Budapest, 14 February 2014 – The Magyar Nemzeti Bank makes it its business to develop the financial culture in Hungary, to stimulate the underlying economic and social thinking and to enhance the related institutional system and infrastructure. With the tools available, the MNB seeks to support economics education in Hungary, provide assistance in the dissemination of new trends, encourage the work of research workshops and facilitate the raising of financial awareness. The MNB plans to achieve this goal, by, among others, organising educational programmes, nurturing the exceptionally talented, providing opportunities for getting involved in the work of the Bank and attracting the most illustrious Hungarian and international lecturers.

The Pallas Athena Public Thinking Programme will have a total of HUF 10 billion at its command in the first five years, until 2019. One priority goal is to enable gifted Hungarian researchers to create as many internationally recognised intellectual creations as possible in the field of social sciences, particularly in economics, finance and the related fringe science areas. With the Programme the MNB intends to facilitate an easier access for Hungarian researchers to the new approaches to economics and to place Hungary on the map of contemporary economic thinking in the following decades.

Reaching the widest possible audience was a definite intention of the MNB when devising the Programme. The various elements of the Programme will be available to researchers with a doctoral degree, PhD students, university students and colleges for advanced studies. The Lectures in Finance programmes will bring economics closer to those interested. This initiative will definitely encourage all activities that improve the chances of young Hungarian researchers of being admitted to the PhD programmes of foreign universities. Meanwhile, the Bank will offer dedicated courses to students enrolled in Hungarian PhD programmes with the participation of international researchers.

A scholarship scheme will be established under the Public Thinking Programme to enhance the efficiency of Hungarian PhD training in economics, particularly in macroeconomics and finance. The scholarship will be available to first-year PhD students of economics or finance programmes. Scholarship recipients will receive financial support for a maximum term of four years and will be assisted in their educational and research activities by a personal consultant knowledgeable in their field of research. Scholarship recipients will regularly attend professional lectures, workshops and conferences. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank will soon forward the call for scholarship applications to the Social Sciences Departments of Hungarian universities.

During the past 10 years PhD programmes have come to the forefront in developed countries, as this form of training is seen as the 'creator' of new knowledge. Developed countries are increasingly appreciative of highly knowledgeable employees capable of thinking independently and promoting innovation as these economies face social and environmental challenges which require responsible professionals possessing the required knowledge.

The training of a new generation of researchers should focus on the education of creativity, critical evaluation and autonomous risk-taking so that they will be able to venture beyond the current boundaries of knowledge in their research. Programme participants should be provided excellent conditions so that they can conduct research independently in the early phase of their studies and be able focus with responsibility on their research subject, its direction and progress.

The aim of the training is to teach openness and a research culture through which students can exchange thoughts and ideas between the different disciplines and branches of science and which ensures a broad perspective for adopting the proper approach to interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary problems.

The MNB believes it is vitally important for economics researchers to engage in active dialogue with the representatives of other disciplines, which will consequently require the involvement of a wide range of researchers of other social sciences and natural sciences in the Programme.

Educational institutions currently operating at the MNB, i.e. the Budapest School for Central Bank Studies and the Budapest Economic Seminar Series will be participants in the Programme.

The use of interactive tools will contribute to the renewal of the Visitor Centre, which will thus provide a wider scope of services to visitors. A new element is that young university students in non-financial training programmes will be able to enrol in so-called thematic education days, where they will be introduced to financial and consumer protection issues and get assistance in their financial decisions.

At the same time the MNB wishes to enhance the expansion of knowledge in economics and finance in several areas: the MNB will launch informative programmes to disseminate general financial knowledge by staging nationwide events and competitions; lend support in the education and further training of banking, insurance and brokerage professionals in post-secondary vocational education; within the framework of university education, support the delivery of a series of lectures across the country and the work of colleges for advanced studies as well as encourage the publication of economic analyses, the writing of professional books, the undertaking of scientific research, the organisation of conferences and the setting up of summer universities; and enrich PhD training by ensuring complementary education options and international scholarship opportunities.

Building up and developing professional cooperation with world-renowned universities, colleges and workshops abroad are a key element of the Programme. To this end, the Bank will be contacting Hungarian and foreign researchers, doctoral schools, universities and colleges for advanced education over the next half-year.

The MNB will continuously provide detailed information on its website to those interested in the Public Thinking Programme.