In a recent interview on public news television M1, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation Balázs Hankó provided insights into Hungary’s endeavours to enhance international collaborations. He highlighted two key initiatives: the Pannónia Programme, facilitating international student exchange, and the HU-rizont programme, designed to support international research.
Hankó underscored Hungary’s strides in scientific and educational excellence, noting that 12 Hungarian universities now rank among the top five per cent globally. He outlined ambitious goals, aiming for one Hungarian university to enter the world’s top 100 by 2030, with three making it into the top 100 institutions in the European Union.
To achieve these objectives, Hungary is intensifying its international programmes and research collaborations.
The Pannónia Programme, launched this year with a budget of 10 billion forints, aims to provide students, educators, and researchers the opportunity to experience some of the world’s best universities. The programme, expected to benefit 8,000 participants next year, will accept credits earned abroad, supported by a monthly scholarship ranging from 350,000 to 500,000 forints. Higher education institutions can apply for the tender until the end of January, followed by student submissions. Currently, approximately 10,000 students, teachers, and researchers participate in such programmes, but with the Pannónia Programme coordinated by the Tempus Public Foundation, Hungary anticipates doubling this figure.
Hankó also detailed the HU-rizont programme, a research-focused initiative with an allocated budget of eight billion forints in 2024. The programme supports the research costs of foreign universities partnered with Hungarian institutions. The Hungarian government finances these expenses, with research objectives defined by Hungarian universities. The programme focuses on three key areas: promoting a healthy lifestyle, digitalization, and the green transition. Evaluation of applications will be conducted by the Research Excellence Council. Apart from the HU-rizont programme, an additional six billion forints have been earmarked to support international researchers conducting research in Hungary.
Addressing questions about education, Hankó highlighted that alongside the salary increase for public school educators,
the government is also raising the salaries of vocational education instructors.
With an average increase of 32.2 per cent, instructors will see the raise implemented in early February, amounting to a total of 60 billion forints. This encompasses both state and non-state vocational education institutions, with starting salaries for instructors ranging from 582,000 to 620,000 forints and experienced educators potentially earning up to 800,000 forints. This marks the third salary increase for vocational education workers since 2020.
Moreover, Hankó discussed continued support for universities not funded under the Horizon Europe programme. From last year’s 5 billion forints, 12 universities received support for 43 research projects. This year, approximately 5 billion forints will be allocated for a similar continuation of the programme. Highlighting the commitment to international research collaboration, Hankó emphasized a total investment of 24 billion forints this year, representing an unprecedented amount for Hungary. He mentioned Brussels’ prolonged delay in responding to their communication and the decision to proceed independently by launching their research programme.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/M1/KIM/MTI