Student Research Societies (TDK)
Online System
Contact us

Student Research Societies

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.

National Council of Students Research Societies

National Council of Student Research Societies (OTDT)

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 OTDT

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).

Public Relations

The National Council of Student Research Societies seeks to develop joint programmes with government organisations, primarily with the administrative units responsible for higher education and scientific policy. The Council also seeks cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and its institutions, and with other research institutions and other ministries associated with higher education. Lastly, the Council seeks cooperation with national scholarly and talent management organisations, such as the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Association of Pro Scientia Gold Medalists, the National Talent Support Council, the Hungarian Association for Innovation, the National Association of Student Researchers, etc.

The National Conference of Student Research Societies (OTDT)

Official Hungarian name: Országos Tudományos Diákköri Tanács (OTDT)

English Name: National Council of Student Research Societies (OTDT)

President: Professor Dr. Péter Szendrő

Secretariat: Secretariat of the OTDT

Address: Kéthly Anna tér 1., Budapest, Hungary 1077



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.



Awards of the National Council of Student Research Societies

Biannual Awards

Pro Scientia, Pro Arte and Junior Pro Scientia Gold Medals

Gold Medal for Excellence in Supervising

Honoris Causa Pro Scientia Gold Medal

Antal Máriás Memorial Medal

OTDT Golden Badge

OTDT Journalist Prize

Award for Distinction in Research Presentation

Annual Award

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Research Societies

Online System

Online System

Welcome to the online system of the National Council of Student Research Societies (OTDT).

Please, find the user's manual in English here

National Conference Archive

Scientific Students' Associations without Borders - HTDK

National Council of Student Research Societies (OTDT) has been liaising with the gradually rebuilt Hungarian higher education in Hungary's neighbour countries (Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, The Ukraine) for 25 years. In this process the launch of the program in 2012 named Scientific Students' Associations without Borders (HTDK) is a milestone.

The task of the program is to support the talent nurturing of students speaking Hungarian in Hungary's neighbour countries by applying the culture and tools of Hungarian scientific students' association movement's six decades old heritage.

Workshop: the HTDK program encourages forming new talent nurturing workshops and methodology improvement of the operating ones in all higher education institutions of Hungary's neighbour countries where Hungarian students study. In order to achieve this the program assists the direct exchange of experience of the students and the teachers of different institutions and the organisation of joint professional programs both in Hungary and its neighbour countries. The HTDK program pays special attention to non-EU countries (Serbia, The Ukraine) and to those scientific disciplines in which there is no, or just little opportunity for Hungarian students in their home country to take part in higher education in their mother tongue. As a result of the HTDK program's activity, by 2016 the delegates of all concerned higher education institutions have become members of the professional sections directing the 16 professional fields of OTDT. The cooperation agreements between the OTDT and the talent nurturing workshops – first signed in 2010 – have been renewed.

Organisations development: the HTDK program organises formal and informal professional forums in all the four countries involved, just as cross-border meetings. The program encourages and actively assists the work of local Scientific Students' Associations Conferences in each country (e.g. ETDK, FTDK, KTDK, VMTDK) by involving professional evaluators, jury members and consultants. These conferences have the right of delegating local students to the National Scientific Students' Associations Conference (OTDK).

Participation in the National Scientific Students' Associations Conference (OTDK): The HTDK program supports the participation of the non-Hungary based Hungarian students and teachers at the biannually organised National Scientific Students' Associations Conference (OTDK). In 2013 (31st OTDK) 335, in 2015 (32nd OTDK) 351, in 2017 (33rd OTDK) 401, while in 2019 (34th OTDK) around 650 student lecturers, jury member professors and observer students and professors took part at the OTDK. This program element is financially supported by the National Talent Program of Hungary.