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  • Knowledge is a competitive advantage

    The details of the “Knowledge Park” project, aiming at the more efficient utilisation of the knowledge base of the University of Debrecen, were presented on Wednesday at the Hajdú-Bihar County Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
    "The purpose of the project, realised in the cooperation of four partners, is to enable the businesses in the county to build on local research capacities in the future for developments, investments, education and training programmes, market techniques, in order to ensure that as many local products with as much added value as possible can reach the international markets", emphasised Ferenc Miklóssy, president of the Hajdú-Bihar County Chamber of Industry and Commerce at the launch of the “Knowledge Park” project on Wednesday.
    The joint project application of the University of Debrecen, the Municipal Government of Debrecen, the Hajdú-Bihar County Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and INNOVA Észak-Alföld Regional Development and Innovation Agency Nonprofit Ltd., titled "Creating a Knowledge Park in Debrecen in the prioritised areas of the pharmaceutical and food processing industries, IT and electronics", has been awarded 580 million forints for the purpose of strengthening the R+D+I activities and the economic competitiveness of the region.
    The main objectives of the project were discussed by Annamária Pósánné-Rácz, project manager and director for education at the University of Debrecen, who pointed out that the programme can be considered as a bridge between the previous EU programming period and the new development period, with the aim of transplanting the research results generated at higher education institutions into the economic sector.
    "In recent years, universities have spent a lot of money on knowledge and technology transfer processes and services; however, these have not lived up to the hopes attached to them, and therefore, this project will help us in preparing for the grants becoming available in the next programming period by way of an extension and development of the services.  It is a general aim to align the education and research activities of higher education institutions to the structure of the economy. To accomplish this it is necessary to identify the research areas in which the University of Debrecen is on the forefront, and for the results of which the region is open", Annamária Pósánné-Rácz explained.
    József Mészáros, the university's chief of staff, introduced to the participants of the event the new strategy of cooperation with external partners. Discussing the objectives, he said it was important to ensure that the university's knowledge base would be much better utilised; for this, it is necessary to renew both the organisation and the procedures, and therefore, the entire process of technology transfer had to be reviewed.
    "Some of the research activities need to be brought closer to the economic players. This does not mean neglecting basic or teaching-related research, but it is also an expectation of the government that research projects related to grants should be put to economic use: generate prototypes, market products, business results. For this, businesses must be made aware of the research potential and infrastructure of the academic institutions, so that they would not have to build up their own research capacities, but can use the services of the university", Mészáros pointed out.
    In connection with the implementation of the programme, Zoltán Szilvássy, the rector of the University of Debrecen, said that each participant of the project has a well-defined role.
    "If the cooperation works well, then universities are engaged in research that is needed by the companies. The fundamental objective of the innovation policy is economic development and the increasing of employment, and the programme also serves this objective. The University of Debrecen already has experience with such specially targeted projects. We had previously carried out research projects for a meat processing company related to goose liver from non-force-fed geese, developed a medicine for tinnitus for pharmaceutical companies, and another product for the treatment of memory problems. Debrecen is in a very fortunate position: due to the work of the clusters, the city already has experience with systems of cooperation consisting of knowledge centres and companies", Szilvássy added.
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