Fifty-seven Hungarian and foreign experts from different parts of the world joined the Scientific and Social Advisory Board, which was officially inaugurated on Wednesday in the venue called Aula of the University of Debrecen. Its members, including a Nobel Prize awardee and also a member of the nominating committee for the Nobel Prize, represent a wide range of scholarly and scientific fields.
In his opening address, György Kossa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Count István Tisza Foundation for the University of Debrecen, which maintains the University of Debrecen, highlighted the following: the most important task for the institution is to continue to increase its competitiveness, strengthen its domestic position and achieve more and more significant results in the international field of higher education, thus improving its rankings.
“A year ago, there was a model shift in Hungarian higher education. Universities were given full economic and organizational autonomy, and open competition began in the education market. The University of Debrecen is able to further develop the currently available knowledge, and it should use this opportunity and take the corresponding responsibility. I am grateful that, in the interest of future success, I have the opportunity to access international perspectives and experience through the members of the board. It is important that a highly acclaimed team of scholars and scientists can assist the work of the Board of Trustees at the largest university in Hungary. This board possesses a body of knowledge that is forward-looking and, thanks to this, UD can be competitive in international higher education with stable values and attractive to both Hungarian and foreign students,” said the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the inaugural meeting held in the Aula of the Main Building.
According to Péter Nagy, Chairman of the Advisory Board, through the advice and guidelines provided by the members, a series of decisions can be made that will contribute to the further development of the academic and research activities of the University of Debrecen.
“A kind of university autonomy has emerged in Hungary, creating a unique opportunity to review and implement higher education strategic plans, boost talent management and increase competitiveness. The members of the board will be able to contribute to the fulfilment of the university’s objectives and to the improvement of its quality indicators by using their professional experience and objective approach, as well as through their decisions based on academic and professional foundations. They will identify the focal points for development, contact corporate actors, define strategic directions in the field of industrial cooperation, and come up with proposals aimed at establishing international collaborations and joint projects. For the sake of efficiency, we have established five working groups, in which a large number of experts are present in accordance with each of the disciplines belonging to the UD portfolio,” said Péter Nagy, Chairman of the Scientific and Social Advisory Board.
József Tőzsér, Vice Rector for Sectoral Development and Life Sciences at the University of Debrecen, underlined the fact that the University of Debrecen offers the widest range of programs and research activities but, at the same time, its current position must be strengthened in an environment of intense international competition.
“In higher education today, it is far from sure that former approaches are adequate, as changes can be experienced continuously. However, the organizational transformation that took place at the university, specifically, the establishment of the Faculty of Health Sciences, may also provide an opportunity to increase the volume of academic activities. We are looking forward to utilize the experience of this international and professional advisory board in our efforts to be successful and effective in international higher education competition,” added the Vice Rector.
The economic management of the University of Debrecen basically determines the future of this institution and the stability of its operation, according to Zoltán Bács, Chancellor of the University of Debrecen and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of GTIDEA.
“The University of Debrecen is one of the most prestigious universities in Hungary, where ten to eleven thousand freshers start their studies every year. The number of students at the university is steadily increasing, and the headcount of international students has also shown a growing tendency for the past twenty years. Another significant achievement of ours is that the University of Debrecen is also able to increase its income from its own activities in addition to increasing the level of state involvement. Since 2009, UD has increased the proportion of its own revenues generated in Hungarian higher education by more than ten percent. Thanks to the model shift, our institution became the recipient of a partial exemption from the rigid public financing rules of the state but, at the same time, individual responsibility also became stronger and the controlling regulations rules did not change either. Fulfilling the various indicators that play a significant part in financing is not an easy task for obtaining funds either but, thanks to the results achieved in a wide range of academic fields, our institution may continue to be successful in the future,” said the Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
Zoltán Bács also presented the university innovation park, including the recently completed Innovation Center, as well as further developments planned there. He also mentioned the sports club DEAC, thanks to which the University of Debrecen is regarded outstanding in the field of sports in Central Europe.
Nobel Prize-winning American pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro, a member of the Scientific and Social Advisory Board, delivered an online address at the event, expressing his appreciation of the autonomy of UD.
“The objective of the University of Debrecen is exemplary. I also fully support that universities striving for independence aim to improve in academic life and achieve their goals set in the field of research and development. For UD, innovation constitutes an aspiration, and the autonomy of universities is essential for the emergence of scholarly-scientific results and innovations, because any success can only be measured solely in terms of these indicators,” said Professor Ignarro.
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