According to Tamás Schanda, 2020 showed that innovative businesses perform better in difficult times, and also confirmed that it was a good decision to increase expenditure on research, development and innovation in the last decade. The central budget provided HUF 43 billion more for such activities only last year. However, talent, ideas and Hungarian creativity can only be leveraged with the combined support of public institutions. This supportive background is promoted by the collaboration between the NRDI Office and HIPO, he said.
As the state secretary explained, higher education institutions have a privileged place in research, development and innovation (RDI), so university students, researchers and industrial stakeholders should cooperate for better results. HUF 1,500 billion has been earmarked for the development of higher education in upcoming years, but the government also encourages RDI activities with many other measures. He mentioned in particular the cooperative doctoral programme, the creation of the national laboratories and innovation parks, and the wage subsidy scheme, for which the application deadline has been extended until 22 February. The subsidy, which is unique in international comparison, was provided to around 23,000 applicants in the first wave of the pandemic, and a total of HUF 4 billion was requested by employers for nearly 5,000 employees in the second half of the year – he added.
According to Tamás Schanda, the past 10 years have shown that people want to earn their living by work, so the government should provide all the help for that. Before 2010, crisis management meant financial restrictions and tax increase, and the political left would certainly prefer such measures even today. The government, however, chose a different path: it saved more than 1 million jobs since the outbreak of the pandemic – he said.
The details of the collaboration were presented by the heads of the participating institutions.
The president of the HIPO said that they would raise awareness of when to patent an idea and what benefits can be expected from legal protection. Gyula Pomázi called the domestic utilisation of intellectual property a national strategic interest. The innovative ideas conceptualised in universities, research sites and businesses should be transformed to intellectual property rights, and the supportive background should be extended across the innovation value chain with encouraging rules, administrative incentives and even tax benefits.
The head of the institution added: over 10,000 companies manage their intellectual property actively, but this is only 3% of all companies in Hungary. Celebrating its 125th birthday next month, HIPO considers the anniversary an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property, and that more than 200,000 protections and patents have been registered in Hungary since the establishment of the institution.
Zoltán Birkner, the President of the NRDI Office, explained the collaboration by stating that the incentives and supportive measures in recent years expanded the Hungarian innovation community and took domestic RDI to the next level. At the same time, innovations could be leveraged more successfully if they were protected more effectively and more Hungarian ideas were patented.
The head of the innovation office is optimistic about the future as the number of applicants further increased in 2020 and public expenditure on RDI doubled in three years. He considers it another great achievement that Hungary has managed to preserve the confidence of the Hungarian innovation community. To this end, the NRDI Office extended application deadlines and disbursed HUF 47 billion earlier to help participants facing difficulties due to the crisis.
As another outstanding result, Zoltán Birkner mentioned that, at the initiative of the ITM, Hungarian knowledge communities quickly joined forces to address the most pressing challenges in the most critical period of 2020. The innovation collaboration has developed 27 projects to predict and overcome future epidemics and develop drugs, so Hungary had especially great achievements in the field of health last year.