"Parliamentary Session" - Parliamentary Session VI.      19.11.2011

Cooperation was a key motif in address of the Hungarian deputy prime minister, Tibor Navracsics to the forum of distinguished scientists, ministers, representatives of international organizations, institutions on the closing day of WSF 2011 in the Parliament Building. Cooperation between governmental and academic bodies, between industry and researchers, investors and the public is necessary to address the global challenges facing us in the country, in the region, and globally, said Tibor Navracsics.

He added that the role of the state in innovation is at least twofold. It can give financial support to help innovators and facilitate innovation in the economy. The state can provide a supportive legal environment to eliminate barriers to innovation activity.

Hungary intends to achieve an increase in the level of research and development expenditures up to 1.8% of her GDP by 2020 while the share of corporate R&D spending should significantly rise. By the middle of the decade the goal is an achievement of a 1.5% R&D expenditure rate. The vision of the government is to create an environment that is both inspirational and financially sustainable to keep Hungarian talent at home and also to build a new generation of entrepreneurs and investors. On the international level, Hungary aims to establish fruitful scientific cooperation and discussion with such rising superpowers of science and technology as Brazil, China, India, South-Korea and Singapore. Mr Navracsics also said that the transfer of knowledge should be improved to reach these goals, and the right balance of state vs. private investments should be found and maintained.

Who knows better the challenges facing us than people in science?, asked Mr Paul Rübig, Science and Technology Options Assessment, STOA chairman, EP, adding that it is science that can give options for politicians to take. He spoke of the 500 billion euros the EU spends on energy to get closer to an eco-efficient system of transport. According to him the real issue is to put more science (through innovation) into the area of energy production. STOA is also active in the area of social networks, intellectual properties (copyright), and research on ageing. Knowledge is power and power brings security, he concluded.

Mr Patrick Amuriat Oboi of the Ugandan government analysed why science should be proactive in an era in which scientists work together with industry, investors, and civilians. Increased collaboration, knowledge sharing, a transfer of capacities is needed, he concluded.

Some vital keys to growth are academic freedom, general access to education, and gender equality among other factors. We clearly support the ambitions of UNESCO to attain funding from Germany for its future work, said Ms Ulla Burchardt. The chair of the Bundestag’s Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment expressed some worries, however, because of the great social imbalance facing many countries.

Both science and parliaments have major responsibilities as science can distribute not only benefits but also risks among social groups. The role of a collective will remains too often in the background, complained Mr Remi Barré of the French research facility CNAM, adding that scientific findings should be common property. He introduced the notion of communalism and universalism meaning that all scientists contribute to all citizens.

In the closing plenary lectures Hungary’s President Mr Pál Schmitt also emphasized the importance of co-operation, the harmonization of actions on the level of individuals, institutions, nations. Science is not the arena for competition, he said, but of uniting our strengths. Science and knowledge are there not for their own sake but for the community, for the nation. Science stretching the boundaries of options, possibilities must be held responsible to humankind. Wherever you strive to achieve better results, you should use the help of science, he said.

Turning yesterday’s dreams into today’s reality – that is the duty of researchers. The ethical responsibility of science to cause no harm is tied up with its great achievements, said Ms Katalin Bogyay, president of the 36th general conference of UNESCO. She also read out an Indian poem with the fundamental message that we have to improve our world to keep it safe and sound for our children.