The rector of Széchenyi István University (SZE) in Győr, Péter Földesi, and its Chancellor, Bálint Filep, Director of the Institute for Computer Science & Control (SZTAKI) belonging to the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH), László Monostori, and on behalf of the Secretariat of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKHT), Miklós Maróth, President of the Governing Board of ELKH, have signed a strategic partnership agreement. The strategic partnership offers a number of mutual benefits for the parties. It supports the widest possible social and economic exploitation of basic research results by encouraging collaboration between members of the R&D and innovation ecosystem.
At the same time, the strategic cooperation serves as a model for the establishment of dynamic program partnerships and integrated research collaborations between universities ranked in leading positions on international lists and the ELKH institution network, which can now join and actively participate in large-scale international R&D networks.
- Image: the SZTAKI Industry 4.0 lab in the SZE building in Győr
The initiative is closely aligned with ongoing collaborations between ELKH research sites, groups and universities, including higher education, joint research and joint applications, and the sharing of research infrastructure. Strategic partnerships with universities help make research careers more attractive, promote the supply of researchers, improve the international visibility of universities and research network institutions, and encourage research and innovation activities involving industry partners.
This year, Széchenyi István University has been included in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) list, which ranks the world’s universities according to the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations, including economic and social impact and the social responsibility of institutions. Through this partnership, the university is expected to further strengthen its position in this and other highly prestigious university rankings. It also provides substantial support to the university in increasing its participation in international mobility programs, which heavily promote the acquisition of student and research talent. All this will help the university attain prominent positions in international rankings as, in addition to the quality of teaching and good practices at the university, the evaluation takes into account the research and innovation activities the university is involved in, as well as the number of scientific publications and indicators of excellence. The results achieved in the THE ranking also show Győr and its surrounding region maintaining and even improving its position against prominent rivals such as Vienna, Bratislava and Wrocław, when it comes to innovation.
- Image: SZTAKI research fellow Dr Imre Paniti in the university lab in Győr
SZTAKI and SZE have been successfully cooperating for years in the field of automotive research and cyberphysics manufacturing and logistics systems at the University’s Automotive Research Center. The research institute contributes to world-class automotive research in Győr through the results of exploratory research while also supporting typically regional technical and scientific R&D&I activities through its presence. One of the hubs for this collaboration is the Center of Excellence in Vehicle Technology Research (J3K) established by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and hosted by the Széchényi István University in Győr. In recent years, its operation has been funded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Audi Hungaria, the University and the city of Győr. Additionally, SZTAKI has a site in one of the SZE buildings in Győr where the two institutions operate a model Industry 4.0 system primarily focusing on robotics. The long-term stability and effectiveness of the research is also ensured by the University’s ongoing Thematic Excellence Program, which apart from vehicle technology and Industry 4.0, also incorporated the precision crop production research taking place in Mosonmagyaróvár among its key topics. The program developments carried out by the Center for Higher Education and Industrial Cooperation (FIEK), which implements R&D projects in the automotive, information technology and telecommunications industries, serve the same purpose. These are intended to boost the innovation capacity of SMEs in the region.
In addition to outstanding scholarship opportunities, a further attraction for talented students will be the ability to test research and development work on electric vehicle propulsion for self-driving vehicles being carried out in Győr on the ZalaZONE Automotive Test Track, which is currently under construction. As a key element of talent management, the University and Test Track provide a special opportunity for all three university student competition teams (SZEnergy Team, Arrabona Racing Team, SZEngine – Formula Student Team) to prepare for world-class competitions under professional conditions. Researchers from Széchenyi István University and SZTAKI also provide effective support for these preparations.
Through its Framework Program for Excellence, the ELKH Secretariat helps coordinate the priority research projects of universities with the EHEA’s strategic scientific programs. The Secretariat is currently preparing a scheme to support grant applications that will increase the chances of successful application for EU innovation tenders, either individually or as part of a consortium. Joint application opportunities and joint research contribute to the development and reinforcement of the country’s R&D and innovation ecosystem. Apart from promoting the wider economic and social utilization of research results, this will support Hungary in its efforts to be at the forefront of R&D and innovation in Europe and the world by bolstering scientific excellence.