Who are you?
Valéria Horváth had previously worked as a corporate lawyer and for the past two years has worked for an NGO, Hungarian Migrants’ Help Association, providing training opportunities for migrants and refugees. Coming from a mainly business background, Valéria applied to the Pioneers into Practice programme to learn more about aspects of climate change and its impact on migrant patterns to support her PhD.
She felt that the idea of taking a foreign placement to gain a better understanding of climate change and natural sciences, and to work outside of her comfort zone, excited her.
What did you do?
Valéria worked on two projects during her placement at the Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia within the Department of Geology. Her main project was to assess how students could get more involved in the local start-up scene and ecosystem at the Mektory Start-up Hub, provided by the University in collaboration with the Tallinn municipality and national government. The second project was to support an established European consortium to identify African countries and their likely capacity to become involved as a potential partner in a knowledge transfer project. The research undertaken by Valéria will inform future decisions by the consortium on preferred partners for activities.
The people I met though my Pioneers experience were amazing people with different fields of expertise. This was an amazing opportunity!
I learnt a great deal about developing a start-up and new business models as part of the Pioneers workshops and during my placement.
What did you learn?
Valéria learnt new project management approaches and systems innovation tools from the Pioneers workshops, which she applied when working on the two projects as part of her placement. Whilst on her placement, Valéria participated in a Hackathon competition at Mektory, which brings students together to build solutions to real life problems. The start-up proposal, an environmentally sustainable lifestyle chatbot developed by her group, won first prize and two special prizes at the Hackathon event.
Being based with the Department of Geology at the University, Valéria gained a valuable insight into the climate change connection of geology and human-induced disasters which she has been able to apply to her current PhD studies.
What happens next?
Valéria is in her second year of her PhD, and has had several articles published and submitted. She credits her placement with providing her with a greater perspective and more comprehensive approach, which has extensively helped with her PhD.
Valéria has organised meet-ups for Pioneers in Hungary to maintain the network she developed and to ensure the continued sharing of knowledge and experiences. Based on her Pioneer experience, she would like to explore in the longer-term whether a similar ecosystem to support start-ups could be set up within Hungary using the Pioneer connections to local universities.