Research and innovation in Hungary
Hungary has always been proud of its outstanding researchers, inventors and innovators. Hungarian creativity is indeed a treasure that has been reflected through our past and present. It is generally acknowledged that the latest generations of Hungarian talent, scientists, inventors and innovators are the key to our future.
With that in mind, the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office was launched as of 1 January 2015 to promote value creating innovation, in strong partnership with the researcher and innovation community. The NRDI Office is the national strategic and funding agency for scientific research, development and innovation, the primary source of advice on RDI policy for the Hungarian government.
The RDI law (Act2014/LXXVI on scientific research, development and innovation) not only established the NRDI Office as a framework institution but also provided for the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund) to render state support for research, development and innovation.
Launching the NRDI Office also aims the efficient, transparent and purpose-oriented use of all available RDI resources i.e. both the domestic funds from the NRDI Fund and the funds provided from the European Union’s Structural Funds. In order to ensure access to the latter, Hungary developed its National Smart Specialisation Strategy in 2014. These funds all have to serve the scientific and economic competitiveness of Hungary, the effective involvement of our country in the forefront European Research Area, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.
In order to enable the most efficient possible integration of European best practices into the National Innovation System and to facilitate Hungary's most successful possible participation in the European Research Area, the President of the NRDI Office seeks strategic advice from international experts who are not only world-class scientists in their respective field of expertise, but also have broad experience in science policy and research financing.
The scope of activities and responsibilities of the NRDI Office include the following areas:
Competitive calls for RDI project proposals
Researchers’ thematic applications
Funding discovery research projects without thematic priorities
Providing appropriate tools and equipment for domestic research organisations
Incentives for large enterprises, SMEs and innovative startup businesses to achieve their R&D objectives
Supporting the commercialisation of scientific results
Improving the competitiveness and ability to benefit from international funds of SMEs
source: National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office
The Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) has been the major funding agency of basic science and scholarship since 1986 when the transition to competitive research funding started in Hungary. Its "founding fathers" modelled the principles of operation on the practice of German (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and American research funds (National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health). Upon a government decree, OTKA has been operating as an independent non-profit organisation since 1991. Its legal status and rules of operation were established in an act in 1993 and reinforced in 1997 by the Hungarian Parliament in order to provide independent support to scientific research activities and infrastructure, to promote scientific achievements of international standards, and to provide assistance to young researchers. As an independent institution, OTKA reports to the Parliament and the Government of Hungary. With regards to the funds provided within the annual budget of the Republic of Hungary, the appropriations of OTKA are administered via the budget of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The administrative and financial tasks related to its operation are performed by the OTKA Office in Budapest.