As a pioneer among organizations within the countries that joined the EU in 2004, the Hungarian Biotechnology Association (HBA) was established by Hungary’s leading life sciences companies in 2003. The main objective of the organization is to create an alliance that unites the voices and interests of companies, researchers, academic institutions and related organizations to provide them with shared services, advocacy, and help in finding success and opportunities in the field of life sciences. Through its various national and international projects, the organization also intends to improve and shape the public understanding of biotechnology, promote the safe and ethical use of biotechnological innovations and educate the future generation of biotechnology managers.
The main decision making organ of the association is the General Assembly, which is made up of member company delegates. The Executive Board of the Association collaborates with key agents in the executive and legislative branches of the Hungarian government to ensure the status of the HBA as an influential factor in decision making affecting the biotechnology industry. Furthermore, the Executive Board is dedicated to adequately react to the most important professional, organizational and economic questions, planning and controlling the Association’s financial operation, and carrying out the tasks defined by the General Assembly.
The HBA established the following committees, which are responsible for harmonizing the activities of its members:
- Healthcare biotech and Diagnostics Committee
- Agri-Food Committee
- White Biotechnology Committee
- Bioinformatics Committee
- Science Policy and Education Committee
- Scientific and Bioethics Committee
- EU Committee
- Investment and Trade Development Committee
- Communication and Information Resource Committee
- Legal Committee
The central office is responsible for executing the operational tasks. The work of the Association is supported by the Advisory Board, which is comprised of 5 internationally recognized experts on biotechnology. The establishment of a regional representative network within the industrially significant regional centers is currently under negotiation.
HBA carries out harmonized lobbying activity and has a good relationship with the, the National Research, Development and Innovaton Office (NKFIH), the Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH) and other national associations, such as the Hungarian Association of Information Technology Companies (IVSZ). The organization is also a member of the Hungarian Association for Innovation (MISZ).
National biotechnology strategy
In 2005 with active support and commitment from the Hungarian government, the Hungarian Biotechnology Association developed a detailed biotechnology strategy with more than 20 harmonized and well balanced measures. The strategy was formulated on the basis of the best practices of 17 countries and the feedback of local managers for the purpose of fostering dynamic growth and overcoming all bottlenecks hindering the development of high-tech SMEs in the field of life sciences. The strategy addresses a comprehensive set of challenges from legislative issues to infrastructure (such as biotech incubators and tech-transfer offices) and work force. The aims set by the strategy opened up the possibility of organizing a Biotechnology National Technology Platform, which gives opportunity to review and update the strategy made in 2005. Thanks to our strategy we can observe an incrase in the number of Hungarian biotechnology companies. The Hungarian Biotechnology Association’s strategy renewed several times, most recently in 2015. Due to the HBA’s lobbying activities several grants were published, which have an advantageous konstruction for life science companies. Furthermore Hungarian Biotechnology Association has actively participated in the development of a PhD tax relief schiem.
Public perception of biotechnology
The association is recognized as a mediator between the industry and the public. HBA has a good relationship with the national media, through which it influences the public perception on innovations within the life sciences. HBA runs projects that are particularly dedicated to improve the public understanding and promote the safe and ethical use of biotechnological innovations.
Many of our members participate in HBA committees (e.g. policy and finance committees) that were set up to strengthen particular areas of the biotech industry. The committees discuss the ongoing strategic matters and make proposals to the Board to increase the benefits of biotechnological research to the society. Our members also participate as HBA delegates in a diverse number of international organizations.
HBA stands for its members in the most important biotechnology organizations, such as BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization), EuropaBio (The European Association for Bioindustries), and EFB (European Federation of Biotechnology). By taking an active part in these organizations, HBA also mediates the international dialogue with policy makers and stakeholders to the national level. The organization also represents its members and the Hungarian biotech sector at major international exhibitions, such as BIO International Convention, BIO-Europe, BioForum, BioMed etc.