Hungary’s National Scientific Policy Council, a new body established to oversee spending on research, development and innovation, held its inaugural session, László Palkovics, the innovation and technology minister, has said. At the meeting, members of the body discussed a government report analysing the impact of R&D&I grants, the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund’s grant portfolio and programme strategy, along with Hungary’s R&D&I strategy, Palkovics said. He said the analysis concluded that funds allocated for R&D&I projects were being used more effectively than those spent on other investment projects. Meanwhile, the programme strategy outlines the management, organisational and financial model of Hungary’s R&D&I activities, Palkovics added.
The strategy’s final version is scheduled to be submitted to the European Commission in the first half of the year so that Hungary can finalise the accompanying action plan and monitoring and evaluation system before the end of 2020, he said.
The minister said Hungary spent a record 1.53% of its GDP on R&D&I last year, but is considered a “moderate innovator” in international comparison. Hungary in recent years ranks 30th-35th globally and 20th-23rd in Europe in terms of innovation performance, he added. Palkovics said the government aims to boost spending on innovation to 3% of GDP by the start of the next decade, adding that R&D&I spending helped increase GDP by an annual 0.3%.
The National Science Policy Council comprising representatives of science, the economy and the state was set up to provide the government with its opinion on R&D&I activities. The prime minister appointed its 11 members for a three-year term. Palkovics said the council’s prestige was guaranteed by the expertise of its members, adding that the body’s international relations were being managed by former European commissioner Günther Oettinger, who serves as its co-chair.
Answering a question, Palkovics said the former EU commissioner had accepted the post, but he would only participate in the body’s work once the Brussels investigation concerning possible conflict of interest is completed. Former EU commissioners are subject to conflict of interest rules for 2 years after their mandate ends. Palkovics said he hoped Oettinger would be able to attend the next meeting in the autumn of 2020.