The University of Debrecen students and researchers have provided the highest number of Fulbright scholars in Hungary - this announcement was made at the information session of the International Office of the University of Debrecen, presenting this year's applications of the world's most prestigious scholarship programme. Every year, Fulbright offers 25 Hungarian students, researchers and teachers the opportunity to work as academic researchers and gain professional experience in the United States of America.

- The United States of America is one of the most popular destinations for student and researcher mobility, and a period of study or research at a renowned US university can have a significant career-enhancing effect. The Fulbright Scholarship Programme supports Hungarian-American education and research relations. Its aim is to provide support for scholarships and research that will help academics to develop the Hungarian education system after returning home. Several distinguished professors from the University of Debrecen have taken advantage of this opportunity. We encourage students and researchers of the University of Debrecen to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Fulbright , then return home and make use of the experience and knowledge that they have gained abroad," said Orsolya Jánosy, Head of the International Office of the University of Debrecen.

The American scholarship programme currently operates in more than 160 countries; Hungary joined Fulbright in 1978. From 1983 to the present day, 77 applicants from the University of Debrecen have won Fulbright scholarships to the United States.

- Fulbright scholars are subjected to a very rigorous screening process. Cultural exchange, i.e., what the applicant brings to the university from their home country and university traditions, is as important a factor as teaching or research activity in the selection of the winning students, teachers and researchers. We also pay great attention to giving as many people from as many disciplines as possible the opportunities offered by the US," said Károly Jókay, President of the Fulbright Commission of Hungary.
The Fulbright Scholarships are open to Hungarian citizens with at least  a BA or BSc degree or higher, an appropriate level of English language proficiency who wish to teach, conduct research or pursue further studies in the United States. Applications are open to all disciplines and fields of art.
During the briefing, former Fulbright scholars shared their experience with prospective applicants.

Valter Pfliegler, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Microbiology, University of Debrecen, spent his Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University in 2020. His research topic was the adaptability of food-borne yeasts infecting humans.
- My research time at Harvard University was shortened from the originally planned four months to less than a month due to the pandemic outbreak in spring 2020, but it still gavea  lot of new impetus for my academic career. In particular, I gained useful experience in the field of research methodology. The scientific community in American universities is characterised by its openness to grassroots initiatives. A key element in my scientific work was that we started to use artificial intelligence , too, in genomics research at the suggestion of PhD students in the group. My American research results have been successfully adapted and used in our domestic microbial culture collection. Our professional cooperation with Harvard University and our colleagues from Harvard University has not been interrupted since then, and we are working together on several scientific projects. In sum, the Fulbright scholarship has made me a member of a scientific community that will further my scientific career on an international level and open up even more new opportunities," concluded Valter Pfliegler.
Éva Lovra, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, spent four months at the University of Pittsburgh on a teaching fellowship. The basis for her course was her book Cities in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, published in 2022.

- The University of Pittsburgh was very appreciative of my application. My classes were advertised at several institutions of the university and I was asked to revise and broaden the topic. Thus, my lectures covered the architecture of Central Europe from the Gothic to the present day, with the addition of urban morphology and heritage conservation. In addition to teaching, I also did research, which resulted in my book From Miskolc Modernism to New York, The Architecture of Viktor Bőhm, published in 2023. As a professor, I can say that the American system is much more focused on problem solving. The relationship between teachers and students is much more intense, students ask more questions, are more open-minded, expect additional assignments. I can use this  experience in my lectures to foreign students at the Faculty of Engineering," explains the assistant professor of the Department of Civil Engineering.

In  Éva Lovra’s view, the Fulbright program is a unique opportunity. With the support of the Hungarian-American Fulbright and the University of Debrecen, she will soon return to the United States again, giving invited lectures at New York University in New York, Trenton and the 48th AHEA New Brunswick Conference.

The deadline for Fulbright Graduate Student Grants is 15 May.
Applications for teachers and researchers are open until 15 October.  
For more information on the scholarship programme, please click here.

Press Centre - ÉE