In 2019 the Thematic Excellence Programme provides HUF 14.6 billion in total to 26 universi-ties and public research institutes for 55 thematic research areas. “The University of Debrecen has one of the most comprehensive portfolios of education and research programmes among Hungarian higher education institutions, with healthcare as a declared focus area in its mission statement. In recent years, due to the industrial companies settling in the city, the engineering and automotive industry has gained steadily in importance in the economic development of the region. The University tries to catch up with this trend both in research and development and in education. Thus, the awarded funding clearly confirms that we are on the right track,” Prof. Dr. Zoltán Szilvássy, the Rector of the University of Debrecen told the press conference of the Thematic Excellence Programme.
As Chancellor Prof. Dr. Zoltán Bács pointed out: “a university’s mission today goes beyond higher education; as a third focus activity in our mission we have to adapt our educational and research activities to the socio-economic challenges, in particular by strengthening the focus on RDI and increasing scientific productivity.”
“Today, the city of Debrecen is a success story, due in a large part to the internationally acclaimed academic, research and development activities of its university. The awarded funding is a kind of recognition of its achievements, while it also provides resources for research in thematic areas that can significantly contribute to the economic development and social welfare of Hungary,” Dr. Zoltán Birkner, President of the NRDI Office said at the press conference. The University of Debrecen has received the HUF 2 billion funding for three thematic areas under the Thematic Excellence Programme of the NRDI Office.
In the “Health” area it can be spent on insulin resistance research: One of the most pressing socio-economic challenges in Hungary is the deteriorating health of the active population. Insulin resistance (IR) is the cause of several major chronic non-infectious diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or cancer). The institution has invested substantially in this research area in the past decades and has a strong research profile in the prevention of endemic diseases as well. Among other things, they examine what type of medicines, dietary supplements or functional food could influence insulin and blood sugar levels and the development of obesity complications. The collaborative activities planned in insulin resistance-related research heavily rely on the well-established organic cooperation between the faculties.
In the “Industry and digitisation” thematic area, the University of Debrecen can spend the funding on automotive research which will contribute to the regional efforts in economic development, while adapting to the needs of the automotive companies settling in the city. The institution considers the development of technical training and related research and innovation as a strategic objective, and its long-term goal is to be an active participant in the development process, to satisfy the emerging demand for RDI, and to develop innovative solutions. The following four research groups will be set up in the framework of the programme: Vehicle Energy Research Group; Autonomous Vehicles Research Group; Fibre-reinforced Composites Research Group; and Research Group for Rail Transport Development in Debrecen and in the Region. The research groups will almost entirely cover the engineering and automotive industry.
Within the “Secure society and environment” thematic area, aerospace research is going to benefit from the funding. The long-term goal of the aerospace research program of the University is to ensure human health safety in space and under special environmental conditions, to improve the functionality of space devices, and to exploit geoinformation collected from space. The internationally renowned programme of the institution has a decades-long history and builds on continued cooperation between work groups already or formerly involved in space research to achieve the above-mentioned common goals. The researchers at the University of Debrecen will examine the physiological responses of humans during space flight and the development of pharmaceutical and food products that can be used under space conditions.
Debrecen, 02 September 2019.