“The Government is supporting Hungarian applicants to enable them to be as successful as possible in their efforts to receive direct research & development & innovation (R&D&I) funding (Horizon 2020) from Brussels”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said on Tuesday in Budapest at a professional event jointly organised by the Ministry and the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH).

Mr. Palkovics highlighted the fact that the results achieved with relation to economic growth can only be maintained in the long term if the work-based economy is directed towards an innovation-based economy, thus also assuring that the Hungarian economy continues to grow at a rate that is at least 2 percentage points higher than the European Union average in future.

The Minister said that in the draft bill for the 2020 budget the Government recommends increasing this year’s R&D&I budget of 120-130 billion forints (EUR 374-405 million) by a further 32 billion forints (EUR 100 million), adding that this is the highest level of state commitment to the field since 2003.

He spoke about the fact that from among the countries that have joined the European Union since 2004 (the EU13), Hungary is doing well with relation to acquiring direct research  & development & innovation funding from Brussels, bringing away 259 million euros in funding within the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme for the period 2014-2020, putting it in 3rd place within the region and in 18th place among the member states of the European Union.

The Minister pointed out that it must also be noted that applicants from the EU13 countries succeeded in winning 5 percent of the available budget, while the old member states (EU15) acquired 86.5 percent and countries involved in the programme from outside the EU were awarded 8.5 percent. In the interests of changing this ratio of 95:5 percent, at various negotiations Hungary is representing the position that in future 20 percent of the direct Brussels budget should be earmarked for the countries of the EU13, to also serve as an incentive for those involved to submit tenders.

According to the Minister, the efficiency of the Hungarian research and innovation system must be increased, and a greater level of cooperation must be achieved between research institutes, universities and the private sector, in addition to which the level of embeddedness of their system of international relations must be reinforced.

At the event, President of the NKFIH Zoltán Birkner emphasised that the agency regards the improvement of Hungarian participation with relation to acquiring EU research & development and innovation funding as one of its strategic tasks. He drew attention to the fact that the current programming period that ends in 2020 still offers a lot of available funding that can be applied for, in addition to which the organisation is also providing assistance with relation to preparing for the new framework programme that will begin in 2021.

The NKFIH President said the agency regularly asks for the opinions of market players and is facilitating the spread of knowledge management in Hungarian university networks. The agency is increasingly transforming into a service organisation in addition to performing its duties with relation to financing, he highlighted.