Brussels, 17 July 2002
Hungary is looking forward to the implementation of the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) for research and technological development and particularly the introduction of the new tool, networks of excellence, the Hungarian deputy secretary of state for research and development, András Siegler has told CORDIS News.
Participation in the Fifth Framework programme (FP5) and in selected parts of the Fourth Framework programme (FP4) has enabled Hungary to bring its national science policy closer to that of the EU and to prepare its researchers for cooperation with partners from other European countries.
'Preparation for FP6 didn't start with direct, very visible preparations for FP6 itself, but with FP5. [...] It's a long procedure, so it was good to start already in FP5,' Dr Siegler told CORDIS News.
'In the beginning we had many difficulties. The science system in many of the candidate countries is very internationalised, but still, participation in research in Europe in the EU context is very different from traditional bilateral cooperation. It's very competitive and needs, in addition to scientific excellence, substantial management skills. This was a major asset in the learning procedure that we have gone through, and that learning has not finished,' said Dr Siegler.
Dr Siegler believes that the networks which Hungary formed during proposal preparations for FP5 will stand the country in good stead for the introduction of networks of excellence, one of the new instruments to be implemented in FP6. 'The embedding of Hungary and the other candidate countries is a major result of the last four years,' said Dr Siegler.
In addition to these networks, Hungary has also established some very successful research centres. Following an EU call for centres of excellence in 1999, six Hungarian centres were selected. 'These should be the seeds for the networks of excellence programme,' said Dr Siegler.
A strong education base will also benefit Hungary, the deputy secretary of state believes. 'Highly skilled labour in the scientific sense is available and is a potential for setting up critical mass, for example in Networks of excellence, where we have high expectations for FP6,' he said. 'Of course we also expect that our scientific labour is considered of equal value to everybody else in terms of the distribution of financing in networks of excellence.'
Hungary has also brought its own policies into line with those of the EU, but without ignoring national needs, as Dr Siegler emphasised: 'I wouldn't say it's a one-to-one mapping of the European programme [...], this would not be a very clever move, but certainly our own priorities have been influenced by the European science and technology as well as our own needs.'
Specifically, over the last couple of years, new restrictions have come into force regarding the projects chosen for national funding. There is now a minimum size for projects and the areas of research eligible for funding are also restricted, mirroring the philosophy of concentration, as evident in FP6.
For further information on the Hungarian Ministry of education, please consult the following web address: http://www.om.hu