by any of the following types of organisations having a legal personality and a registered seat in Hungary:

  • higher education institution, research centre, research institution, budgetary organ or a budgetary organ institution with legal personality if it qualifies as a research facility under the RDI Act;
  • non-profit organisations qualifying as research and development organisation according to its core activity

(hereinafter: host institution) jointly with a Hungarian or foreign citizen researcher with a PhD/DLA degree (hereinafter: principal investigator), provided that he or she meets with one of the following conditions:

  • has led an ERC-funded Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant, Advanced Grant, or Synergy Grant project which was successfully closed after 1 January 2017, or is currently leading one such project and it is scheduled to be closed before 1 October 2021;
  • applied for an ERC Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant, Advanced Grant, or Synergy Grant after 1 January 2017, and the application made it to the second round of evaluation but was not selected for funding;
  • was involved as a principal investigator in an individual basic research project with a budget of at least HUF 100 million, financed from a major international research fund (e.g. Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institutes of Health – NIH, Australian Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council – BBSRC, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG), and the project was successfully closed after 1 January 2017.

Throughout the entire project implementation period the principal investigator must be a full-time worker of the host institution under an employment contract, civil service contract or other contract aimed at performing work.

Eligible objectives and actions

Those actions are eligible which aim to achieve the key objectives developed on the basis of the research and work plan specified in the “Forefront – Research Excellence Programme” call and set out in the research project plan submitted to the NRDI Office.

Duration of the project

The project must start between 1 June 2021 and 1 October 2021, and must be implemented within 60 months from the start date. Eligible project costs can be declared from the start date of the project specified in the grant agreement.

Total available budget and maximum funding per project

The total budget earmarked from the NRDI Fund for the implementation of the programme between 2021 and 2026 is HUF 3 billion, including HUF 600 million to be disbursed in 2021. The maximum amount of grant for the maximum duration of 60 months is HUF 300 million per project (i.e. an annual average of HUF 60 million) as non-refundable funding. Funding intensity is 100%.

Submission of project proposals

All applications must be submitted in English irrespective of the field of science. Project proposals must be prepared and submitted electronically through the Online Application Portal of the NRDI Office by 16:00 CET on March 1, 2021 in line with the Guidelines for Applicants.

The call notice lists the documents required to be submitted to the NRDI Office by regular mail or electronically provided with electronic signatures. Applications may not be submitted in person.

The documents to be submitted by regular mail must be sent in one copy, provided with original signatures and seal, to the Customer Service of the NRDI Office postmarked no later than March 4, 2021. In this case, the submission is successful if the application was finalised electronically by the applicant and approved by the head of the host institution by March 1, 2021, and if the documents required by the call to be submitted by regular mail/with electronic signatures were sent to the Customer Service of the NRDI Office postmarked no later than March 4, 2021.

Complying with its legal obligation, the NRDI Office enables applicants to submit their applications exclusively electronically. In this case, the documents required by the call to be submitted by regular mail/with electronic signature must be signed electronically, as specified in the call, and must be attached to the application on the Online Application Portal by the deadline for electronic submission, that is, by March 1, 2021 at 16:00 CET. In this case, the submission is successful if the proposal was finalised electronically by the applicant and approved by the head of the host institution by March 1, 2021, and if the electronically signed versions of the documents required to be submitted by regular mail/with electronic signature were submitted through the Online Application Portal.

Please note that all documents required to be submitted by regular mail/with electronic signature must be submitted in the same way; that is, all documents must be submitted to the NRDI Office either by regular mail or electronically provided with electronic signature.

Customer service contacts:
email: nkfialap@nkfih.gov.hu 
phone: +36 (1) 795 9500

Personal appointments (pree-booked only): H-1077 Budapest, Kéthly Anna sq. 1. (2nd floor)

Customer Service hours of operation: Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 12.00 a.m.

Forefront – Research Excellence Programme (KKP_21), funded projects

Eight research team leaders have been awarded a total of HUF 2.23 billion in funding, HUF 200 to 300 million each, under the Forefront – Research Excellence Programme launched on 20 November 2020, managed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, with the policy support of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. The research funding will enable the applicants to carry out a world-class research project in Hungary over the next five years, which will help it to participate successfully in the European Research Council (ERC) research funding programmes.

As in previous years, one of the selection criteria for the call was that the team leaders should have at least one previous successful international project. The programme received 11 admissible proposals with a funding demand of more than HUF 3 billion. 64% (7) of the proposals focused on life sciences, 18% (2) on medical and biological sciences , 1 on humanities, and 1 on ecology.

The funding decision was based on the assessment of an evaluation panel appointed by the NRDI Office and on the applicants’ personal project presentations. The evaluation panel examined the proposals against the selection criteria of the call and invited all 11 applicants to present their project proposals in a personal interview. Following the presentations, the evaluation panel ranked the proposals and recommended 8 proposals for funding to the minister responsible for science policy coordination.

Based on this recommendation, the deputy state secretary for innovation, acting on the instructions of the minister responsible for science policy coordination, has decided to support the following 8 outstanding research proposals with a total amount of HUF 2.23 billion:


FUNDED PROJECTS

Funding organisation: Ministry for Innovation and Technology
Source: NRDI Fund
Date of decision: 3 June 2021

Evaluation panel
Project code
Principal investigator/Project title/Research organisation
Project period
(month)
Amount of awarded funds
(in HUF thousands)
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 137373 Péter Dombi: Nonlinear plasmonic phenomena and devices (Wigner Research Centre for Physics) 60 300 000
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 137490 Balázs Gerencsér: Smart random walks and smart new links (Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics) 60 232 908
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 137491 Enikő Kubinyi: Pet keeping from an evolutionary perspective: A novel approach for improving human and animal health (Eötvös Loránd University) 60 299 400
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 137523 László Molnár: Asteroseismic laboratories (Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences) 60 299 795
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 138144 Levente Tapasztó: Novel phenomena in artificial crystals built from 2D materials (Centre for Energy Research) 60 277 200
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 138270 Endre Csóka: Randomized Local Algorithms on Sparse Random Graphs (Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics) 60 218 366
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 138726 Botond Roska: Novel approaches to restore vision and to retard the loss of vision (Semmelweis University) 60 300 000
'Forefront' Research Excellence Programme 139502 Miklós Abért: Groups and graph limits (Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics) 60 299 583
Updated: 12 September 2022
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To ensure value-based professional evaluation of proposals arriving in large quantities from the fields of discovery and applied research and innovation, to assess professional reports of funded projects and to prepare policy opinions, the NRDI Office intends to expand its expert pool in all fields of expertise.

Professionals who have registered in the database of the NRDI Office can become responsible contributors, as independent peer-reviewers, to the evaluation process in which the professional quality, novelty content and commercialisation perspectives of the proposals as compared to the requested funding should be assessed as core considerations.

The registration process can be initiated through the registration form of the NRDI Office’s website. Registration is continuously open.

Requested data within the expert registration form include:

  • personal data, contact details (necessary for contracting review assignments);
  • classification of professional skills and competencies and research areas (to get review invitations fine-tuned to your field of expertise);
  • topics of the previously reviewed proposals;
  • present and past jobs, interest networks (in order to pre-screening of conflicts of interest in a given rview assignment), education, scientific titles, most important publications and intellectual works demonstrating your professional experience;
  • language skills.

Professionals once registered in the database of experts may be invited by the NRDI Office to review submitted proposals, to assess professional reports of funded projects and to contribute to policy opinions.

Each proposal is reviewed by several independent experts at the same time. Experts selected from the database to review proposals, to assess professional reports and facilitate expert opinions will be contracted by the NRDI Office on a case-by-case basis. When concluding such a contract experts must declare that the review assignment is not obstructed by any conflict of interest whatsoever. Depending on the competition type, written expert reviews must be prepared in 15-28 work days and submitted electronically via the online review portal of the NRDI Office.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information contact at phone +36 1 795 9500 or email at szakerto_regisztracio@nkfih.gov.hu

The timing and the budget of the RDI funding schemes of the EU-financed operational programme (Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme Plus - EDIOP Plus) has been approved by the Government within the Annual Development Plan (ADP), upon the proposal of the NRDI Office.

The 2022 calls for domestic RDI proposals financed from the NRDI Fund are set out in the annual Programme Strategy adopted by the Government.
(Government Decree 1414/2022. (VIII. 18.)

The table below shows the calls announced for the period 2021-2027 and their amounts, broken down by year.

Source
Specificity
Budget
2021
(Bn HUF)

Budget
2022
(Bn HUF)

NRF RF NRF RF
GINOP Plusz (EDIOP)
Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme Plusz
136,670 - 5 -
NRDI Fund
National Research, Development and Innovation Fund
189,384 - 143,8293
-
ITM (2021) Ministry for Innovation and Technology (2021) 11 - - -
RRF Recovery and Resilience Facility 153,141 - 39,750 -
SUM
 
490,195 - 188,5793 -

NRF= non-refundable
RF= refundable

Source
Calls for proposals
Budget
2021
(Bn HUF)

Budget
2022
(Bn HUF)
NRF RF NRF RF

GINOP Plusz
2021-2022

ITM
2021

Support of business RDI activities
Stimulating business research, development and innovation
GINOP Plusz-2.1.2-21
136,67 - - -
Targeted R&D services Targeted R&D services to businesses, research sites, and research and knowledge-dissemination organisations
GINOP Plusz-2.2.1-22
- - 5 -
Energetics Calls The implementation of developments for the recovery, storage or market-based use of waste heat through innovative storage or conversion technologies
2021-2.1.2-HŐ
5 - - -
The implementation of developments promoting innovative electrochemical storage of surplus carbon-free electricity
2021-2.1.1-EK
6 - - -
RRF
2021-2022
Practice-oriented higher education Infrastructure and skills development for practice-oriented higher education
RRF-2.1.2-21
81,476 - - -
National Laboratories Establishment and complex development of the National Laboratory
RRF-2.3.1-21
71,765 - - -
Higher education courses and services adapted to the core activities of adult education institution Institutional innovation of higher education courses and services adapted to the core activities of adult education institutions and strengthening of adult learning activities in higher education
RRF-2.1.3- 22
- - 39,750 -
Innovation Sub-fund
2021-2022
Support for market-driven RDI projects Support for market-driven RDI projects
2020-1.1.2-PIACI KFI; 2021-1.1.3-PIACI KFI
59,06 - 40,4673 -
KKV Start programme KKV Start Innovation
2020-1.1.1-KKV START
12 - - -
Fast track programme Fast track
2020-1.1.5-GYORSÍTÓSÁV; 2021-1.1.4-GYORSÍTÓSÁV
3 - 12,85 -
Intellectual property Support of activities fostering the domestic and international protection of intellectual property with the aim of facilitating the utilisation of such intellectual property
2020-1.1.3-IPARJOG, 2021-1.1.1-IPARJOG
0,4 - 0,3 -
University Innovation Ecosystema
University Innovation Ecosystem
2019-1.2.1-EGYETEMI ÖKO
2 - - -
International programmes 2019-2.1.3-NEMZ_ECSEL (2021); 2019-2.1.2-NEMZ (2021); 2020-1.2.1-GYAK (2021); 2021-1.2.1-EIT-KIC (2021); 2021-1.2.4-TÉT (2021); 2021-1.2.5-TÉT-IPARI-RU (2021) 2019-2.1.7-ERA-NET (2021. 2022); 2020-1.2.3-EUREKA (2021, 2022); 2021-1.2.2-EU_KKV (2021. 2022); 2021-1.2.3-EU_KP (2021, 2022); 2021-4.1.2-NEMZ_KI (2021, 2022); 2021-1.2.6-TÉT-IPARI-MA (2021), 2022-1.2.4-EUREKA (2022); 2022-1.2.6-TÉT-IPARI-TR (2022); 2022-1.2.3-GYAK (2022); 2022-1.2.2-TÉT-IPARI-UZ (2022), 2022-1.2.5-TÉT-IPARI-KR (2022) 3,5 - 6 -
Centres of excellence
Establishing and developing centres of excellence2022-1.1.1-KK - - 20,7 -
Startup Programme Startup Programme - - 8,5 -
Investment in the future Fund Investment in the future
2020-1.1.6-JÖVŐ
7 - - -
Development of an applied research network Participation in the National Network of Applied Research Institutes
2021-1.1.2-AKH
1,63 - - -
Research Sub-fund
2021
-2022
Thematic Excellence Programme 2021 Thematic Excellence Programme
TKP2021
75 - - -
New National Excellence Programme New National Excellence Programme – Call for Research Scholarship Applications for Undergraduate Students
ÚNKP-21-1; ÚNKP-22-1
0,60 - 0,828 -
New National Excellence Programme – Call for Research Scholarship Applications for Graduate Students
ÚNKP-21-2; ÚNKP-22-2
New National Excellence Programme – Call for Research Scholarship Applications for PhD Students
ÚNKP-21-3; ÚNKP-22-3
1 - 1,2 -
New National Excellence Programme – “Power Up Science!” Call for Research Scholarship Applications for Doctoral Candidate sand Postdoctors
ÚNKP-21-4; ÚNKP-22-4
0,832 - 1,052 -
New National Excellence Programme – Call for Scholarship Applications for Bolyai+ Higher Education Teachers and Researchers
ÚNKP-21-5; ÚNKP-22-5
1,40 - 0,70 -
New National Excellence Programme – “Power up your Talent!” Call for Research Scholarship Applications for New Higher Education Students
ÚNKP-21-6; ÚNKP-22-6
0,168 - 0,22 -
Postdoctoral and Young researchers’ excellence programme and Call for thematic research projects Postdoctoral and Young researchers’ excellence programme and Call for thematic research projects (OTKA)
PD_21, FK_21, K_21, ANN_21, SNN_21
PD_22, FK_22, K_22, ANN_22, SNN_22
12,9 - 13,5 -
Patronage Programme Science Patronage Programme
MEC_21
1 - - -
Forefront – Research Excellence Programme Forefront – Research Excellence Programme
KKP_21, KKP_22
3 - 3 -
Cooperative Doctoral Programme Cooperative Doctoral Programme
KDP-2021
4,894 - 2,832 -
Strategic R&D centres Strategic R&D centres
SKFM-2022
- - 3 -
Development of the Selye János Student Lab Network Development of the Selye János Student Lab Network - - 2 -
National Laboratories Sub-fund
2022
National Laboratories Establishment and complex development of the National Laboratories
2022-2.1.1-NL
- - 26,6 -
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