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. In 2021, the European Union’s seven-year research and innovation framework programme for the period between 2021 and 2027, was launched, promising 30% more funding than the previous Horizon 2020 programme to support European research excellence and innovation to address key societal challenges.
The government has approved the New Hungary Development Plan (NHDP) which defines the areas in which available funding will be allocated at a sectoral and regional level. The NHDP includes 15 operational programmes, including the Transport Operational Programme. 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:
- ERTRAC-Hungary Vision 2030: National Technology Platform for road transport - established with the help of the National Office of Research and Technology to improve Hungary's competitiveness and quality of life for the population.
- Transport Development Plan (2015/2025)
- Emission reduction strategies for the transport sector in Hungary
- Freight Transport Strategy for Budapest
Research, Development and Innovation Strategy of Hungary (2021-2030) - The RDI strategy sets out three main overarching objectives for domestic innovation policy:
- making more use than at present of the research results of public research institutions (research institutes and higher education institutions);
- improving the innovation performance of domestic enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises;
- strengthening cooperation between actors in the R&D and innovation system.
The National Research, Innovation and Science Policy Council was set up in December 2010 to coordinate government decisions on science, technology and innovation policy. The council has four major tasks:
- 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)
- 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
- Make proposals to the government on legislation and regulation concerning STI issues
- Take part in the co-ordination of the governmental tasks concerning STI (in devising the STI budget and monitoring the implementation)
The National Research, Development and Innovation Office is responsible for creating a stable institutional framework for the governmental coordination of the national research, development and innovation ecosystem, provide predictable funding and implements an efficient and transparent use of available resources. Their main responsibilities include:
- discussing all the decision preparatory documents relevant to development policy
- decision-making on (i) major action plans and proposals to be submitted to the European Commission, (ii) high priority development projects, and (iii) project proposals seeking public support over HUF1bn (~EUR3.3m)
- providing opinion on the rules and procedures guiding the support schemes
- monitoring the major development projects and actions
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:
- The Ministry of National Economy (the Minister also supervises the National Research, Development and Innovation Office)
- The Ministry of National Development (the Minister oversees the Research, Development and Innovation Fund and the National Development Agency that manages measures co-financed by the EU Structural Funds)
- The Ministry of National Resources (the Minister supervises all levels of education, including higher education, and coordinating science policy)
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:
- State funding
- Private funding
- 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 largely funded by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH).
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.
Research Infrastructures in Hungary is a document that introduces the situation and vision of the Hungarian research infrastructures. It aims to present Hungary’s plans around important RDI resources (namely the research infrastructures) to the European Union.
The Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) is a policy tool that has been used in the European Union since the 2014-2020 period. In the EU financial programming cycle 2021-2027, smart specialisation strategies are expected to contribute in their implementation to the EU’s “Smarter Europe” policy objective, as well as to the development of regional economies and the strengthening of structural adjustment to industrial transformation and digitalisation.
Current ongoing funding sources or programmes related to research in Hungary include:
- Integrated Transport Development Operational Programme Plus (2021-2027) - through this transport development programme, Hungary will use EU funding to improve sustainable urban mobility and sustainable national transport. Investments will benefit urban mobility, the national rail network, the EuroVelo cycling network, and road safety. The programme directs funding to support sustainable mobility actions as identified in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans or similar mobility strategies.
- 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.