The key to the country’s long-term success lies in the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy; therefore, creative people creating values are the greatest assets of the Hungarian nation, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics stressed on Thursday in Budapest before he handed over state decorations on the occasion of the celebration of the foundation of the state, 20 August.

“Today we are recognising the achievements of scientists, researchers, teachers, officials, experts and businesspeople who have achieved outstanding results in various fields of science, public service and business,” the Minister said before the presentation of the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, civilian section, the Knight’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, civilian section, the Hungarian Gold, Hungarian Silver and Hungarian Bronze Crosses of Merit, civilian section, Prometheus Awards and Ministerial Deeds of Recognition.

Effectively supporting Hungarian talent is a priority for the government, and therefore from 2020 they will increase the funding of research, development and innovation to 1.8 per cent of GDP, Mr Palkovics added.

In his words, with the transformation of the system of state research institutes, a new structure could come into being which, while preserving the freedom of research, supports cooperation with universities and businesses, and at the same time, encourages a competitive spirit and innovation. When planning the changes to the system, they studied effectively-functioning foreign models, he observed.

Mr Palkovics said the government decision, based on which from 1 September higher education will be transferred to the Ministry for Innovation and Technology seeks to help with the realisation of these objectives. “As a result, vocational training, higher education, innovation and research will all be under the supervision of a single entity, and so we will be able to better take advantage of the synergies that exist between different areas.” This new structure will in turn contribute to the strengthening of the research activities of universities, “while opening up new opportunities for us to support cooperation between the actors of the innovation and research-development ecosystem”.

All this supports the government’s aspiration to enhance the competitiveness of Hungarian higher education, Hungarian businesses, the Hungarian economy and Hungary because this is the only way to guarantee the country’s advancement in the long run, he said.

Mr Palkovics further observed that “the past one thousand years have taught us that Hungary can only survive if we preserve ourselves, if we preserve our territory, security and independence”.

“The 54 awardees relay the message to the world that Hungary equally has knowledge, talent and strength,” he added.