Biotechnology has become one of the key areas of R&D in the last decades, so it was necessary to determine Hungary's needs in this field. To this purpose a national biotechnology study was conducted by the Ministry of Education's Bio- and Agrobiotech-nology Unit in 1998-99 in order to define the research and development priorities within this sector in Hungary. On the basis of this study the “Biotechnology 2000” programme was launched and announced in 1999. In the following years the thematic content and the application rules were refined and updated according to the newly arising needs. The call for proposals were repeated from 2001 to 2003 and will be repeated in this year, too. The aim of the programme is to enhance the knowledge base for research and development in the field of biotechnology, to increase the competitiveness of companies, to develop new methods and services. Applicants are encouraged with subsidies to introduce newly developed, advanced, high-value and competitive biotechnology products. They have to prove that these products and services provide advantages without endangering human health; take into account ethical considerations and give a positive effect on the environment. The defined priorities are:
- Food safety and the application of bio- technology in the food industry;
- Bioinformatics, biogenomics;
- Plant biotechnology, application of biotechnology in plant protection;
- Bioconversion, applying biotechnol ogy in industrial production technologies;
- Bioremediation, application of biotech- nology in environmental issues;
- Using biotechnology in animal breeding and in the veterinary field;
- Biomedicine, biopharmacology, appli- cations in the field of human therapy and diagnostics.
During the last three years Euro17.1 million were gained by the applicants in this programme. Bio- and agro-technology also became priorities in the National Research and Development Programme launched by the Ministry of Education in 2001. In this frame another Euro18.8 million were allocated to this field to strengthen the traditionally strong Hungarian agrofood sector.
Dr. András Siegler, Vice President National Office for Research and Technology, www.nkth.gov.hu, eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org