Innovation

Mission

"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."

Overview

AmCham is dedicated to support the creation of an enabling innovation environment in Hungary. The Innovation Policy Task Force recognizes a positive trend in making Hungary an attractive location for R&D centers and value added investments. In 2018, the PTF focused on fostering dialogue on its key recommendations with regards to the Business Meets Universities project with all relevant stakeholders.


Objectives

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 2018

“Cooperation for a More Competitive Hungary 2018” recommendation package

In January 2018, AmCham sent the “Cooperation for a More Competitive Hungary 2018” recommendation package to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his cabinet. The package incorporates those points that have been developed within the Business Meets Universities project by the Innovation PTF.

President of the National Research, Innovation and Development Office Dr. József Pálinkás sent a letter to AmCham president Dr. Farkas Bársony empasizing that the objectives described in AmCham’s Policy Agenda and recommendation package of 2018 include very similar objectives to those in the renewed version of the National Research, Development and Innovation Strategy that was published for public consultation in 2017. A detailed comparison of the AmCham recommendations and the NRDI strategy has also been developed and was sent to AmCham as an attachement to the letter from President Pálinkás.

On June 22, a closed door meeting was organized between AmCham leaders and the Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics, where Innovation PTF leads Csaba Márkus and Joerg Bauer presented key recommendations of the task force and the minister shared his opinion on each point raised. On September 20, AmCham CEO Írisz Lippai-Nagy and PTF co-lead Csaba Márkus had a meeting with president Zoltán Birkner and vice president István Szabó representing the national R&D&I Office to discuss the recommendations of AmCham.

Intellectual property, a cornerstone of innovation

On January 18, Dr. Viktor Łuszcz, President of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) and colleagues gave an overview of HIPO’s activities and goals at a high-level meeting organized with the AmCham Innovation PTF, where participants engaged in an informative discussion with HIPO representatives about the possible ways of strengthening business academic cooperation in research and development and innovation. A key area with regards to tech transfer activities of universities is developing a legally transparent ecosystem which promotes the creation and commercialization of intellectual property. Participants agreed that IP is the cornerstone of innovation, and there is a need for an increased focus and awareness of IP issues among all stakeholders.

                

Extraordinary PTF Meeting

At its February 1 meeting, members had the opportunity to meet Dr. László György, PADMA program director of Neumann János University and László Lengyel, director of FIEK Budapest University of Technology and Economics and to learn more about the universities’ goals in the field of industry cooperation.

V4 Conference on the “Third Mission” of universities

On March 21,  Dr. István Szabó, Head of Department of the Ministry of Human Capacities and colleagues attend the AmCham Innovation Policy Task Force meeting and discuss with participants the issues of possible cooperation, including those related to the organization of the “V4 Conference on the Third Mission of higher edication and innovation networks in the Visegrad Group”. Based on the “Business Meets Universities“ project launched by the PTF in 2017, and the advocacy recommendations formulated as a result of the project, the Ministry requested the AmCham Innovation PTF to support the organization of this regional conference. 

On May 10, a V4 Conference was organized by the Ministry of Human Capacities and Tempus Public Foundation in collaboration with the AmCham Innovation PTF. The aim of the conference was to bring together stakeholders of innovation networks to discuss and present best practices and new forms of cooperation between higher education institutions, local governments, businesses and professional organizations. The second panel discussion titled “How Can University Excellence Boost Innovation?” focused on the acquisition of title, valuation, management and utilization of intellectual property by universities in the Visegrad Group. The prestigious panel was moderated by PTF co-lead Joerg Bauer and included representatives coming from both academia and the corporate sector of the V4 countries.

               
     

IV. Business Meets Government Summit

On October 1, the Innovation PTF organized a roundtable discussion at the IV. Business Meets Government Summit to discuss key elements of an innovative ecosystem and business university collaboration in R&D&I, with the participation of István Szabó, VP of the National R&D&I Office, Ádám Szigeti, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, and with the representatives of several government and academic institutions as well as businesses.

                

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: https://www.amcham.hu/immediate-action-key-to-put-hungary-back-in-the-game-in-the-global-competitiveness-race 

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 2019, 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: Dr. Dávid Kőhegyi

COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP

GE Hungary

Mr. Attila Ferik

Co-Chair

GE Hungary
36 1 237-6800
DLA Piper Posztl, Nemescsói, Györfi-Tóth és Társai Ügyvédi Iroda

Dr. Dávid Kőhegyi

Co-Chair

DLA Piper Posztl, Nemescsói, Györfi-Tóth és Társai Ügyvédi Iroda
36 1 510-1100
Zsuzsanna VARGA

Zsuzsanna VARGA

Coordinator

+36 1 428-2089

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