“Hungary’s R&D expenditure to GDP ratio index, which has been around 1.3 percent for years, significantly exceeded the highest value measured to date in 2018, at 1.53 percent. The government will be providing 32 billion forints (EUR 95.1 million) in additional funding for research & development and innovation next year, and the target for 2020 is to reach a ratio of 1.8 percent. Hungary will be able to progress to be among the most significant innovators if it suitably exploits the opportunities inherent in cooperation between the government, industry and universities”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said on 28 November 2019 in Budapest at the closing event of the national series of programmes presenting the Territorial Innovation Platforms (TIPs).

“The government’s vision is for Hungary to be among the top five European countries where it is best to live, make a home and work by 2030. To achieve an improvement in the quality of life of Hungarian families, it is vital for global value chains to also bring activities that produce high added value to Hungary, and perform them with the involvement of Hungarian-owned enterprises and highly trained Hungarian employees”, Mr. Palkovics explained.

“During the past fifteen years, Hungary always been in roughly twentieth place, plus or minus a few places, on the European Innovation Scoreboard, the European innovation rankings that evaluate the research & development and innovation systems of the European Union’s 28 member states.  In the interests of improving this position, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology is working on the development of a university-centred innovation ecosystem. The Ministry is placing institutions that successfully integrate the three determining pillars – government, industry and higher education – at the forefront of innovation” the Minister pointed out.

“The goal of the university-centred innovation ecosystem is for Hungarian-owned enterprises to be established and develop that are also competitive internationally. One of the important results of the measures already introduced within higher education is that the number of students applying for courses in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering and IT increased to 30 percent this year from the previous 22 percent. The ratio of foreign students in Hungary has been successfully doubled to some 12 percent. The budget of the Horizon Europe EU programme due to begin in 2021 could be as high as 100 billion euros, thanks to a significant increase in the budget available for the current term. Improving the efficiency of the drawing down of funding requires an improvement in Hungarian higher education’s system of international relations and its level of embeddedness”, he continued.

Mr. Palkovics said the development of a Science Park system built around universities and research centres at two locations in Budapest and six others around the country is also an important plan. In the interests of providing new industrial researchers, he said an important goal is the establishment of a dual PhD education system in which enterprises and university doctorate schools jointly develop training programmes. “Innovation begins with vocational training, and the innovative approach must also appear in vocational training, which will become the first step towards the education of engineers”, the Minister added.

The national series of programmes presenting the Territorial Innovation Platforms organised by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the National Office for Research, Development and Innovation was held in five rural cities in November 2019, before coming to a close in Budapest. Based on university knowledge bases, the initiative is promoting the establishment of regional organisations that simultaneously provide a direct opportunity for people to get to know innovation policy directions, and for the reinforcement of cooperation between local actors.