Strategic planning framework of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network

Summary of ELKH’s objectives and core values

1. Scientific objectives

The Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) is a place for the cultivation of science; exploratory and applied research. ELKH is committed to scientific freedom. Hungarian science is considered the essential part of our nation’s advanced, high culture, ultimately defining the image of the country. ELKH’s active results are a key contributor to the Hungarian research system where cooperation is sought with other stakeholders in the system, such as with research institutes and universities. The cooperation between ELKH and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is of particular importance. Longer-term programs form the axis of the exploratory research work at the institutes and by these means, ELKH aspires to elevate Hungary to stand among the most successful nations conducting smart research that advances the general development of Hungary. ELKH actively works to strengthen the international role of Hungarian science and to promote research through the framework of international collaborations. In defining research objectives, ELKH addresses the critical issues arising from the nature of research, and takes into account the needs of topics and technologies that are important for Europe, notably for Hungary.

The distinctive task of the ELKH research centers and research institutes is to serve the interests of Hungary in the fields of both natural and human sciences. The fundamental goal of their scientific research is to either directly or indirectly support the development and competitive edge of Hungarian industry and agriculture. For this purpose, ELKH is tasked to consider application possibilities inherent in research and in certain instances, to utilize research results on a voluntary basis. ELKH shall be responsible to establish an understanding regarding the work of the government and the state administration in connection to the means of scientific research. Through its support for the humanities, it also seeks to develop science – as a part of Hungarian culture – and to disseminate the outcomes internationally.

2. Organizational objectives

ELKH operates on the basis of a transparent management system and is commited to a performance-based assessment. As an organization, the research network operates independent of political considerations and envisions much the same manner from its employees. ELKH considers all employed personnel to regard the research network as their own; to represent its interests accordingly.

3. Funding objectives

Scientific research in Hungary is predominantly financed by the state. In certain cases, to a limited extent, manufacturing companies may provide support for specific purposes. The research network is only able to accomplish its mission well, if the research does not have to depend on capricious calls for proposals, but it is rather based on a sound economic foundation. To this end, it shall be achieved that the network receives the financial support needed for safe operation from the state budget, including all or at least 80 percent of the expenses covering the cost of research undertaken by personnel employed for an indefinite period. Economic stability is an essential precondition for well-defined, purposeful work. It is all-important to transition from the institutes’ current core funding model to one that is transparent, predictable, yet performance-oriented. Research and funding both require to be centered around the management of research projects, therefore decisions should be made as close as possible to those concerned, and in line with the principle of subsidiarity. In addition to conducting quality research, the institutes also provide a wide range of public services. These services should also be regarded as projects, funding of which should be provided.

In order to ensure harmony between the goals of scientific research and the funding provider state, the directors of the institutes – with full knowledge of the objectives of the National Science Policy Council, the directions of international scientific development, the needs of the Hungarian society and the physical and intellectual capabilities of their institutes – shall propose strategic research concepts to the Governing Board. The Governing Board shall select the most promising fields and based on the Board’s well-founded decisions, the institutes then draw up their longer-term and annual work plans. The Governing Board shall approve the institutes’ work plans and based on this information shall conduct funding negotiations with the state.

4. The relationship between the research institutes and the Governing Board

In an effort to ensure that the directors of the research institutes conduct the sites’ professional work successfully, they will be provided more financial and administrative independence than at any other time. The Governing Board seeks to develop a system of regular state funding and periodical calls for proposal that significantly reduce the bureaucratic burden on both the researchers and the research institute managers. In accordance with institutional conditions, the Board strives to assign the necessary decision-making powers to the respective research units.
With these extended powers, the responsibility associated to different managerial levels necessarily increases. The success of the institutes will attract financial and moral recognition of the research site directors, while a lack of expected results would lead to a successor.

5. The institutes and the workforce

A high-quality workforce is essential for successful operations. It is vital to obtain and retain a high-quality workforce and to ensure its continuous professional development and future career advancement. The general and specific conditions for this shall be developed by the Governing Board and the research site directors.

Guaranteeing inspiring working conditions is a prerequisite to retain an accountable workforce. To this end, continuous and planned work is required for the renewal of the research infrastructure, the sources of which may be either targeted state support or calls for proposals.

6. External relations of the institutes

Efforts are in process to develop collaboration between research institutes and universities. This work justifies two purposes. One is to establish research collaborations and consequently transfer latest research results to the fields of university education. The second is to explore and acquire the appropriate future supply of outstanding researchers.
The ELKH Secretariat seeks to integrate the network’s research into the world of international research partnerships. To accomplish this, it will be necessary to establish bilateral or multilateral research agreements and accession to international organizations.

Signed by Dr. Miklós Maróth

The Strategic Planning Framework of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network Secretariat was adopted by the Governing Board on October 6th, 2020.