These measures can be followed on the website of the Office, while a new communication tool called RDI Hotline has been installed to efficiently handle in-quiries and suggestions.
The National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office plays a key role in implementing the government’s RDI strategy and innovation efforts. However, the state of danger caused by the coronavirus pandemic requires the NRDI Office to adopt new approaches and introduce targeted tools.
Dr Zoltán Birkner, President of the NRDI Office pointed out: ‘We have reviewed the entire portfolio of calls to identify the difficulties funded projects currently face. As an immediate measure, we modified the cost eligibility and reporting rules, and provisionally suspended on-site inspections. Our latest measure has eased the rules of disbursing advances from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund to all beneficiaries, and is expected to speed up the disbursement of nearly HUF 28 billion to up to 340 innovation projects and 450 OTKA basic research projects in the upcoming months. In addition, we have extended the period for using the innovation funds, set longer deadlines for the submission of invoices, supporting documents and responses to deficiency notices, and adjusted the rules governing mandatory commitments and indicators set out in the funding agreements. In the case of running innovation projects, this affects nearly 950 beneficiaries, including approximately 600 businesses and 330 pubic research organisations, and a total funding volume of around HUF 180 billion. As for the Thematic Excellence Programme and the Excellence Programme for Higher Education Institutions, we have extended the period for using the awarded funds (around a total of HUF 30 billion in over 90 priority thematic areas), and the same measures have been applied to the 1600 ongoing scholarship projects of the New National Excellence Programme, benefitting of more than HUF 2.9 billion funding.
The NRDI Office is continuously assessing the necessity of further measures. The President of the NRDI Office highlighted: ‘Questions, comments and suggestions in relation to the new measures are welcome and will be responded as quickly as possible at the RDI Hotline, a recently introduced communication tool.’
The NRDI Office has dedicated a thematic webpage to all COVID-19 related information, including the rules of application updated in response to the emergency situation, and fresh Hungarian and international news about research and development in relation to the pandemic. The recently launched RDI Hotline information channel primarily helps to manage the increased number of customer and partner queries more effectively and to relieve our phone and email customer service lines, which are also available. The RDI Hotline offers a user-friendly easy-to-use interface with drop-down menus and open text form fields to pick a topic and send queries. The new system enables faster processing and response times, while continuous monitoring helps to evaluate measures already taken and plan new ones to address the emergency situation.
Budapest, 20 April 2020