The National Conference of Student Research Societies (NCSRS) is the biggest scientific event in the country where creative, gifted students are given an opportunity to introduce their research results.
Official Hungarian name: Országos Tudományos Diákköri Konferencia (OTDK)
English name: National Conference of Student Research Societies (NCSRS)
The National Conference of Student Research Societies is the biggest scientific event in the country where creative, gifted students are given an opportunity to introduce their research results. Thus the Conference is a crucial component in our endeavours to contribute to a national strategy of quality higher education. The Conference has a long history and plays a crucial role in higher-education talent management, as laid down in a 2011 act on higher education. Besides publicising Student Research Societies, the main objective of the biennial Conference is to acknowledge the efforts of accomplished researchers and to strengthen teacher-student relationships.
The biennial Conference is actually a series of competition-based conferences organised over a month in spring (usually in April) all over Hungary in various institutions of higher education. These host the 16 sections of the Conference, devoted to various academic fields. The Conference is organised by the Council and is patronised by the ministry responsible for education, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and other related ministries, national educational institutions, organisations and foundations. The Conference series is a major event for the organising institutions (universities take turns in hosting the sections). It involves thousands of competitors, as well as consultants, supervisors, reviewers, sponsors and other, non-speaking, participants. This great interest testifies to students’ unceasing aspiration for quality education. The sections of the Conference have always been organised with wide-ranging social cooperation, though state funding is still crucial to its existence.
The Conference is competition-based: its sections are the national finals in each academic field, for which students qualify in prior institutional conferences held between the biennial National Conferences. The qualifying rounds, as well as the finals, are also open to students active in the SRS of neighbouring countries and to talented secondary school researchers.
The closing ceremony of the Conference, which usually takes place in November and is held in the ceremonial hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, is the only joint event of the series. It is at this ceremony that the minister responsible for education and the president of the Academy are on the judging panels. It is also at this event where the leading students and supervisors are honoured with the presentation of the Pro Scientia Gold Medals, the Gold Medal for Excellence in Supervising and other awards.
The National Conference is in reality a forum for the best students to present their research results for scholarly assessment. It promotes institutional research activities and may encourage other students to join Research Societies. It provides support for the active participants – both supervisors and creative, talented students – of student research activities. It assists young researchers in continuing their projects, in reaching their full potential as young scholars and – possibly – in starting their careers in academia.
Sections of the National Conference of Student Research Societies
- Agricultural Science Section
- Legal and Political Science Section
- Biological Sciences Section
- Earth Science, Physics and Mathematics Section
- Military Science and Law Enforcement Section
- Humanities Section
- Informatics Section
- Chemistry and Chemical Industry Section
- Economic Science Section
- Technological Sciences Section
- Arts and Art Theory Section
- Medical and Health Sciences Section
- Library Science, Pedagogy, Psychology and Andragogy Section
- Learning and Teaching Methodology and Knowledge Technology Section
- Social Sciences Section
- Sports Science and Physical Education Section
About the Student Research Societies (SRS) in Hungary
Over the past six decades, a unique form of cooperation between students and teachers has developed in the Hungarian higher-education system. Known as Student Research Societies, their activities have played a crucial role in the Hungarian education system and in its world-class achievements.
Continuing the deep-rooted tradition of self-study in Hungarian higher education, the first Student Research Societies were formed at the beginning of the 1950s in response to a joint initiative of teachers and students. Today, Student Research Societies represent the most significant structure for the management of emerging talent in the Hungarian higher-education system.
In the course of their long history, Student Research Societies have become the preeminent organisation in which gifted Hungarian undergraduates can have their talents fostered and promoted. They are the main platform for self-study, quality tuition and scholarly education, where prominent researchers and talented students can take their first steps towards scientific success in an encouraging and democratic atmosphere.
Participation in SRS involves a particular professional and personal relationship between teachers and students which is of the utmost importance. It effectively contributes to the emergence of an inner need in students for sustained work and the acquiring of argumentative skills. These skills enable them, on the one hand, to prove the validity of their hypotheses and findings, and on the other, to understand and assimilate the ideas of other researchers. Respecting intellectual property and innovation and regarding them with professional humility: these are pivotal qualities of a good researcher. As for teachers and researchers, with the help of SRS they can become aware of the professional and scientific progress of their students and select highly gifted researchers to continue their studies at PhD level.
Today, most institutions of higher education in the country provide an opportunity for students to join Research Societies. While they first emerged in state-run universities, their number has lately increased in religious and private institutions, as well as in those universities in neighbouring countries which have programmes conducted in Hungarian. Similarly, almost all Hungarian art schools – whether independent institutions, faculties or departments – have their own SRS today. The most significant evidence of the success of SRS is provided by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences: if we take a look at the CVs of all its members (both full and associate), most of them participated in SRS programmes. They wrote their first scholarly papers as members of SRS and today many of them are supervisors of current student researchers in the very same organisations. Many of them have been awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence in Supervising or recognized otherwise by the National Council of Student Research Societies as outstanding promoters of student research activities.
Talent management in SRS has always been a priority for the ministry managing the Hungarian education system. In addition, SRS are also supported by an ever-increasing number of sponsors: foundations, ministries, public figures, companies and firms.
National Council of Student Research Societies (NCSRS)
Official Hungarian name: Országos Tudományos Diákköri Tanács (OTDT)
English Name: National Council of Student Research Societies (NCSRS)
The National Council of Student Research Societies was established as an organisation of students active in SRS and supporting teachers, and created with the aim of establishing an effective nationwide partnership among individual Research Societies through coordinating their activities. The statutory tasks of the Council are manifold: it assists, supports and coordinates the research and art activities of the individual Societies at the national level; it is the chief public representative of Student Research Societies as an institution; it provides effective operating conditions for the professional committees of SRS which are indispensable in their functioning; it organises nationwide scholarly student forums; and, last but not least, it publishes analyses and other materials on the results of SRS at the national level.
The Symbol of NCSRS
The symbol of the Council is an owl, which symbolizes knowledge, science and wisdom. The various graphic designs and logos of the Council in all their forms and colours (black and red) are copyrighted trademarks, as are the name of the organization and its biennial Conference (OTDT and OTDK, both in their abbreviated and full versions). Many institutions use the graphic designs of the Council (owl pictures and drawings) as an embodiment of the unity of the movement; furthermore, if a given Research Society would like to use one of its standardised graphic designs, the Council grants permission (the Research Society is supposed to indicate its name in the design).