US investors also support the strengthening of local research and development. In next year’s budget, the government has allocated 25 per cent more funding for research and development, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics told the Hungarian news agency at the Monday event of AmCham Hungary held in Budapest.

The Minister for Innovation and Technology said it is a priority that the quality of research and development should improve equally in the case of foreign businesses coming to Hungary, foreign businesses already active in Hungary and local businesses because Hungary occupies a poor position in the innovation rankings.

Some large US multinational companies such as GE and IBM are already engaged in significant innovation activities in Hungary, and the government would like to see an increase in those activities, the Minister said.

Mr Palkovics highlighted that businesses operating in Hungary pursue their research and development activities independently, mainly from their own financial resources, and therefore the state only has a say in the research conducted by universities and in the activities of state research institutes. The government has designated three main directions for the reinforcement of research and development activities: The further development of research and development infrastructure, the strengthening of the funding of innovation activities, and the significant improvement of cooperation.

The Minister stressed that also in the case of universities and research institutes, it is necessary to work out arrangements and methods for calls for proposals which lay the emphasis on cooperation and performance.

He pointed out that in this system institutions are awarded grants if they cooperate with one another. Chambers of commerce, including AmCham can help by identifying their own research needs for their member companies, he added.

The Minister for Innovation and Technology highlighted that, compared with this year, in next year’s budget the government has increased the central research, development and innovation allocation by HUF 32 billion to HUF 165 billion. Research institutes can significantly increase their funding if they apply for EU funds together, Mr Palkovics added.

(Ministry for Innovation and Technology/MTI)