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| Dávid Harangozó

Knowledge to the Benefit of All Sides

D&T
September 9, 2015

“We support the utilization of EU structural funds for innovation projects; we cooperate with partners from regions in the neighboring countries, says Béla Kardon, Chief Scientific Officer of the Regional Center for Information and Scientific Development.

“We provide counseling based on experience gained during the handling of international projects. We are not the sort of advisory firm where staff members only read the textbooks; we are a company of those who ‘live’ these projects.” That is how Dr. Béla Kardon, the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the Regional Center for Information and Scientific Development (RCISD) describes his firm for Diplomacy & Trade.

A physicist by trade, he began his career as a university teacher in 1989, just at the start of the political changes in Hungary. “With freedom of the press, we found ourselves in the midst of an abundance of information, which, in our field, was manifested in the spread of popular science. I was very successful in this area and later, I specialized in international research and development cooperation,” he says. With some of his colleagues, he applied with success for EU funds in connection with the European Researchers’ Night project: their application turned out to be the best in Europe in 2010! “Ever since, we have applied every year for this project, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2015,” he adds.

His father is also a physicist. As of the early 1970s, researchers from communist Hungary were allowed to work in western countries. That is how young Béla Kardon went to a German elementary and secondary school for two years when his father was on a research assignment in Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia. Later, he worked in Germany and Austria on several occasions. “German is my second mother tongue,” he notes. “When I decided to become a physicist, my father agreed while his colleagues tried to discourage us, saying it was an impossible profession to make a living. I am convinced that those who are good in math and speak English well will never have to worry about getting a job,” he points out. His son is an electrical engineer at Bosch, working on his master’s degree.

In the past decades, his activities have centered on research, development and innovation – both in the private sector and in state administration, which he says, has given him useful insight into both sides. It is as of this year that he joined RCISD. “This company is now four years old and we are an innovative SME in the developing stage. My dream is to make this firm into a research institute where people do sensible work in good spirits for good money,” Dr Béla Kardon concludes.

“We support the utilization of EU structural funds for innovation projects in; we have a large number of projects in which we cooperate with partners from regions in the neighboring countries; and we are involved in research and development cooperation projects, financed directly from Brussels, where our task is to facilitate the member countries of the European Union working together with a given region of the world like Southeast Asia, for instance,” the Chief Scientific Officer says.

As an example, he mentions the cooperation between the EU and Central Asia, which is to serve three societal challenges: climate change, energy and health. “One can see that the future of a given country – unless it has raw materials of vital importance – mainly depends on innovation: thus, the world’s richest countries are usually the ones that excel in innovation. In order to support the implementation of ideas, the European Union has earmarked substantial amounts (almost EUR 80 billion in the current 7-year framework). This is where advisory firms like us come into the picture and utilize knowledge as a resource in international cooperation in order to create and/or enhance projects that are to the benefit of all sides.”

The Regional Center for Information and Scientific Development

RCISD’s vision is to develop itself into (1) a private based research institute; (2) an interdisciplinary exchange place of knowledge; and (3) an independent think tank specialized on international cooperation, regional innovation and science policy. Its website receives most of its visitors from the United States, Germany and France.

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