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New Research Program to Support International Projects Led by Hungarian Institutions

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.05.06.

The HU-rizont program will provide HUF 8 billion (EUR 20.5 million) to support international research projects led by Hungarian workshops with the participation of the world’s top universities and research institutes, Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education, announced on Friday.

“Brussels’ discriminatory decision has excluded researchers from the model-changed institutions from the Horizon Program, an essential element of Europe’s competitiveness,” Balázs Hankó argued at a conference at Óbuda University. This is why the HU-rizont program, promoting international cooperation of Hungarian researchers, was launched this year with HUF 8 billion in funding.


In 2021, the government adopted a proposal to change the model of higher education institutions. This meant that the majority of universities were removed from the scope of direct state-run institutions, and the rights of founders and maintainers were transferred to trusts established specifically for this purpose. The government’s aim was to ensure the country’s competitiveness and efficiency of its universities, while expanding “academic freedom.”

Last year in January, the European Commission (EC) announced that Hungarian universities that operate as public trust foundations or are maintained by such foundations will no longer receive grants from the EU-funded Erasmus+ exchange and Horizon Europe research and innovation programs. The universities were targeted by the EU because “their operating model did not ensure the transparent management of EU funds, as neither public procurement nor conflict of interest rules applied to them.” Another problem cited was that in many universities, government politicians were on the board of trustees. Since then, the politicians concerned have resigned from their positions on the boards, but the dispute with the EC has not been resolved.

The State Secretary stressed that the program will provide young researchers and research groups from model-changed universities with the opportunity to submit proposals

in cooperation and consortia with the world’s leading universities in areas that are important for the Hungarian economy and Hungarian society: healthy lifestyles, green transition, and digitization.

Hankó announced that from now on, the costs of researchers from partner universities will also be covered by this program. “Because, unlike Brussels, we believe in cooperation, unlike Brussels, we want to improve Europe’s competitiveness; because Hungarian researchers are excellent, Hungarian young doctoral students are excellent, and we support them so that their research – serving the economy and society, i.e. the benefit of our lives – can be fulfilled,” he said.

As part of the HU-rizont program, foreign research centers and researchers can be involved not only from Europe but also – on the basis of excellence – from any country in the world,

but the international consortia conducting the research will always be led by Hungarian higher education institutions.

Funding from the National Research, Development, and Innovation Fund will cover the entire budget of the research and development projects, i.e. the costs of both Hungarian institutions and the foreign participants involved as associated partners. The maximum amount of funding that can be awarded to a project is HUF 400 million (EUR 1 million).

Hungarian university research teams can choose from nine thematic areas within the three focus areas of the János Neumann Program and have two months to develop their innovative concepts with their European or non-European colleagues. Applications are open from May 3 until July 5, 2024. The 24-36 month collaborations supported as part of the HU-rizont Program also aim to trigger the development of strategically important international partnerships and prepare Hungarian researchers to lead large-scale international projects in the future.

New State-funded International Scholarship Program Launched
New State-funded International Scholarship Program Launched

In the meantime, negotiations are continuing in Brussels to give Hungarian students access to Erasmus again.Continue reading

Via MTI, Featured image: Pexels

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