"To improve and recognize innovation and R&D as a driving force of economic growth and a competitive edge for Hungary, while representing the needs of businesses to enhance this development."


In 2016 Hungary’s ranking fell from 50th to 80th in Innovation, according to the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). This was mainly due to the poor performance in university-industry collaboration (109th place), while the level of quality of scientific research institutions is very impressive (39th place). Therefore, the Policy Task Force decided to further examine solutions and best practices for enhancing university-business cooperation and gave special focus to this area in its annual plan. AmCham is dedicated to support the creation of an enabling innovation environment, where universities can retain high-level scientific goals, can establish and maintain close cooperation with industry and can also become successful in business activities.

For PTF meeting dates please click here.


The Innovation Policy Task Force has defined four main objectives for the 2017- 2020 period:

  • Focus on innovation as a cornerstone of macroeconomic policy;
  • Encourage long-term cooperation between large enterprises, SMEs and academia on R&D projects;
  • Stimulate high-value added R&D projects that lay a solid groundwork for sustainable growth after 2020;
  • Create scalable pilot opportunities driven by future technologies and innovation.


Main Achievements and Activities in 2017

“Cooperation For A More Competitive Hungary 2017” recommendation package

As a follow-up to the second AmCham-HIPA “Business Meets Government Summit” held in 2016, a detailed list of R&D&I-related suggestions and commitments were developed in the following four key areas, and were incorporated in the “Cooperation For A More Competitive Hungary” recommendation package:

  • The support of high value-added manufacturing and services, and the promotion of product and service innovation.
  • A coordinated government approach to stimulate corporate R&D spending and to attract new R&D centers to Hungary.
  • Suggestions specific to the current R&D grant system.
  • Encouraging cooperation between large corporations, universities, investors and startups.


Policy Success And Progress

We recognize several new policy measures and government initiatives that are in line with our recommendations. These include:

  • AmCham members have been actively involved in proposing amendments to the EKD (VIP) cash grant regime to specifically support technology-intensive investments as from January 2017. These changes particularly support innovative industrial solutions promoted by Industry 4.0 and in accordance with the Irinyi Plan of the government.
  • We have supported the creation of a new, R&D EKD cash grant regime introduced to attract new, as well as support the expansion of existing, R&D centers in Hungary as from January 2017. This new grant opportunity not only made cash grants available in Budapest and Pest County even for large companies, but also supported the government policy to promote high value-added projects in Hungary (“Invented in Hungary”).
  • AmCham also recognized that corporate R&D spending could also be increased if, beyond the current project based R&D qualification, R&D project groups could be qualified as R&D, thereby reducing the administrative burden of R&D qualification of companies with a large number of R&D projects each year. Our members have participated in various technical discussions with the Ministry of National Economy, and the government decree on R&D qualification was amended early in November 2017, making R&D qualification of project groups possible as from 2018. AmCham would like to thank members of the Policy Task Force for sharing their expertise and for their contribution to developing policy recommendations.

The “Business Meets Universities” Project

In line with our commitment to encourage long-term cooperation between large enterprises, SMEs and academia on R&D projects, the Innovation PTF launched the “Business Meets Universities” project in January 2017 with the mission to initiate a dialogue that creates a mutually beneficial advantage, and cooperation with measurable benefits for both the academic and the business spheres. In March, the PTF conducted a short, corporate survey among member companies to assess ongoing and completed joint university-industry R&D&I projects (typical types of joint projects, experiences of companies, challenges, etc.). Based on the findings of this survey, a list of priorities and discussion topics have been developed for the project. 

“Business Meets Universities Workshop”

The “Business Meets Universities Workshop” brought together representatives of universities, corporations, startups and government to examine key elements of the paradigm shift from the “Made in Hungary” approach to the “Invented in Hungary” principle by focusing on how to enhance the development of the local innovation ecosystem.

The event started with the presentations of two internationally well-known guest speakers, Christopher Ball, Director of the Central European Institute and speaking on behalf of Quinnipiac University and Prof. Dr. Aard Groen, Professor of Innovative Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Twente and the University of Groningen. They shared their experiences in industry-university collaboration and best practices and delivered some key messages, such as the importance of recognizing the need to adjust timing and deadlines, finding a “champion” to drive the projects, networks and policies.

In the second part of the workshop, all participants joined working groups and discussed how to identify best practice projects of business-university cooperation, and how to retain high level scientific goals and become successful in business activities. They also discussed how to build an innovation ecosystem around a large company, namely successful models for ecosystem hubs in the world. Since early June, AmCham has been organizing small group discussions with distinguished representatives of our university partners to better understand those factors that shape research and innovation activities in the academic sphere and also influence the level, content and success of cooperation with the industry. Participants of these meetings have discussed various topics, ranging from university IP policies, transparency in pricing of academic research services, R&D project management and human resource management by the university, promotion possibilities of university research competencies, level of internal and external cooperation in research projects, etc.

Prof. Dr. Aard Groen, Professor of Innovative Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Twente and the University of Groningen

For more information the Workshop, please visit: 

Third “Business Meets Government Summit”

In September, the Innovation PTF organized a roundtable discussion at the third “Business Meets Government Summit” to discuss key elements of an innovative ecosystem, with the participation of József Pálinkás, president of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and István Szabó, head of department at the Ministry of Human Capacities.

Main Achievements and Activities in 2016

Regular dialogue along main objectives maintained with decision-makers

As a follow-up to the first AmCham-HIPA-NHIT Business Meets Government Summit, held on October 27, 2015, the Policy Task Force formulated their recommendations on how to stimulate high-value added R&D projects in Hungary, how to attract more investments in R&D, and to help increase the country’s competitiveness. Recommendations were incorporated into the 19-point recommendation package titled “For a more competitive Hungary” that was published and sent to decision-makers in February 2016.

A detailed list of R&D&I related suggestions and commitments focused on four key areas:

  • (1) Coordinated Government approach to stimulate increased corporate R&D spending and R&D&I-related investments.
  • (2) Effective operation of a grant system, that will contribute to achieving  the Government’s following two goals regarding R&D spending: (i) to reach at least 1.8% GDP proportionate R&D spending by 2020, and (ii) corporate R&D spending should drive increased R&D spending/
  • (3) Hungary shall shift support from pure R+D to also include innovative projects
  • (4) Fostering long-term cooperation between startups and large companies; and the introduction of grant schemes aiming to support the startup ecosystem.

The Innovation PTF held several meetings with decision-makers to follow-up on these recommendations. On July 14, 2016 a discussion took place with two high-level government representatives dr. Antal Nikodémus, representing the Ministry for National Economy and Dr. Ferenc Friedler, Vice President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH) at AmCham.

In order to shift support to innovative projects, the introduction of a new R&D grant scheme has been further discussed at meetings with the Hungarian Investment Agency (HIPA).

The Innovation Policy Task Force is also dedicated to support the work of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office by sharing its industry expertise and knowledge of R&D related corporate processes. AmCham is represented at the Advisory Board of the NKFIH by its President Ferenc Pongrácz.

AmCham Brain Bar Lab: Industrial Internet, the game changer of our time

As part of the Brain Bar Budapest festival held in early June, AmCham’s Innovation Policy Task Force organized a Lab titled Industrial Internet, the game changer of our time, at the LogMeIn headquarters. The goal of the AmCham Lab was to examine and discuss key challenges that industrial internet, also known as Industry 4.0, is bringing for Hungary. In diverse teams involving business, government representatives, innovators and academia, participants discussed what different scenarios could be envisioned for Hungary’s future development and what will be the impact of industrial internet in seven areas:  education, work, manufacturing, services, social system, healthcare, services and entrepreneurship. Discussion focused on the actions we need to take today to become and stay competitive in these areas. Keynote speeches were delivered by Alan Kirman professor emeritus of Aix Marseille University on “Will AI replace humans in the near future?” and by Peter Rožek, Country Sales Director for CEE, Rockwell Automation on the “Connected Enterprise”.

Second Business Meets Government Summit

The Innovation PTF prepared and organized an innovation focused roundtable discussion, where participants discussed the following four topics and challenges in details:

  • Introduction of a new R&D grant scheme to attract new and stimulate the expansion of existing R&D centers of larger corporations in Hungary.
  • How to help R&D projects performed jointly by the academia and the corporate sector become more efficient in the context of the Higher Education and Industry Cooperation Center (FIEK).
  • How to enhance cooperation of large companies and startups, including mentorship relations where mentorship costs would be legally recognized.
  • How to train entry level IT specialists in large number, to ease labor shortage of skilled IT professionals within the shortest possible time

Future Goals

In 2018, the Innovation Policy Task Force plans to:

  • Prepare innovation and R&D related recommendations and positions;
  • Work closely with our government partners: Ministry for National Economy, National R&D and Innovation Office, Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, Hungarian Intellectual Property Office;
  • Organize an innovation flagship event – where key findings and recommendations of the “Business Meets Universities” project can be discussed with all stakeholders;
  • Organize an Innovation Roundtable at the “Business Meets Government Summit 2018”;
  • Share international and local best practices for a stronger local innovation system.

PTF Leadership:

Policy Task Force Lead: Mr. Csaba Márkus
Policy Task Force Co-Lead: Mr. Joerg Bauer
PTF Board Representative: Ms. Bea Előd


Deloitte Hungary

Mr. Csaba Márkus


Deloitte Hungary
36 1 428-6800
GE Hungary

Mr. Joerg Bauer


GE Hungary
36 1 237-6800
Citi Hungary

Ms. Bea Előd


Citi Hungary



+36 1 428-2089

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