Policy Background

National research and innovation in Hungary is largely influenced by policy documents including the New Hungary Development Plan (SZÉCHENYI 2020 strategy). In January 2011, a chapter of the Plan, entitled Science - Innovation Programme was launched. The document sets objectives for science, technology and innovation and identifies thematic priorities. Szechenyi summarizes 15 Operational Programmes (OP), including the Transport OP and the Economic Development OP. The Economic Development OP also has research, development and innovation priorities on its agenda. The European Commission additionally published a review of the Hungarian Research and Innovation System, a Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility explaining the seven policy messages adopted in Hungary.

The transport sector is on the government's investment agenda .The scope of transport research in Hungary is determined by the Transport Operation Programme, and by policy documents that set the framework for the development of the economy and transport system. The development of the national transport system is supported by the Research and Development Concept in the transport sector, which is a part of the Transport Operational Programme.

The Hungarian government has adopted a long-term national transport strategy, which focuses on the future development of infrastructure and its economic and environmental sustainability. Key documents for the transport sector include:

Institutional framework of transport research

In Hungary, the National Research, Innovation and Science Policy Council was set up in December 2010 to coordinate government decisions on science, technology and innovation policy decisions. It is the highest level co-ordination and decision-making body in the domain of science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. They have four major tasks:

  1. Make decisions on STI policy issues of strategic relevance and related major projects, on financing STI, on the utilisation strategy of the Research and Technological Innovation Fund (KTIA in Hungarian), on the evaluation strategy of STI policy tools, on the report on the use of the National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA)
  2. Give opinion on the report on the use of KTIA, on the drafts of major STI policy documents submitted to the government, and on the utilisation strategy of the OTKA
  3. Make proposals to the government on legislation and regulation concerning STI issues
  4. Take part in the co-ordination of the governmental tasks concerning STI (in devising the STI budget and monitoring the implementation)

At sectoral level, research and development (R&D) is managed by the specific ministries. The key ministries with responsibilities for various domains of science, technology and innovation policies are:

At the operational level, the National Research, Development and Innovation Office develops policy on research, development and innovation, and manages international R&D cooperation. They are the primary source of advice on RDI policy for the Hungarian Government. 

Transport and infrastructure policies are developed and implemented by various ministerial departments. One such one department is the Deputy State Secretary for Transport, which comes under the Ministry of National Development. Transport-related projects require close interaction with the Ministry of Rural Development (with regards to urban planning), the Ministry of National Economy (with regards to long-term national strategies and sectoral plans), and the Ministry of Interior (with regards to transport safety and security).

 As with any research in Hungary, transport research can be funded in three ways:

  1. State funding;
  2. Private funding;
  3. EU funding sources.

Up until 2012, the main national source for funding research, development and innovation policy was the Research and Technological Innovation Fund, managed by the Research and Technological Innovation Council.

Research is now funded by two governmental bodies:

  1. Primarily the National Research, Development and Innovation Office
  2. National Development Agency

All research projects financed by the state budget are included in the Hungarian Current Research Information System, which is a free access database. All Ministries and Public Offices are required to contribute to this database.

Projects co-financed by the EU Structural Funds are managed by the National Development Agency. The major sources of EU funding are the EU Cohesion Fund and ERDF.

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

Current ongoing funding sources or programmes related to research in Hungary include:

  • Territorial and settlement development Operational Programme - aims to support regional, decentralised economic development, increase employment based on local resources, and integrate sustainable urban development actions (including sustainable urban transport) in the framework of a dedicated priority.
  • KMUFA - Transport Sub-programme (KOZ: annually since 1997) - objectives include introducing intelligent transport systems, increasing transport safety, as well as moderating environmental problems caused by transport.
  • Interreg V-A - Austria-Hungary Programme - aims to foster cross-border cooperation along the Austro-Hungarian border, including promoting regional sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in network infrastructures.
  • Central Europe Programme – focussing on aspects including cooperating on both low-carbon strategies in Central Europe and on transport to better connect Central Europe.
  • Integrated Transport Operational Programme (ITOP) - includes the main transport infrastructure investments.