The transformation of basic research governance in Hungary: implications for research management
Topic: Policy, Strategy, Evaluation and Foresight
The presentation aims to analyse the interplay between organizational transformation, staff development and regulatory framework by introducing the audience to some of the specific tools employed, the base of use and range of implementation modalities. In this context, we wish to present the efforts to introduce interoperability of the system on an international level, by using and adapting European models, including both works developed within the EU institutions, as well as the experience of European partners and beyond.
Headquartered in Budapest, the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) Secretariat is a non-profit budgetary organization established in 2019. ELKH is responsible for the management and operation of the largest publicly funded independent scientific research network in Hungary. The interdisciplinary research network is dedicated to basic and applied research as the fundamental pillar of Hungary’s scientific domain, devoted exclusively to scientific research excellence and the advancement of science.
ELKH’s mission is to operate Hungary’s publicly funded research network more efficiently with continuous emphasis on performance, transparency, and excellence. It also supports the efforts to translate the results of basic research into solutions that contribute to the tackling of domestic and global challenges. For the past two years, significant progress has been made in improving efficiency and effectiveness of the network, while continuously supporting excellence.
Along the previously mentioned principles, the strategic planning framework of ELKH is supported by a set of objectives, including:
• Scientific objectives as related to a high level performance of research; and allegiance to scientific freedom and responsibility.
• Organizational objectives as defined by a transparent management system and commitment to a performance-based assessment, and autonomous from political considerations.
• Funding objectives recognized as sound economic policies that research should be founded on.
• Finally, our international objectives focus on the development of international research partnerships that are indispensable for significant scientific achievements.
The realisation of these objectives is supported not only by an array of new internal regulations, but also by new toolkits (e.g. innovation management support, research performance evaluation, Horizon Europe workshops, new financial mechanism etc.)
Compared to the previous, decade-long model of research governance in Hungary, the establishment of ELKH with its new approach, goals and tools, the research landscape of Hungary has been significantly transformed. As the envisaged reforms are still ongoing, it is premature to see their long-term impact. However, it is encouraging that the first results of the transformation can already be seen and the overall feedback on the introduced changes is positive.
The presentation would give an overview of the experiences and lessons learned so far from the biggest transformation of research governance in Hungary in the past 30 years.
It is intended to adapt this paper in order to be presented at the European Open Science Forum 2022 (ESOF 2022) of EuroScience, the pan-European grassroots organisation for the support and promotion of science and technology in Europe.