The Eötvös Loránd Research Network (hereinafter referred to as ELKH) is a place for the cultivation of science, exploratory and applied research through its research centers, research institutes and supported research groups operating at universities and other public institutions (hereinafter collectively referred to as research sites). It ensures the freedom of scientific research and the conditions for the development of the research sites; it supports the enhancement of the international competitiveness of the research sites and the effective operation of scientific workshops. It places great emphasis on supporting the achievement of social goals that are important for Hungary. It considers Hungarian science to be an indispensable part of the nation's high culture, which fundamentally determines the image of the country. It is an active, and based on its results essential participant in the Hungarian research, development and innovation ecosystem, seeking cooperation with other actors in the sector, including research institutes and universities. It attaches particular importance to cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Long-term programs form the core of research work at the ELKH research sites. Through these activities the research network aims to support Hungary grow among the most successful nations in research and to promote the country’s overall development. ELKH takes an active part in strengthening the international role of Hungarian science and in doing research with focus on international cooperation. To this end, ELKH does not only consider the issues inherent to the nature of research when defining its research objectives, but also addresses needs related to topics and technologies relevant to Europe and Hungary in particular. ELKH applies a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach when engaging in finding scientific solutions to complex social, economic and environmental challenges.
Tasks of the ELKH research sites include serving Hungary’s strategic objectives in various fields of natural and human sciences. An important purpose of scientific research is to contribute to the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy. Broadening and strengthening of cooperation with actors in the Hungarian and international R&D and innovation sector is a key priority with the aim of enhancing the country’s innovation performance and encouraging leveraging research results in domestic practice. ELKH’s research results also support the evidence-based policy making.
The ELKH Secretariat helps preserve and exploit the intellectual property generated by the research network, make better use of external research funding, and renew scientific research, as well as encourages international dissemination of results. It is committed to supporting the open science initiative to increase the transparency of scientific research and make research results more widely available. In line with the sustainability objectives of the EU Green Deal the ELKH Secretariat aims to ensure the application of climate and environmental considerations within the network through the development of climate and environmental recommendations adapted to the activities of the research network.
ELKH operates under a transparent management system that aims to develop the research network as an open and inspiring organization, producing high-quality scientific output according to international standards. Research sites carry out their tasks as institutions independent of political considerations and expect a similar approach from their staff.
The state also plays a major role in funding scientific research both by providing the necessary budgetary resources for the operation of research sites and by means of specific research grants. The research network can only perform its tasks well if research is not dependent on the contingency of available grant schemes and support programs but is based on a solid economic foundation. Therefore, it should be ensured that the network receives possibly all the financial support necessary for its secure operation, including the costs of research supported by the Governing Board, the main decision-making body of ELKH, and carried out by its permanent staff, from the central budget. Economic stability is an essential precondition for effectively planned, focused work.
Research sites operate under a new transparent, predictable and performance-oriented funding system, with clear objective targets to maximize resources. The principle of subsidiarity applies to the allocation of resources within research sites, meaning that decisions on research and funding are made by the managers responsible for the research projects within defined limits. In addition to conducting research the sites also provide a wide range of public services.
Alignment between the goals of scientific research and those of the funding state can be achieved by the leaders of research sites developing strategic research concepts also considering the objectives of the National Science Policy Council, international trends in science, the needs of Hungarian society and the physical and intellectual capabilities of their research sites. The Governing Board selects the most promising concepts in consultation with its advisory panel, the Scientific Council. Based on this decision the sites prepare their annual research work plans, which are also approved by the Governing Board. The main scientific activities of the research sites are determined by the strategic research concepts and research plans approved by the Governing Board, which, if implemented effectively and to international standards, will enable the research sites to become Centers of Excellence in the relevant research topic.
The relationship between the research sites and the Governing Board
Directors of the research sites are granted a high degree of autonomy both from a financial and administrative standpoint to ensure successful professional work. The Governing Board seeks to develop a funding scheme that significantly reduces the administrative burden on researchers and research site directors when allocating central budget funds and occasional grants. With extended powers the responsibility of directors also increases. The success of the research sites will bring financial and moral recognition for the site directors, while lack of expected results will drive the necessary changes.
Successful work depends on having a high-profile workforce, therefore attracting and retaining talented employees and ensuring their continuous professional development and career advancement is a key priority. In support of this endeavor research centers and institutes run a performance evaluation system approved by the Governing Board. There is also a need to develop a competitive career model for researchers, assisted by internships, talent development communities and mobility programs.
In order to retain a top-quality workforce, it is essential to ensure adequate working conditions. Therefore, the renewal of the research infrastructure should be an ongoing planned task with costs covered by targeted public funds, as well as EU and other international tenders.
ELKH respects the human values, dignity and uniqueness of individuals working in the research network. It strives to promote equal treatment and create equality for all employees within the network, including employees protected by specific legislation. In this context, it attaches great importance to ensuring equal opportunities for female researchers and to encouraging greater participation of women in science.
Domestic and international relations of the research sites
Efforts should be made to foster collaborations among research sites and higher education institutions, which serve additional purposes beyond joint research. A key priority is to bring the latest research results to university education and to ensure that there is an adequate supply of young researchers.
ELKH’s mission is to strengthen its presence in the international scientific domain exploiting the opportunities offered by international science diplomacy and research cooperation. Focusing on global dimensions of scientific research, the ELKH Secretariat seeks to promote the network’s bilateral and multilateral research collaborations by encouraging cross-border partnerships. This will reinvigorate the international relationships of the research sites and researchers and will support a more effective participation in EU research programs.
Budapest, June 29, 2022