THE HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF THE
N O V O F E R F O U N D A T I O N
NOVOFER Innovációs Közös Vállalat (NOVOFER Innovation Joint Venture) was established for the dissemination and practical introduction of the widest possible range of technical-intellectual creations. The head of the company, CEO Péter Jamrik signed the company’s articles of association on 17 April 1989, establishing a new operator involved in supporting domestic institutions facilitating innovation with authorised capital of HUF 2 million, the “NOVOFER FOUNDATION FOR TECHNICAL INTELLECTUAL CREATION”, which was registered by the Metropolitan Court of Budapest as a public benefit company.
The Foundation is governed by a six-member board of trustees, with mechanical engineer, engineer-economist, honorary university professor and President of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering Dr. Miklós Bendzsel as its President since 2019. Its members include chemical engineer, scientific advisor at Servier Kutatóintézet Zrt. and member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Dr. Gábor Blaskó, MBA Master Economist, President-CEO of Karsai Műanyagipari Holding Zrt. Béla Karsai PhD., electrical engineer, Professor Emeritus, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Dr. László Pap and physicist, Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and honorary university professor Zsolt Fülöp.
The President of the Supervisory Committee is electrical engineer, telecommunications engineer and Deputy CEO of Telenor Magyarország Zrt. Dr. Győző Drozdy, with CEO of Sensirion Hungary Dr. László Ábrahám and member of the programming committee of Horizont 2020 Mrs. Ferenc J. Mokry as its members.
The Foundation was established to promote the recognition of technical-intellectual creation. The principal objective is to boost the moral recognition of professionals (researchers, inventors, university instructors, managers, etc.) involved in the process of innovation. To this end, the Dennis Gábor Award was established, which is named after the inventor of holography, founder of the Club of Rome, one of the greatest humanist thinkers of the twentieth century and recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1971 who, as an engineer, never became distanced from practical applications while reaching the highest echelons of science.
Even in the first year of the establishment of the award, three recipients were recognised, albeit in a rather modest form.
As a new facet of the Foundation, at the initiative of Professor Dr. Pál Greguss, the “International Dennis Gábor Award” was established in 1993, to recognise the efforts of those involved in the achievements of modern physics and optics. The Award was presented every 3 years to one Hungarian and one foreign national researcher under 35 years of age, through an internationally announced open competition. Beneficiaries were proposed by the 12-member Dennis Gábor Award evaluation committee, with former Vice President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Professor Norbert Kroó as its President and International Dennis Gábor Award-winning researcher Dr. Péter Baranyi as its Secretary.
In 1994, Professor Greguss published the book entitled “The Dawn and Horizon of Holography”, which marked the beginning of the wide-scale promotion of the achievements of Dennis Gábor and the curation of his intellectual legacy.
In 2000, the figures and institutions of the domestic scientific scene celebrated the 100th birthday of Dennis Gábor through a series of international events. This included an award ceremony in the state room of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The oeuvre, career and milestones of the engineer after whom the award was named collectively represent his intellectual legacy, with the following as its key elements:
- Promoting the activities, achievements, opinions and career of Dennis Gábor;
- Maintaining the Dennis Gábor Award and, through this, strengthening the social recognition of the most outstanding scientists, inventors, innovators and educators.
- Educating young people through the example of Dennis Gábor and the products of his intellectual legacy;
- Identifying talent and recognising of the most outstanding figures through results-oriented incentive programmes for higher education students;
- Harnessing the potential of Dennis Gábor Laureates along the lines of national, collective social interests.
Through the Statements repeatedly signed over the terms of office by the heads of institutions responsible for innovation (the Hungarian Government and Ministries, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists, Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers, Federation of Technical and Scientific Societies, Hungarian Chamber of Engineers, Hungarian Academy of Engineering, Hungarian Association for Innovation), they recognise the paramount importance of preserving and furthering the reputation and credibility of Hungarian research, development and innovation, facilitating the development of talent and creative potential and recognising intellectual achievements and therefore find the International Dennis Gábor Award worthy of their moral, professional and financial support.
Commemorating Dennis Gábor
- Publishing the works of Dennis Gábor “Inventing the Future” (2001, 2014), “Innovations: scientific, technological, and social” (2004), “The Mature Society” (2005) as well as T. E. Allibone’s book entitled “Dennis Gábor” (2000) in Hungarian,
- Inaugurating a commemorative plaque at Dennis Gábor’s birth-place at Rippl Rónai utca 25 (1996), the residential building at Falk Miksa utca 30 (in 2000, with the Hungarian Patent Office), on the façade of the former secondary school building at Markó utca 18-20, at the University of Miskolc Institute of Computer Science (2000) and at the Gábor Dénes Electronic Technical Vocational Secondary School in Debrecen (2007),
- Inaugurating a bust at the sculpture park of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (2000)
- Installing a hologram sculpture at the Institute of Computer Science at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (2005)
- Naming a street after Dennis Gábor at Info Park, Budapest; installing of a marble plaque
- Organising and conducting events in the special commemorative years marking Dennis Gábor’s 120th birthday as well as the 50th anniversary of his receipt of the Nobel Prize.
Presenting the Dennis Gábor Award
From the range of annual open nominations of professionals, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees identifies professionals who have actively contributed to the success of the economy through the introduction of their technical-intellectual creations, developmental results, establishing the infrastructural background of innovation, developing the creative thinking of the generations to come and conveying professional knowledge at a high level of quality.
The Foundation seeks to establish conditions worthy of the presentation of the awards.
Since 2005, the event has been hosted in the Hungarian Parliament Building. The event in 2005 was attended by John Nicols, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who also addressed those in attendance. During the last 15 years the members of the Hungarian Government ordinary participate on the celebration of laurated winners.
The awards are presented every year in December with the involvement of the Government of Hungary, in the presence of five hundred professional guests and the media.
Over the 30 years since the establishment of the award in 1989, Dennis Gábor awards have been presented to 239 (10 foreign) recipients, including international awards for six Hungarian, three American, one Austrian, one Russian and one Belgian national young researcher. A lifetime achievement award was presented to 1, “New generation” awards to 4 and “In memoriam Dennis Gábor” awards to 29 individuals.
Educating the Youth
Over the last nearly a quarter of a century, the NOVOFER Foundation has followed and captured the legacy of Dennis Gábor while striving to do the utmost to continuously, financially as well as mentally, support the innovative-creative thinking of young people.
As part of the cooperation developed since 2003 with the Gábor Dénes Secondary School in Szeged, every year the Foundation financially supports the national Dennis Gábor Computer Science Memorial Competition. In recent years, the competition has mobilised thousands of primary and secondary school students who put their computer science skills to the test in various age groups.
The Foundation has announced competitions for the students of numerous secondary schools named after Dennis Gábor or with ties to his youth (Berzsenyi Dániel Secondary School Budapest, Gábor Dénes Electronic Technical Vocational Secondary School in Debrecen, Gábor Dénes Secondary School Szeged, Xántus János Vocational Secondary School for Tourism Budapest) for the “Dennis Gábor Secondary School Scholarship”.
Through the “Inventing the Future!” national competition in 2013, and the subsequent cross-border competitions (“Inventing Tomorrow!” in 2014, “Radiant HUNGARIANS” in 2015, “My Vision of the Future” in 2016, “Visions of Water” or “Natural Adaptations” in 2017 and “Future Predictions” in 2018, “Inventing Ourselves” in 2019 and “SPACE – TECHNOLOGY – EARTH” in 2020), students had a chance to develop their ideas on the connection between technical development and social progress and the future of society, following in the footsteps of Dennis Gábor. Over this period, the scholarship, which earlier provided at least HUF 30 thousand and no more than HUF 100 thousand and later between HUF 50 thousand and HUF 250 thousand worth of funds, has been awarded to 114 students.
Incentivising higher education students
Jointly established in 2001 with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the “Dennis Gábor Scientific Student Scholarship” is presented every year at the highly prestigious Dennis Gábor Award ceremony, along with an honorary certificate, to the young students selected every year by a three-member jury, so far to a total of 20 recipients.
Based on the ongoing contractual relationship established with the University of Szeged in 2000, the final-year students – a total of 54 engineers as of May 2020 – proposed by the evaluation committee may receive the Dennis Gábor Diploma Design Scholarship.
In the 2011/2012 academic year, the Foundation announced the Dennis Gábor Thesis Scholarship Competition for final-year students at the electrical engineering and computer science (information technology) faculties of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Óbuda University, Pannon University and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, in three subjects (Sustainable development; Utilising opportunities offered by information technology and technical development in the field of electrical energy management; Environmental protection solutions) in order to encourage their continued studies.
Presented every odd-numbered year, the “Dennis Gábor Scientific Student Scholarship” was first awarded in 2013 to a student providing outstanding achievement in the field of computer science.
Harnessing the intellectual potential of Dennis Gábor Laureates
In 1997, a group of Dennis Gábor Laureate professionals established the Dennis Gábor Laureates Club with the purpose of formulating possible responses to the technical and social challenges of the world for private and public purposes. As part of these objectives, the Club devotes special attention to innovation and education. We are proud of the achievements of our previous laureates. Many of them have gone on to become ministers, state secretaries, university rectors and the heads of research institutions and successful innovative businesses.
The Club’s current President is chemical engineer, doctoral candidate, guest professor and President of ThalesNano Zrt. Dr. Ferenc Darvas PhD.