Rector's New Year greetings

2022 was the first full year of the Óbuda University's operation in its new, foundation form after the model change. It was a year in which our university was able to show excellent results despite the neighbouring war in Ukraine, which triggered an energy crisis.

Dear Colleagues!
Dear Students!

With another year behind us it is worthwhile for us to evaluate and look ahead. When summarizing, we must inevitably talk not about a year, but about periods that affect our lives in the longer term than we can experience. Willingly or unwittingly, we have become part of history in recent years. We have not been spared the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been going on for years, at the beginning of the year, a war broke out in our neighborhood, and in its wake, long-standing economic difficulties, especially in the energy supply, have weighed on us. In the past three years, we have managed to stand firm in every situation, and I am sure that our ever-strengthening university community will respond to new challenges with clear and good solutions. The most important lesson of the past period is that helping and strengthening each other and thinking as a team has taken us forward. Therefore, the most important goal remains to "manage" our human resources as efficiently as possible: the knowledge and talent of our professionals. It is important for our university that our colleagues are motivated and satisfied, so we strive to appreciate them as much as possible. We tried to adequately evaluate their hard, conscientious work with an academic salary arrangement at the beginning of 2022, but the additional perks at the end of the year was also an expression of this. It is important to know that our institution, which changed its operational model in August 2021, must perform according to the indicators expected under the long-term financing agreement with the government, and that our financial benefits and stable budget will be evaluated and secured based on these. This is also why teamwork and our organizational units, our activities on the faculties, which require precise and consistent work on the part of all of us, are valued. In terms of education, as the primary task of our university, we have proven and earned the title of the most practice-oriented Hungarian technical higher education institution for several years, and at the same time, our international education, as well as the field of scholarship and research and development, are internationally recognized. Accordingly, it is important to look back and evaluate how much progress we have made and how we can meet the set expectations. As I mentioned on our University Day, November 23, one of the most significant results of recent years is that our university is considered one of the most important human resources centers in Hungary, and internationally for the second year in a row it is seen as the best domestic technical higher education institution. It is not enough to just maintain this position, we must further strengthen it.It gives me great pleasure that more and more of our teachers and researchers have moved up the scientific ladder. We have launched a comprehensive habilitation program, as well as for joining classic academic positions. As a result, our student-faculty ratio improved significantly, after a long time we had doctors  of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences again, we inaugurated an unprecedented number of habilitated colleagues on University Day, just as the President  of Hungary could never greet so many university professors (ten by number), all of whom serve the benefit of our university. At the same time, the international reputation of Óbuda University has significantly strengthened in the past year as well. According to the latest data from Times Higher Education, one of the three largest organizations that rate universities internationally, Óbuda University has stabilized its position among the world's best 1001-1200 higher education institutions. At the same time, among the thirteen domestic institutions, the Óbuda University moved from sixth place last year to fourth place in 2022, and after last year, it was also ranked as the best technical university in the range between 1001-1200 this year. The institution achieved even better results in the specific  subject areas. It was ranked by THE as the best Hungarian university in the IT and technical field: 501-600th, in the field of technical and natural sciences, we are ranked in the 601-800 range worldwide, and thus we have now become the best domestic university in this field as well. Dear colleagues! Needless to say: as the rector of Óbuda University, I am proud that the number of applications for our distinguished professorship program launched in the past year has more than doubled and three internationally recognized research professors have joined our team, two Australian and one Italian professor. But also in the case of our emerging and foundational excellence research program, we had the opportunity to support 2-2 of our own colleagues, which can ensure the international visibility of a steadily growing academic activity at the university. And we will continue this program in the future! In the case of our already mentioned ten new professors, five of them came from the international arena, as Hungarian-speaking colleagues, which further increases our international visibility. I am also proud that four of our colleagues are once again in the top 2% of researchers in the world published by Stanford University. In addition, for the first time, we have a highly cited researcher from one of our Australian distinguished professors, i.e. one of the top 1% of the world. The Neumann János Computer Science Society also awarded three of our colleagues this year. Five of our colleagues received prestigious state awards. Compared to 2019, the number of publications published in the quality D1-Q1-Q2 segment nearly tripled, which is also proof that the quality publication incentive is working.In other words, the scientific programs mentioned above proved in every case that we invested the extra support received during the model change and I believe that they will have serious results for our international reputation. We trust the same effect with regard to the three science and innovation park investments launched by our university. Moreover, the market-based return on this, the implementation of industry-driven innovations, will significantly increase the value and sustainability of our university. Our serious lobbying power is proved by the fact that the International Science Park Association (IASP) granted us the opportunity to join as the first entity from Hungary, even though we started last in the domestic competition a few years ago. All this proves that we can achieve goals that seem practically unattainable in an agile, goal-oriented way, as a real team, if we really want to and work together!

One of our most important supporters in strengthening our innovation ecosystem is our supporter, the Rudolf Kalman Foundation for Óbuda University. Its Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mihály Varga, Minister of Finance, and the members of the Board of Trustees have continued to make an encouraging contribution to the development of our institution in 2022. Among the good practices, I would like to highlight the decision of the Board of Trustees to start working with the Széchenyi Capital Fund, which is owned by our Foundation, to establish a joint equity fund of Óbuda University with a maximum amount of HUF 10 billion.What's more, we hope that our capital fund, Obuda Venture Capital, can create serious opportunities for other domestic higher education institutions, but it can also appear as an investment alternative in foreign regions.

In addition, our results in domestic and international R&D tenders prove that we made the right decision in choosing the priority research areas at the beginning of my rector's term. In the past year, we started and won a significant number of tenders. The most significant is our winning tender, which supports the developments that align with the expectations of Industry 4.0, the background of science, the further strengthening of our practice-oriented trainings, and the energy-efficient modernization of the infrastructure. Also in the past year, we managed to win our first strategically important Thematic Excellence Program, in the framework of which the research and development and innovation activities of our university are supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. Overall, I am satisfied that we fully implemented our scientific objectives planned for the last 12 months in accordance with our funding contract. We have managed to establish a stable position on which we can confidently base ourselves, from here we can gain new momentum, and in this way we can grow and strengthen even further.With regards to education, we have developed our modernized F-curricula at an integrated BSc-MSc level, our cybersecurity BSc course, our economic informatics MSc course, our geoinformatics MSc course have been accredited, and our cyber security MSc and hospital and medical technology MSc are about to be accredited / launched, but we trust in that we can continue to expand in terms of doctoral schools as well. Although our integrated campus development was postponed again due to the energy crisis, our infrastructure was still able to expand significantly. After almost a century, we managed to agree with the relevant ministries at the university level that the building at 6 József körút can be taken over again by the Bánki Donát Faculty of Mechanical and Safety Engineering. We were able to take ownership of the former Mediaworks property located at 124 Bécsi út through our maintenance foundation.. If we add to this the PPP properties acquired last year (Tavaszmező utca campus and Student Dormitory), we can see that we have made significant progress. Dear ÓU Community Members, "In life, if you want to achieve success, you have to calculate everything well in advance," says an English proverb. So let's see what awaits us in the year ahead, how to prepare for the new challenges. I believe that the primary objective of 2023 is to stabilize our achieved results, launch our planned investments, and strengthen and establish our educational and research goals. Just think about our new F curricula starting in September 2023, the integration of our established industrial departments, or the promotion of the new admission system starting in 2024.In this, we are particularly focused on the gradual convergence of the different requirements of secondary school and higher education, which is expected to lead to a further decrease in student dropout rates and a significant increase in the number of graduated graduates. Achieving our goal will bring significant progress in the quality of our education. It is essential that, in addition to supporting research and development, our institution trains graduates who have knowledge and preparation that can be flexibly adapted to rapidly changing challenges. In addition to dual and cooperative courses, we want to give an increasing role to cooperation with industrial partners, established and soon-to-be established industrial departments, and the Industrial Council, the industrial body that strengthens our university. The professional rank of Óbuda University is indicated by the fact that the range of supporters has been expanded this year to include internationally outstanding companies, and this trend will continue in the future. In November of this year, I announced that the Hungarian government would provide HUF 3.931 billion in development funds to the University of Óbuda within the framework of the Széchenyi Plan Plus from the fund established for the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan to raise the institution's education standard. Next year, within the framework of this tender, infrastructural developments, reconstruction of lecture halls, creation of new competence development courses, preparation of at least three hundred digital teaching materials, creation of teaching laboratories and studios, modernization of the entire university backbone network, development of audiovisual speakers, and acquisition of digital devices will begin. Part of the development of the education and training infrastructure is the replacement of doors and windows in the Bánki Donát Faculty of Mechanical and Safety Engineering and the Ybl Miklós Faculty of Architecture, as well as the construction of an energy-efficient solar system, but also the development of teaching and research laboratories that strengthen the training portfolio of the faculties. Among our important tasks is the promotion of social mobility in Hungary, taking into account the aspects of equal opportunities. In this spirit, we are strengthening our training courses available at rural locations - Székesfehérvár, Kaposvár and Salgótarján. Similarly important goals will be served by our scientific industrial parks, in the implementation of which the specialists of our university will play a prominent role in the development of their programs. And finally, it will be the task of all of us, it is an expectation of all of us, to fully obtain the integrated accreditation that qualifies both our institutional and doctoral schools from the Hungarian Accreditation Committee!  Dear ÓU Community, Dear Colleagues, Dear Students! Our vision for the future remains unchanged. Our aim remains to cultivate practice-oriented educational and research activities based on high-quality theoretical foundations and to fulfill our social role in this regard.As before, in the future I count on all the employees, active and retired lecturers, teachers, emeritus and emerita of our university, the colleagues who support education, do administration or perform physical work, and of course all current and already graduated students. Only together can we make it possible for Óbuda University to function as the dominant higher education institution for practice-oriented technical training in the entire Carpathian basin and even in Central and Eastern Europe in the future!

I wish all members of our university community a happy, successful and healthy new year!

January 1st, 2023

Prof. Levente Kovács

Updated: 31.12.2022.

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