Introducing a new Member of the ISC: Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH), Hungary

The ELKH joined the ISC in 2021. In this brief interview, we hear more about the organization and its activities.

The Eötvös Loránd Research Network, based in Hungary, became a Full Member (Category 2) of the ISC in January 2021. ELKH President Miklós Maróth tells us more about the organization.

Please tell us about the Eötvös Loránd Research Network and its activities

Headquartered in Budapest, the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) Secretariat is a non-profit budgetary organization established on 1 August 2019 and 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.

The ELKH Secretariat is mandated by its Governing Board and advised by its scientific advisory bodies. The 13 members of the Governing Board hold distinguished achievements in their respective fields and provide scientific & strategic leadership.

During our first 18 months, the ELKH Secretariat has been enhancing the cooperation between members of the Hungarian research and innovation sector by attracting and maintaining talent and promoting excellence in scientific research. Since its establishment, ELKH is most proud of our achievements in shepherding the research network more efficiently and effectively and continues the incentive of demonstrating excellence. In addition to conducting basic and applied research, ELKH strongly supports the strengthening of Hungary’s competitiveness by encouraging cooperation between domestic and international actors of the Research, Development and Innovation sector.

Why does the ELKH consider it valuable to be part of the ISC?

The ELKH Secretariat aspires to become an integral part of ISC’s global community dialogue and to enhance our international prospects by effectively generating mutually beneficial collaborations and synergies. We recognize the importance of the ISC as a leading international non-governmental organization fusing natural and social sciences. We believe this role to be essential role in supporting national and global endeavours, such as elevating environmental protection awareness and promoting ecological connectivity.

We commend the ISC vision to have science as a global public good, and support its objectives, such as value-creating platforms, symmetrical partnerships and fostering communication with key research and global communities. We’d like to be part of the process that assists the ISC in accomplishing our shared vision and goals.

What are your key priorities for the next few years? What do you see as the key priorities for science in the coming years?

A summary of ELKH’s objectives and core values is included in our Strategic Planning Framework.

We are actively engaged in strengthening the international role of Hungarian science and promoting research through the framework of international collaborations. In defining our research objectives, we want to address the critical issues arising from the nature of the research, taking into consideratio knowledge gaps and technologies that are important for both Europe and Hungary.

We developed five key themes of strategic importance to advance our mission and support the achievement of our goals. These themes correspond to the major research directions of our research sites and are in line with the priority areas of the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programs:

  1. Digitalization (mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, IT, quantum technology, automatization, digitalization)
  2. Energy (material structure, energy, space research, nanotechnology)
  3. Environment & safety (environment, climate change, ecology, agriculture, food safety)
  4. Health (pharmaceutical research, molecular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, psychology)
  5. Human resources (society, economy, history, archaeology, humanities, language)

Implementing the projects outlined in the ISC’s 2019 – 2021 Action Plan will highly depend on close collaboration with our Members. Are there any projects that you are particularly interested and/or considering to get involved in?

We have numerous connecting scientific disciplines relevant to ISC’s ambitious Action Plan. For example, our Centres of Excellence have the competencies to support these domains in advancing science as a global public good.

The ELKH network of Life Sciences delves into the foundations of science systems and deals with monitoring the state of our environment, working to develop applications that can best ward off dangers. The main objectives are threefold: to conduct cutting-edge basic and applied research; to provide excellent data and data analysis; and to present knowledge-based advice to meet environmental challenges.

Other pressing issues for the ELKH include artificial intelligence (AI) applications, research of networks and the challenges involved in storage, metadata management, and processing, which have all been growing exponentially in size. AI in various research related applications is well represented by existing ELKH member institutes, including those from the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences.

ELKH is open to working together to share knowledge to meet the grand challenges of the 21st century, including energy resources and water supplies, climate change, mitigating environmental and ecological damage, privacy and security as related to web transformations (nano, bio and neuro technologies) and healthcare.

We’re excited to be members of this international community convened by the ISC and look forward to meeting members virtually at the ISC’s General Assembly in October 2021.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

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