The Minister in his paper delivered on the challenges and directions of Hungarian research and development, said the following: There is still a room for improvement as for the innovation performance of Hungary is concerned, to close the development gap in the international context a transformation process has been launched, which includes funding, the institutional structure and the legislative environment.
“The additional resources, energy and attention focused on this area serve the purpose of Hungary being able to make progress from its position as a moderate innovator and join the group of strong innovators in the European innovation ranking” - he said.
He reminded the audience of the fact that in 2018 the research and development spending relative to the GDP, which had been at about 1.3 percent for years, exceeded this level and reached so far its highest level at 1.53 percent. The objective set for 2020 is 1.8 percent. To this end, the Government shall provide HUF 32 billion more to support research, development and innovation as of the next year - he added.
According to the Minister, based on the European innovation ranking, there are areas where Hungary has achieved a good position amongst the 28 EU Member States, however, there are other areas, such as that of research, where performance needs to be improved. This is the reason why they decided to change the structure and set up units to support the development of research focusing on practical implementation, taking into account the needs of the economy - he stressed.
One of the first steps in this direction is the establishment of the National Science Policy Council, the separation of innovation and research funds. The Minister also gave an account of the restructuring of the Ministry as of 1 September in order to improve innovation performance, meaning that all the functions capable of managing an efficient innovation ecosystem have been transferred to the Ministry.
László Palkovics emphasised: The innovation ecosystem in Hungary needs to be built around universities. Talking about the measures supporting the Territorial Innovation Platforms (TIPs) set up, he underlined the importance of the system of Science Parks built around universities and research organisations, which so far have been completed in two locations in Budapest and in six cities in the countryside. At the same time, he added that innovation does not start at universities, but at an earlier stage: the strengthening of vocational training, especially the newly established structure of technical secondary schools provides a series of opportunities which are considered as novelty. To illustrate this he mentioned the possibility of certain technical secondary schools being run by universities in the future.
László Palkovics in his presentation emphasised the importance of cooperation as a prerequisite for efficient innovation activities. According to the Minister, cooperation is important not only between domestic players, but also within specific institutions, between the various units as well as with foreign partners.
As for the TIP events, he underlined: the objective of the series of events organised by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to promote regional organisations all over the country, which are based on University knowledge bases, providing on the one hand, access to direct information on innovation policy, and on the other hand, an opportunity to forge cooperation between the actors of the local innovation ecosystem, and lay down new professional foundations.
The nationwide series of events started at the beginning of November on five locations in the countryside, the initiative was introduced with the active participation of the local players of the innovation ecosystem. The events, including the closing event in Budapest, involved 800 participants exchanging ideas.