József Bódis, state secretary for higher education, innovation and technology of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology pointed out: “R&D expenditure has doubled in the past decade reaching an unprecedented HUF 700 billion last year. Researcher headcounts increased by about 2500 in a single year. Predictable research financing and the support of individual and institutional excellence in research continue to significantly contribute to academic performance in Hungary.
A total of HUF 12.9 billion is now available for researcher initiated basic research projects starting in 2021 and expected to produce outstanding scientific achievements, develop new methods and procedures, or help to gain a deeper understanding of natural and social phenomena. The programme promotes the development of science and increases the international recognition and competitiveness of Hungarian researchers and research institutions. Over 1400 project proposals were submitted to the previous OTKA call, announced in December 2019, and 340 of them were selected for funding by the end of 2020, garnering a total amount of HUF 11.5 billion.
The new OTKA basic research call for individual researchers and research groups comprises five sub-programmes, similarly to previous years. Early-stage researchers have two opportunities: the Postdoctoral Excellence Programme is open to younger people who obtained PhD degree no more than 5 years before application; while the Young Researcher Excellence Programme provides support for starting an independent research group and research in an independent topic. More experienced researchers and their teams can request funding in a sub-programme following the 30-year-old traditions of the Thematic Research Projects call. The last two sub-programmes are dedicated to projects implemented in bilateral Hungarian-Austrian and Hungarian-Slovenian research collaboration.
Compared to the past few years, the recently announced call offers more flexible rules for the use of funds and cost accounting, as well as further reduced administrative burden. The primary objective of the new arrangement is to enable beneficiaries to use their resources more effectively for project implementation. Publication is also an important requirement in the call to ensure that the research results become visible to both the international scientific community and the general public. Open access requirements are increasingly part of the system: winning researchers commit to making the results of the funded projects publicly accessible, and can account for the cost of open access publishing under much more preferential rules.
Budapest, 23 December 2020
Ministry for Innovation and Technology