Hungarian Academy of Sciences
 

TRANSDANUBIAN RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

INSTITUTE FOR REGIONAL STUDIES

HAS CENTRE FOR ECONOMIC AND REGIONAL STUDIES

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History of TRD

 

   The foundation of Transdanubian Research Institute (TRI) was initiated by Bálint Hóman, the Minister of Religion and Public Education with a historian degree, in year 1943. The foundation of Transdanubian Research Institute was explained by several motives, such as the relocation of Erzsébet University to Cluj-Napoca, the aim to follow the international tendencies of regional historical and geographical researches, the need for analysing the national minority policy of Transdanubia, and “counterbalancing the Pan-German scientific theory” and the research of the neighbouring Balkan regions.

 

   Zoltán Szabó Pál (1901 – 1965) who has strong ties to Pécs, a geographer, was the founding director of TRI. Zoltán Szabó Pál prepared highly impressive institutional development concepts several times (1943, 1945, 1957) but he had no chances for their practical implementation. The Institute in the first years of its activity conducted researches on individual basis only and it was only later when group researches were carried out concentrating on the different areas of Transdanubia and South-Transdanubia. The highly valuable geographical, historical and ethnographical researches all well complemented each other but there were only a few cases when their analyses could be integrated for generating synthetic results.

 

    From the early 1950s TRI was more strongly involved into practice-oriented research programmes. In this aspect the researches of Zoltán Szabó Pál in hydro-geography and the settlement-network development and administrative zoning activities of János Kolta received greater publicity in Hungary.


    András Babics (1906 – 1984) came to the TRI as a historian from the University of Cluj-Napoca in year 1944. After the death of Zoltán Szabó Pál he became the director of the Institute (1965-1971). András Babics was an outstanding industrial historian and his intellectual horizon was far wider than concentrating on the history of mining only. He recognized that Pécs as a modern mining city had become a city of regional importance. His relatively short career of director is important from the Institute’s history that he was the leader of a team preparing a concept of complex regional researches and its successful realization was started on several model areas. His researches of the Northern-Mecsek territory and their results became of national level importance and examples to be followed.

 

   Ottó Bihari (1921 – 1983), the lawyer professor and academician introduced significant changes as a director (1973-1983) in the life of TRI. Under Ottó Bihari’s leadership the total infrastructure system was renovated and the Institute’s research profile was greatly enhanced. TRI became an important theoretical workshop of Hungarian regional development researches. For meeting the criteria of the objectives of interdisciplinary researches the basis of the Institute’s research staff significantly widened and the role of researches in economy, law and politology greatly increased. The Institute preserved its earlier “traditional” research disciplines such as geography and history but in many aspects they were integrated into complex research projects.

 

  TRI widened its international scientific relations and especially strong ties were formed under the COMECON framework in complex environmental research projects which were run under the leadership of István Fodor.

 

   The foundation of Centre for Regional Studies HAS (1984) which was initiated by György Enyedi, an economist-geographer, significantly transformed the organizational structure of TRI, which as a part of network became its headquarters as well. The organization of the national network made TRI researches more efficient and the profile of TRI consisted mostly of researches conducted on regional policy. The foundation of Centre for Regional Studies HAS temporarily restructured the management model of TRI. Because of the common headquarters of TRI and CRS HAS the positions of CRS HAS director-general and TRI director were fulfilled by the same person between 1984 and 1991. In year 1991 Iván Illés an economist with long-time national and international professional background was elected as director-general of CRS HAS who separated the two functions and appointed Gyula Horváth the director of TRI.

 

   The international relations of TRI in regional development research underwent further qualitative changes. Besides maintaining contracts with the „eastern” countries there was a quick growth of new contacts with the countries of the „western” world which process was far ahead of the political transformation. The diversity of contacts was beneficial both for the Institute and Hungarian regional science as researches conducted in international framework highly contributed to the Hungarian adaptation of the fundamental principles and institutional system of European regional policy.
Under the leadership of Iván Illés the Institute participated both in domestic and international projects. In the 1990s TRI performed various activities in domestic policymaking (preparation of the concept of the Act on Regional Development and Physical Planning, the preparation of the National Regional Development Concept) and on the other hand promoted the development of several regional-level organizations of South-Transdanubia (in Baranya, Somogy, Tolna and Zala counties). The preparation of the regional development concept of South-Transdanubia as first in Hungary granted a special role for the Institute in the foundation of a modern regional development policy. By preparing a series of county, microregional and urban development concept the Institute also facilitated the renewal of regional planning practices.

 

   Following Gyula Horváth’s appointment for the position of director-general, Ilona Pálné Kovács, a lawyer and political scientist, has been performing the position of TRI director since 1997. The scientific research profile of TRI within CRS HAS, on national and international level has been devoted to providing professional consultancy to the South-Transdanubian actors of regional development in regard to the models, institutional system and instruments of regional policy.

On December 31 2011 Centre for Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy ceased working under this name as a consequence of restructuring and it operates under the new name TRANSDANUBIAN RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
INSTITUTE OF REGIONAL STUDIES HAS RESEARCH CENTRE FOR ECONOMIC AND REGIONAL STUDIES
since January 1 2012.