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Hungary joins ESA's Europe-wide technology network

Press Release From: European Space Agency
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2017

ESA’s Europe-wide network dedicated to finding down-to-Earth uses for space technologies has added Hungary, the Agency’s latest member.

Under ESA leadership, European space industry develops top-notch space technologies, many of which offer valuable attributes to terrestrial industries as well, solving production problems or forming the basis of new products or services.

The Agency’s long-running Technology Transfer Programme supports this spin-off  process, working with local industry and national technology institutes.

The Programme oversees an expert network of technology transfer brokers across 16 European countries – now including Hungary – to find new terrestrial homes for space technologies. 

This broker network boosts Europe’s global competitiveness, injecting businesses across our continent with advanced space technology and knowhow.

“Space technology should respond to everyday problems we are facing here on Earth,” comments Dr Károly Balázs Solymár, Deputy State Secretary of Infocommunications at Hungary’s Ministry of National Development.

“Our top priority duties are to secure the prosperity of our country and increase the efficiency of industrial production, with space industry an important tool to help reach these goals.

“A new opportunity is now open for Hungarian companies to make their top technology developments serve these objectives, both inside and outside the country.”

Hungary formally became ESA’s 22nd Member State on 4 November.

“The country will benefit in three ways,” explains Aude de Clercq of ESA’s technology transfer office. “In help for space and non-space industries to collaborate and generate new business opportunities, as well as connecting Hungary and its companies to knowhow and technology from other ESA Member States.

“It will also strengthen Hungary’s overall innovation and technology transfer capacity.”

Hungary’s participation in the broker network will be managed by the Hungarian Space Board, operating within the Ministry of National Development, with the active involvement of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Wigner Research Centre for Physics, which is serving as the national technology transfer point.

Péter Lévai, Director General of the Research Centre, emphasised: “ESA’s decision is based on the fact that Wigner Research Centre for Physics researchers have been participating in diverse space programmes for decades, with the support of the Hungarian Space Board, consequently acquiring a broad expertise in certain areas of space technology.

“Simultaneously the Centre’s innovation activity has strengthened significantly in recent years, allowing well-experienced experts to help solve problems arising during technology transfers.”

As a first step, three-years of cooperation will explore and support as many initiatives and start-ups as possible in utilising space technologies and knowhow across non-space areas. The aim is to further the international market reach of Hungarian enterprise, contribute to economic growth, strengthen competitiveness and create new businesses and jobs.

In operation for more than a quarter of a century, ESA’s technology transfer has chalked up many successes. For instance, long-distance ultrasound systems originally developed to examine astronauts in orbit are now serving pregnant women and other patients in remote clinics. Technology designed for ESA’s Rosetta probe to sniff out organic chemistry around its target comet is now being used to detect bedbugs in top hotels.

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