The Hungarian government will call a tender in September for 35 billion forints (EUR 91.3m) to support innovative projects at SMEs as well as cooperation with universities and research institutions.
Balázs Hankó, state secretary for innovation and higher education, said on Tuesday that the funding will be targeted at projects in the areas of digitalization, healthcare and the green transition that produce patents and products that generate revenue. The aim is to foster partnerships between economic players and universities and research institutions, he added. SMEs with annual revenues over 300 million forints and headcounts of at least 15 may apply individually or in consortia for part of the funding. Another component of the tender requires SMEs to partner with universities and research institutions, giving them at least a 20% stake in projects, while also allowing the involvement of big companies with up to a 35% project share. Successful applicants may get up to 30% of the funding in advance but must complete their projects within two years, with some exceptions, during which time 85% of the funding is paid out. The last 15% of the funding is awarded upon completion of the project. Deputy state secretary for innovation, László Bódis noted that the ratio of Hungarian businesses involved in product development had risen from 12% in 2014 to over 20% by 2020, but said the rate still fell short of the 40% European average. Around 2.5% of Hungarian medium-sized enterprises file patent applications each year, under the 4.5% ratio in Poland and the more than 7% ratio in Czechia, he added. Just 11% of local innovative businesses partner with universities, a rate that should be increased, he said.