A short history of our Department

The history of our Department started in the second half of the last century. One of the first Hungarian researcher groups, analysing the interactions of environment, economy and society, was established in the mid 1970s, within the “Political Economics Department I.” of the Budapest University of Technology. The education of environmental economics started as a sub-topic of economics, but a whole course was started soon. The Faculty of Chemical Engineering launched its “Environmental Engineer Specialist” program in 1974, and we joined this as the “Professional Group of Environmental Economics” in the end of the decade.

Our direct predecessor – the Division of Environmental Economics – was established in 1989, which was called later, after some reorganisation, the Department of Environmental Economics and Engineering Law in the beginning of the 1990s. (For a short period some of our colleagues were lawyers, specialised in engineering law). Since the establishment of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences in 1998, we are the first “Department of Environmental Economics” in Hungary. Our reputation is proved by the fact that in the 1980s and 1990s our colleagues were invited to run environmental economics and management courses by several Hungarian higher educational institutes. We actively participated in the environmental policy harmonisation processes before Hungary’s EU membership as professional advisors.

In the first two decades, most of our colleagues were economists, however today we have diverse professional backgrounds (e.g. bioengineer, transportation engineer, engineering manager), which enables an interdisciplinary approach. Most of our colleagues have graduated from our University and participated in the Economics and Management Sciences PhD Program of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

We are one of the leading organisational units of our Faculty, considering our staff, number of courses and role in the educational-scientific activity at our University. We have 2200-2500 students registered for our courses per semester.

Our research and educational portfolio is wide and diverse. The most important fields belong to the Economic and Management Sciences (within the Social Science category) according to the system of the Hungarian Academy of Science. Our main subjects deal with sustainability, spatial development, regional economics, environmental management, energy management, waste management, international environmental co-operations and the environmental and regional policy of the European Union.

Our undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs:

The Regional and Environmental Economics Master Program (started in 2009) was among the 100 best programs in 2011 according to the Business Schools Eduniversal Evaluation System. 80-100 students graduate from our Department annually.

Our research activity focuses on two fields: (1) sustainability/sustainable development and (2) climate protection/global climate change. In case of both research priorities we consider spatial and sectoral-institutional aspects. The “Research university strategy” of BME is an important source of impulses for our scientific activity. The “Competence Center for Sustainable Resource Management” (established on the 1st of May, 2012) and the “S-Factor Sustainability workshop series” (organised regularly since 2011) also contribute to the research experience as well as the dissemination of our results. The publication activity of our Department is intense and acknowledged and we have participated in several international research projects.

Former Heads of Department:
  • Prof. János Szlávik (-2010)
  • Dr. László Valkó (2010-2013)
  • Dr. Mária Szalmáné Csete (2013-2016)
  • Dr. Tamás Pálvölgyi (2016-)