“It is a priority for the government to support science and RDI activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that discoveries and innovative, modern solutions make the entire country, the entire national economy stronger. This year’s OTKA call for proposals, announced by the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office, is now open for submissions. The call comes with an increased budget of HUF 12.9 billion, reduced administration and open access to scientific results,” Tamás Schanda explained.
The five OTKA sub-programmes for individual researchers and research groups follow the categories of previous years. The Postdoctoral Excellence Programme is open to early-stage researchers 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 again to projects implemented in bilateral Hungarian-Austrian and Hungarian-Slovenian research collaboration.
In connection with the opening of the call, Dr. István Szabó, Vice-President of the NRDI Office pointed out: “Utilisation and accounting rules are now even more flexible, and we have also reduced the administrative burden on applicants. The main purpose of renewing the system was to help beneficiaries use the funds as effectively as possible to make their project succeed." High-quality publication is an important requirement for publicly funded projects to ensure that the research results become accessible to both the international scientific community and the general public. Winning researchers have to make their publications open access (OA), so the cost of this procedure can be accounted for under more preferential terms in the new system.
Predictable research funding and the support of individual institutional excellence greatly contribute to Hungary’s scientific performance. The previous OTKA call received almost 1400 proposals and awarded a total of HUF 11.5 billion to 340 winning projects in 2020. Participation rate is steadily increasing year to year, so a large number of applications is expected for this year’s call as well.
Budapest, 13 January 2021
Ministry of Innovation and Technology