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Nearly HUF 10 billion to promote fundamental research projects
22 November 2019
Modified: 14 December 2019
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Budapest, 22 November 2019, Friday (MTI) - More than 270 researchers and research groups have been granted nearly HUF 10 billion within the call for proposals in fundamental research invited by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDI Office) - said Tamás Schanda, Minister of State at the Ministry for Innovation and Technology on Friday.

Tamás Schanda at the press conference convened on this topic said: the structure of this round of calls for proposals is the same as that of the Scientific Research Fund calls (OTKA with Hungarian abbreviation), targeting individual researchers and research groups, the process of selecting winners was basically identical with the practices followed in previous years. At the same time, certain changes were made for the benefit of the applicants and their success - he added.

At the same time, certain changes were made for the benefit of the applicants and their success. The administrative burden of researchers was reduced and the rules on the use of funding was made more flexible. Following the practice of several European research funding systems, in categories of researchers at the beginning of their research carriers eligibility is not conditional on age, but the length of time that has passed since the acquisition of the doctoral degree - he explained.

For those at the beginning of their research careers, there were two types of calls available: the post-doctoral and the one for young researchers with a total budget of HUF 4 billion. He also mentioned that in this category the number of proposals had increased by 23 percent.

Those with more experience and research groups led by senior researchers had the opportunity to apply for funding within a separate thematic call for proposals with a total budget of HUF 5.8 billion. This programme also includes funding of projects to be implemented jointly in the framework of a bilateral Hungarian-Austrian and Hungarian-Slovenian research cooperation. In such cases, the name of winners can be announced only after the foreign co-financing partner institution has made its decision.

The Minister of State also mentioned that OTKA, the Scientific Research Fund, is not the only call available for young researchers. In the New National Excellence Programme (ÚNKP), more than HUF 2.4 billion was available for young talents interested in science and research, participating in graduate courses and doctoral programmes and young lecturers and researchers already holding a PhD degree. Within this framework, 2061 students, researchers of 25 higher education institutions will receive an amount of HUF 50,000-300,000 throughout 5 or 10 months. In this programme the number of beneficiaries has increased by 16 percent compared to last year.

ÚNKP does not promote students only, their institutions of higher education also receive funding, which makes the total budget of funding nearly HUF 3.4 billion - said the Minister of State, who also drew attention to the fact that the call for proposals titled Frontline Research Excellence Programme is currently open with a total budget of HUF 3 billion, the deadline for submission is 17 December. HUF 150-300 million may be spent on one single project of fundamental research from the total budget.

Zoltán Birkner, President of the NRDI Office mentioned that they had had two objectives in mind when establishing the new structure of funding schemes. On the one hand, they wanted to involve as many young people as possible in the system, and on the other hand, they wanted to close the “gaps” in the programme, i.e. they wanted to provide schemes for applicants from the time of completing their studies in secondary education up to an older age. He explained that the ÚNKP covers the period from the end of the secondary education up to the acquisition of the doctoral degree, whereas the OTKA Scientific Research Fund calls for proposals are available for those who have already acquired their doctoral degree.

The Frontline Research Excellence Programme, the “international arena” is available for researchers and research groups who have proved their significant knowledge in the international context and would like to further develop their research theme and research group in Hungary.

Talking about minor funding schemes he mentioned a new type of programme called Mecenatúra, which is to promote access to foreign publications and participation at conferences. In addition they would also like to reward the acquisition of doctoral degrees. They would provide specific funding to groups who can evidence that it is possible to progress from fundamental research to the practical utilisation of research findings - he said. In addition to funding fundamental research, the NRDI Office also provides funding for research that deal with societal benefits and economic benefits of projects responding to global problems. The Thematic Excellence

Programme focuses primarily on universities and research institutions. The budget of this programme is approximately HUF 30 billion per annum. The third area, funding Hungarian innovative businesses, receives project funding of HUF 60-70 billion per year.

In total, the funding scheme covering fundamental research, research on global problems and corporate innovation has a total budget of HUF 100 billion in Hungary - emphasised Zoltán Birkner.

Updated: 14 December 2019
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