Extraordinary Covid support and new scholarships at Széchenyi István University

Thanks to the Széchenyi István University Foundation, the University has announced support grants for students and lecturer-researchers totalling almost one hundred million forints. Decisions have already been taken in the case of the academic, athletic and scientific scholarships for the first semester. As a new opportunity, until the end of April, full-time students whose families have experienced a significant loss of income due to the coronavirus epidemic or where unexpected circumstances have resulted in an extraordinary financial burden, are eligible to apply for Covid support.

On 1 August last year, controlling rights to Széchenyi István University were assumed by the Széchenyi István University Foundation whose board of trustees will do its utmost to expand the range of opportunities available to the University’s staff and students.

“Cooperation is especially needed in difficult times like the current pandemic. The Széchenyi István University Foundation, together with the University management, in the spirit of their social responsibility, consider it very important to provide financial support to students who have been disadvantaged as a result of the emergency, thus helping their academic progress and the development of their talents. We hope that this will also contribute to mitigating the negative effects of the epidemic." - emphasized Dr Erzsébet Knáb, chairman of the board of trustees, speaking about the  background to the decision.

Dr István Stumpf, government commissioner responsible for coordinating the model change in higher education, last week visited Széchenyi István University, where he also met with Dr Knáb. In doing so, he confirmed that the institution is also taking advantage in practical terms of the opportunities provided by the model change. He considered the new support to be a particularly good example of a creative response to social and societal challenges stemming from the cooperation between the Foundation, with its board of trustees, and the University of Győr.

Up to 150 thousand forints grant support

Applications for the extraordinary Covid grant have already been announced for students on vocational, undergraduate, masters or undivided degree programmes in full-time higher education whose families, due to the coronavirus epidemic, have suffered a significant loss of income or experienced an unexpected event or circumstance causing extraordinary financial hardship. These may include the death of a relative living in the household, the loss of employment by a parent, guardian or by the student themselves, a loss of income in excess of 20 per cent and unpaid leave in excess of 31 days. The deadline for submitting the application is 30 April 2021. The amount of the grant for each application can be as much as 150 thousand forints. Thanks to the 37 million forints available for this purpose, it is expected that all students who have undergone a significant change due to the epidemic situation will receive support.

The application procedure for the extraordinary Covid grant is available HERE.

Three new scholarships

The Széchenyi István University Foundation also wants to contribute to the strengthening of the University's domestic and international positions. To this end, by recognizing excellence it seeks to              promote the raising of standards in the institution's scientific and educational activities. The board of trustees would also like to increase the motivation of students to achieve the best possible academic and sporting results. For this purpose, it has donated 53 million forints to establish three new scholarships – academic, athletic and scientific.

Dr Bálint Filep, President of Széchenyi István University, emphasized that the strategic goal of the institution is to create an internationally competitive university by 2030, which includes student-centered, flexible and innovative training as well as high-quality scientific research. All this is greatly aided by the model change. “We are grateful to the maintaining foundation for the significant amount of support it contributes to increasing the attractiveness of the University and the esteem of both students and staff. It is especially important to support students who are in a difficult situation due to the coronavirus situation, which will help the families affected,” commented the President.

Márton Maczkó, president of the University Students’ Union, stressed that in determining the criteria and conditions for the applications, the proposals from their organization had also been taken into account.

“The new scholarships provide extra motivation for talented, hard-working students. Special thanks are due to the Board of Trustees and the University for providing Covid support, as this is unique in the country.” he said.

Government Commissioner Dr István Stumpf emphasized that the change of model provides an opportunity for universities to advertise their own scholarship programmes. He added that he considered the example of Széchenyi István University one to be followed, with the maintaining foundation supporting the University’s students and staff from its own resources, which is a moral and material recognition of the outstanding achievements of those choosing the institution. He also noted that the situation caused by the pandemic was an important and, unfortunately, very sensitive topic, for which the Széchenyi István University Foundation has established a special support fund designed to help students in difficult situations.

Recognition for lecturer-researchers and students

The academic, athletic and scientific scholarships for the first semester have been evaluated. Based on the decision of the evaluation committee, the academic scholarship of 300 thousand forints per person was awarded to ten students, while the athletic scholarship of 300 thousand forints was awarded to seven. Of the applications received for scientific scholarships, 35 received a grant of between 200 and 600 thousand forints (this relates to 31 applicants, as four of them won grants for two publications).

One of the recognized lecturers is Dr Attila Borsos, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Transport Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of Transport Infrastructure and Water Resources Engineering, who submitted an entry with a co-authored listed article in the prestigious journal Accident Analysis and Prevention in conjunction with researchers from the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, and the University of Lund, Sweden. The study, the result of many years of work, deals with road safety: at a given road junction, using video-based analysis and extreme value theory, it respectively examines and estimates the probability of accidents, on the basis of which effective interventions can be proposed.

“Such scholarships are important feedback for researcher-educators. I do not consider financial support to be the most important thing, but rather exemplary recognition, which can encourage others to write high-quality journal articles and build international relations. These opportunities have been decisive in my professional career. A few years ago, I was able to spend ten months at the Delft University of Technology on a Hegedűs Gyula scholarship, and thanks to that I was able to build up my international network that is still active today: we not only collaborate on research such as this, but also work on projects,” explained Dr Borsos.


Dr Attila Borsos with the diploma certifying the scholarship award.

(Photo: József Csaba Májer)

One of the ten young people receiving scholarships is fifth-year law student Lívia Szabó from Győr. She applied with an outstanding series of results: at last year's National Scientific Student Conference she received a special award from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, she also won the national Labour Law lawsuit dialogue competition, both individually and as a team, and in addition was a demonstrator  for 4 semesters at both the Department of Legal History and the Department of Civil Law and Civil Procedure Law, as well as being active in the Students’ Union, the Batthyány Lajos Specialist Hall of Residence and the Győr branch of ELSA (European Law Students’ Association) - to name but a few.

“It is a huge recognition to get such a scholarship, and not incidentally significant financial support. It proves that it is worth stepping out of our comfort zone from time to time and taking on more than is mandatory, because it is worth it.” said Ms Szabó.

Szabó Lívia.jpg

Lívia Szabó

Applications for the Széchenyi István University Foundation’s Academic, Athletic and Scientific Scholarships for the second semester can be submitted by 30 June 2021. The announcement calling for applications is available HERE.

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