“Topping Out” celebration: another milestone in SZE’s Zalaegerszeg developments

Kép2.JPGBeside the most modern automotive test track in Central Europe, Széchenyi István University continues to strengthen its presence in the ZalaZONE Park. Another important step in this direction was the holding of the topping out ceremony for the two buildings of the Science and Innovation Park. The investment will further improve the institution's position in the field of innovation.

The aim of Széchenyi István University of Győr is to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the region by creating an internationally recognised research and education environment. This purpose will be served, inter alia, by the institution achieving the development of its Science and Innovation Park in Zalaegerszeg with HUF 4 billion of EU funding. This includes the construction of an incubation building and an accommodation building. The topping out ceremony for the facilities, which are due to be completed in June, was held on Friday at the ZalaZONE park, next to Central Europe's most cutting-edge automotive test track.

The incubation building will provide space for research, development and testing, but will also include a teaching lab, a common room and offices. This will open up space for start-ups, innovative business ideas and collaboration between students and companies. It will also allow students to strengthen their practical skills and try out practice various procedures in a business environment. The other building, with 11 rooms and two apartments, will accommodate staff working at the University of Győr's research centre in Zalaegerszeg, visiting researchers, student teams and even participants in the student internship programme.

Kép1.jpgAttending the topping out ceremony were Dr András Háry, CEO of ZalaZONE Science Park Ltd. (third from left), Dr László Palkovics, Minister of Innovation and Technology (third from right) and Professor József Bokor, Vice President of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network and member of the Board of Trustees of the Széchenyi István University Foundation (far right) (Photo: Zalai Hírlap)

Kép_1.JPGTamás Kolossváry, head of SZE’s Centre for Innovation and Training in Zalaegerszeg (second from right).
(Photo by József Csaba Májer)

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Innovation and Technology, Dr László Palkovics, stated:

"There is no real Science and Innovation Park in Hungary as yet, but the model for it is up and running, and Széchenyi István University was one of the first to understand the justification for it and to start building its research and development base in Zalaegerszeg.

He added that the Győr-based institution has achieved a significant position in the field of innovation, thanks to the construction of the two buildings in Zalaegerszeg, with the construction of a third one starting and to be completed this year.

The minister recalled that the Hungarian government set the strengthening of the economy as its goal in 2010, and a good example of this is that investment in Hungary has increased rather than decreased in the last two years. He stressed that the reinforcement of vocational training and higher education was an important element of economic development, and that this was also the aim of the paradigm change for the 21 universities that transferred from state to foundation maintenance. This year, the budgets of these universities have increased two and a half times compared to last year, and a higher education development programme worth HUF 2,700 billion has been launched.

Kép2.JPGParticipants in the topping off ceremony in front of the incubation building. (Photo by József Csaba Májer)

Dr Bálint Filep, President of Széchenyi István University, recalled in his speech that since its foundation the institution has been characterised by a constant desire for improvement, change and a search for new paths.

"Hungarian higher education has faced new challenges since the beginning of the 21st century. Our University entered this era with a sensitivity to reality and change, and with a path-finding routine. This is the reason why we have joined the process of renewal in higher education as an initiator. This programme represents a real opportunity for us to take advantage of our true autonomy to contribute flexibly, better and with greater responsibility to the socio-economic development of our country and to build on our scientific and innovative potential to become a creative participant in it," he said.

He noted that the development of Zalaegerszeg aims at establishing close cooperation between the university sphere, economic stakeholders and academic institutions. "In partnership with the companies already operating here and those that will move in in the future, we can build on the knowledge base of our Vehicle Industry Research Centre to formulate the research and development goals that will define the future of the automotive industry and mobility. We are carrying out our investment programme in Zalaegerszeg with the conviction that we are laying the foundations for innovative small and hopefully larger businesses that we can be proud of successfully operating," he said.

Dr Bálint Filep concluded by saying that "Széchenyi István University has been sailing the seas of Hungarian higher education for more than five decades, based on the needs of industry and companies, and on social cooperation, and then just twenty years ago became a university in its own right. Professor Zoltán Gál, who is unfortunately no longer with us, as President of the Hungarian Rectors' Conference, warmly welcomed the elevation of our institution to university status at the 2002 ceremony, for guidance quoting Victor Hugo: 'The great thing about Columbus' deed was not that he reached America, but that he set out'. Since then, we have gained momentum and this development shows that together, through persistent and diligent work, we are well on the way to reaching our own America."

László Vigh, Member of Parliament for Zalaegerszeg, said: “The site of the University research base, the approximately 200 hectares of land attached to the 250-hectare ZalaZONE, will be too small for further developments. The test track is indeed the "Silicon Valley of the automotive industry", which attracts investment from all areas of the automotive industry.”

Zoltán Balaicz, Mayor of Zalaegerszeg, said that the test track would create an economic ecosystem in the city, combining production, education and R&D. The city will contribute to this by providing the services and infrastructure background.

Kép3.JPGThe ceremony was also attended by a delegation from the Jedlik Ányos Engineering and Informatics Technology College, Győr, which maintains close links with Széchenyi István University. In the photo, Tamás Élő, Deputy Head, Dr István Lakatos, University Professor, Eszter Gede, Chancellor of the Győr Vocational Training Centre, Gábor Módos, Director, and Richárd Kottra, Deputy Director (Photo by József Csaba Májer)



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