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Hungarian innovation policy implements comprehensive reform measures

Minister of State for Economic Strategy Zoltán Cséfalvay emphasized at the press conference held in Budapest prior to the seminar on the innovation strategies of Hungary and Sweden that Hungary has recently carried out several profound changes with regard to its innovation policy. The event were organised within the framework of the Swedish-Hungarian Innovation Days 2013 series.

Zoltán Cséfalvay mentioned among these measures that the concept of research & development and innovation had been legally defined, the application of EU and domestic funding had been coordinated and a breakthrough had been achieved regarding the financing of innovative start-ups via venture capital.

The Minister of State signalled that the Hungarian Government is about to adopt the country’s innovation strategy in coming weeks following a broad social coordination process.

He pointed out that the share of products with high added value within Hungarian exports is significant, and in order to improve this position it is necessary to have an innovation policy which can boost competitiveness. He stressed that the number of innovative enterprises must be significantly increased, and in his opinion the increase of investments by venture capital firms in Hungary signals that this is indeed taking place. He also underlined that while in 2011 Hungary was ranked 5th in Europe with regard to venture capital investments as a percentage of GDP, in 2012 the country advanced to first place in the ranking.

Zoltán Cséfalvay said that one of the innovation strategy cornerstones had been determined as being that expenditures on R&D&I should be increased to 1.8 percent of GDP. In 2014-2020, he added, 60 percent or HUF400bn of available resources from cohesion and structural funds shall be spent directly on R&D&I within the framework of the economic operative programme, but there will also be substantial additional financial means available for these fields within other operative programmes.

At the press conference, Her Excellency the Ambassador of Sweden to Hungary Karin Olofsdotter emphasised: Europe must stay innovative in a competitive global market, and the exchange of experiences on innovation strategies may stimulate the growth of global competitiveness. As she added, as a highly innovative country, Hungary has been a key partner to Sweden.

Senior Advisor for European and International Research and Innovation of Sweden’s Ministry for Enterprise, Energy and Communications Michael Jacob said at the press conference that after the innovation strategy for Sweden had been formulated, a law on research and innovation activities was adopted. The Senior Advisor stressed the significance of promoting cooperation between enterprises and the academic community, of knowledge-based development, international cooperation and free markets, along with the importance of solving the challenge posed by an aging society, of improving public administration and establishing innovative regions.

Member of Board of the Swedish Chamber of Trade and Deputy CEO of Ericsson Hungary Roland Jakab spoke about the significance of his company’s relations with Hungarian universities. Ericsson, which spends USD5bn annually on R&D&I, has one of Europe’s largest research centres in Hungary, which includes four R&D facilities.