Edited by Anna Popper

On the 18th December 2023, an important framework agreement was officially signed at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Budapest, which further strengthens scientific and technological cooperation between Cuba and Hungary.

The signatories from the Cuban side were representatives of the Universidad de Oriente, located in Santiago de Cuba (the main scientific university of the country’s eastern region) and its affiliated research institute, the Centro de Biofísica Médica – CBM (Medical Biophysics Centre), represented by His Excellency Guillermo Vázquez Moreno, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Hungary.

On the Hungarian side, the signatory was Mr. Péter Hersics, Founder & CEO of UltraSmart R&D Laboratorywhich has been in close collaboration with several Cuban universities and state scientific centres on the basis of previously concluded bilateral agreements.

Following the national anthems of Cuba and Hungary, Ambassador Vázquez Moreno delivered his opening speech:

“I am pleased to welcome you to the Embassy of Cuba on the occasion of the signing of an important framework agreement that will further strengthen Cuban-Hungarian scientific and technological cooperation. I would like to express my gratitude for your presence.

On the Cuban side, the signatories of the agreement will be the University of Oriente, and one of its research institutes, the Centre for Medical Biophysics (CBM). On the Hungarian side, the signatory will be the R&D Laboratory UltraSmart, which has a long history of close cooperation with various Cuban universities and state scientific centres based on similar bilateral agreements.

In 2023, numerous visits took place between Cuba and Hungary, culminating in the 1st Hungarian-Cuban Rectors’ Forum, with the participation of nine rectors from Cuban universities led by Dr. Reynaldo Velázquez Zaldívar, Deputy Minister of Higher Education.

The 2nd Bilateral Conference of Rectors and the 14th International Congress on Higher Education “UNIVERSITY 2024” will take place in Havana in February 2024.

I take this opportunity to thank those present, representing various Hungarian institutions, for their support in realizing and executing these visits and their commitment to advancing towards higher steps in these areas. All of this has reinforced scientific and educational cooperation between the two countries.

I would also like to seize this occasion to acknowledge the historical milestone: the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and Cuba. On 15 September 1960, a Hungarian delegation visited Havana to initiate negotiations. Subsequently, on 18 December 1960, Commander Ernesto Che Guevara visited Hungary and, together with the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the document formalizing the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This step, taken more than six decades ago for the benefit of our nations, obliges us to redouble our efforts to advance bilateral relations in areas of common interest, as this signing demonstrates.

I would like to express my gratitude to UltraSmart R&D Laboratory and Medical Biophysics Centre (CBM) for their endeavour in reaching this significant agreement.”

The event was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Dr. László Borhy – President of the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference and Rector of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), as well as Prof. Dr. József Bódis – President of the Foundation of the University of Sciences in Pécs (PTE), Prof. Dr. Miklós Kellermayer – Dean of the Faculty of General Medicine at Semmelweis University Budapest, and other prominent university executives and professionals involved in joint projects with the UltraSmart Laboratory.

About the Framework Agreement

According to the commitments outlined in the signed agreement, the Hungarian party will provide comprehensive technological and electronic assistance to CBM for the joint development of high-tech medical and rehabilitation systems. This includes involvement in prototype and manufacturing phases with the aim of bringing jointly developed modern products to market, with a specific focus on Latin America, Africa and Asia. The Cuban side brings decades of scientific and clinical experience into this collaboration, building on its healthcare network. One of CBM’s notable achievements mentioned in the agreement is the creation of the first human MRI scanner (GiroImag) shortly after those in the USA and EU countries, dating back to 1993.

The Hungarian UltraSmart laboratory has been working with Cuban institutions for over a decade and a half, collaborating with the Havana University of Technology (CUJAE), the Havana Agricultural University, and the research and development subsidiaries of the state-owned BioCubaFarma holding. This collaboration has resulted in numerous practical developments, prototypes, instruments, as well as new technologies, purpose-specific software and methodologies. These include therapeutic soft lasers, brain-computer interfaces (neurofeedback EEG system for cognitive rehabilitation), and multispectral seed treatment systems, among others. In addition to the specific development work, Mr. Péter Hersics, founding director of the Hungarian laboratory, regularly gives specific lectures as a visiting professor and leads accredited courses for Cuban students and participants in postgraduate programs at these universities.

During 2023, there were several concrete visits that tightened scientific and educational cooperation between Cuba and Hungary.

In March, Dr. Walter Baluja, Minister of Higher Education, paid an official visit to Budapest.

In June, a new trilateral agreement was signed by the Havana University of Technology (CUJAE), the Cuban Quisicuaba Social Organization, and the UltraSmart Laboratory Hungary.

In September, Rubén Herrera, professor and national coordinator of the “Ciencia y Vida” department, responsible for biomedical and biophysical practical projects at CUJAE, visited Hungary for a work program lasting several weeks.

In October, the 1st Hungarian-Cuban Rector’s Forum took place under the leadership of Dr. Reynaldo Velázquez Zaldívar, Deputy Minister of Higher Education. 

As part of this event and personal meetings, organised by Ambassador Guillermo Vázquez Moreno, the first coordination meeting was held with the participation of Diana Sedal YanesRector of the Universidad de Oriente, and Péter Hersics, with the aim of establishing a formal, specific agreement on technological and scientific goals between the Universidad de Oriente, the Centro de Biofísica Médica and the UltraSmart Laboratory.

The substantive coordination of the signed agreement was carried out by Dr. Alberto López Delis, CEO of the Centro de Biofísica Médica, which celebrated its 30th anniversary at the service of science and innovation in Cuba in 2023.

Conveying congratulations to His Excellency Guillermo Vázquez Moreno, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Hungary, and to the entire staff of the Embassy in Budapest on the occasion of the National Day of Cuba, the 65th anniversary of the Revolution, celebrated on the 1stJanuary 2024.

Source: Embassy of Cuba in Budapest

Photos by the Embassy of Cuba and DPA