Student Research Societies (TDK)

Student Research Societies (TDK)

Student Research Societies (TDK)

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. While the latter needed a forum for self-study and high-quality training, the former were eager to provide these in the hope of attracting young intellectuals to the academic profession. 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 TDK 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 TDK 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 TDK today. The most significant evidence of the success of TDK 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 TDK programmes. They wrote their first scholarly papers as members of TDK 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 TDK has always been a priority for the ministry managing the Hungarian education system. In addition, TDK are also supported by an ever-increasing number of sponsors: foundations, ministries, public figures, companies and firms.

utolsó frissítés dátuma: 2019.7.30