A Brief Description of TDK Activity
Independent research opportunity is offered to students of the faculty in the framework of the so-called Scientific Students' Associations ("TDK", which stands for 'Tudományos Diákkör' in Hungarian). For a brief description of TDK in English, see below.
The Student Association in History and Philosophy of Science was established in 2000 by the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. The association is coordinated by Gábor Kutrovátz. Up to now, we have organised five conferences (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008). Here 20 student research papers were presented altogether, of which 18 won the right to be submitted to the National Conference of Scientific Students' Associations ("OTDK"). At the National Conferences, our students won altogether 2 First Prizes, 3 Second Prizes, 1 Third Prize, and 4 Special Prizes.
Student research is supervised by professors both from our department and from other departments and institutes. Research topics are offered by the supervisors, but students can also propose topics of their own interest.
Our faculty has a central TDK site: ludens.elte.hu/~tdkinfo/tdt/welcome.html
The Council of National Scientific Students' Associations ("OTDT") is available at: www.prof.iif.hu/otdt
The following description of TDK activity is quoted from the OTDT website (see link above).
Activities of the Scientific Students' Associations
The scientific activity of university and college students - the scientific students' associations movement - was already initiated at the beginning of the fifties by the quest for self study, by striving for quality learning and by trying to assure the scientific succession at the universities and colleges. It represents such traditions which, during changing times and ongoing discussions, were still able to exercise an influence according to its basic goal and could always demonstrate values. Educating qualified intelligentsia is an important field for talented and ambitious students. The basis of the activities of scientific students' associations is the student - professor relationship which, by surpassing the obligatory curriculum, offers possibilities for students already pursuing independent research work during their undergraduate studies. They can become acquainted with research methods and means in detail and acquire additional knowledge beyond their obligatory curriculum.
This may contribute to the successful beginning of a scientific career on one hand; on the other hand, it gives a possibility for the professors and researchers to better evaluate the knowledge of students in a given subject and their ability for its practical application and thus for a better selection of PhD students. In some PhD programs, the fruitful activity in a scientific students' association is a prerequisite for admission.
Council of National Scientific Students' Associations (OTDT)
For the co-ordination of faculty, subject, departmental or institutional level organisation of students' associations in 1973, the Council of National Scientific Students' Associations (OTDT) was founded. The continuous work between meetings and maintaining contacts with the scientific students association representatives of the institutions are also promoted by professional committees, the Executive Board and the Secretariat. According to the formulation of the law for higher education, the goal and task of the Council of National Scientific Students' Associations is to represent the professional interests, the national level support and co-ordination of students, professors and researchers involved in scientific activities at institutions of higher education, providing a basic framework for the operation of professional committees that play a key role in the scientific students' associations movement, organising national scientific gatherings, forums. The most popular publication of OTDT is the "Diáktudós" (Student scientist).
National Conference of Scientific Students' Associations (OTDK)
Organised in every second year, recently in 16 sections of the National Conference of Scientific Students' Associations (OTDK) - with the support of the Ministry of Education and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, as well as the moral and financial assistance of other relevant ministries and national bodies, is a scientific gathering during which the most outstanding scientific papers of the best university and college students are evaluated by boards of renowned Hungarian scientists and professors. The national conference is preceded by selection conferences of institutional level. The opportunity to give a presentation at the national conference is only possible with the recommendation of the institutional board based on the opinion of invited peers who are renowned experts in a given professional field.
The introduction and the possibility to give a presentation at the national conference brings mainly moral recognition, an opportunity which provides reasoning and discussing and the exchange of ideas and the collecting of experiences before a jury and the fellow participants. It is a good preparation for the future, for taking part in domestic and international conferences and by comparing their own work with those of others, students may obtain confirmation and new initiatives for their research work that often demands significant sacrifices.
Awards of OTDT
Traditionally, the Pro Scientia Gold Medal for outstanding scientific performances is awarded during the conference. The applications for this award are carefully evaluated through several steps of peer reviews. Since 1989, every year 45 students have received this award. For the organisation and support of students' scientific activities and for the successful preparation of students, 50 professors and researchers recommended by their own institutions and by the professional board of OTDT are honoured by the "Master professor" award. Both awards are based upon continuously proven research work and the entire professional activity.
Since 1995 the Fáy András Foundation of the National Savings Bank (OTP Bank Rt.) awards Fáy András research stipends as high as HUF 100,000 for 45 outstanding students who are awarded the medal and since 1997 also for each holder of the Master professor award a prize of HUF 100,000 is provided by the foundation.