What is a "TDK"?

Perhaps you've never heard of the Scientific Student Conference (In Hungary we say: TDK), or perhaps you're just now seeking your first opportunity to participate it. Do not hesitate! Explore the exciting world of scientific research within the framework of TDK, and embark on a journey where, in the end, you not only enrich your knowledge but also gain valuable experience for professional advancement!

Imagine during your engineering studies, not only focusing on the routine acquisition of the curriculum, but also actively participating in research work, which can bring forth new knowledge and solutions in your chosen field. This opportunity is realized within the TDK, where you can present your latest research results to the community.

In summary, participation in a TDK not only serves to develop your academic interest and research skills, but also brings significant benefits for your future careers. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to make the most of your university years!

What is a TDK?

TDK is short for Scientific Student Conference (in a direct translation it would mean the scientific circle of students). Its origins date back to the time when several students in higher education institutions gathered around a single senior lecturer to carry out scientific research. Nowadays, in most cases, there is no longer a real "circle", but the essence of the work - the guided, academic work that goes beyond the routine practice of the taught subject - remains. In most cases, the topic of the research is defined by the teacher, who indirectly (offering the topic in public) or directly (approaching students personally) recruits student(s) interested in the topic, who then spend a longer or shorter period of time on the task.

To present the results of the TDK work, the Faculty of Water Sciences organizes a TDK conference twice a year, usually in November and April.

Why is it good to participate in the TDK? What are the benefits?

Just think how fantastic it would feel to not only get feedback on your knowledge at the end of your studies, but also to collect numerous awards and prizes for your research during your university years! A TDK thesis is not only a moral and financial success, it also gives you a serious competitive advantage in the job market, and extra points when applying for postgraduate (or doctoral) studies, as well as for University, Faculty, ERASMUS, etc. scholarships.

The experience of preparing for the performance and the performance itself is also not negligible. With fewer and fewer oral examinations, there are fewer opportunities to practice professional presentation skills. The job is usually preceded by an oral interview, where much depends on the candidate's performance and debating skills, and the TDK ranking also "looks good" on the CV as a school award, as additional professional work. Needless to say, those choosing a career in engineering are regularly required to make presentations at various professional conferences. A TDK is also a good way to prepare and practice for this.

A good TDK performance has a positive effect on the relationship between the student and the institution that has issued the assignment, and the atmosphere of trust that develops is a good basis for a high-quality thesis, as the TDK work often continues in the form of a diploma thesis. Thus, the TDK thesis can also be seen as a preliminary thesis, the experience gained from which, and the opinion of the supervisor or referee, can be used in the actual thesis.

TDK participants will gain experience of what it takes to prepare a technical paper, how to present it briefly but thoroughly, and what questions the audience may have about the presentation.

There is nothing to stop you!

If you feel that your poor academic results would prevent you from participating, you are wrong! There are no strict prerequisites for participation in the TDK, and several authors can also prepare a paper together, making it easier to share work and give presentations. In addition, every year there is an opportunity to participate in the TDK, either with a new paper or by continuing the previous year's theme.

TDK topic

The topic of the research is usually determined by the teacher and he/she recruits students interested in the topic either indirectly (e.g. an institutional announcement) or directly (by addressing the students in class), who spend a shorter or longer period of time on the problem. It is also possible for a student to initiate a TDK project on the basis of his or her own idea, by contacting the teacher responsible for the subject and asking him or her to set the task.

There is no fixed requirement for the range of topics covered and the nature of the research, other than that they go beyond the curriculum taught in the undergraduate course. It is individual interest, ability, time spent and consistency with the supervisor that determines how far one will go in the development of the research topic.

Conditions for participation in the Conference

·         Submission of the abstract of the application by the deadline (1,000-2,500 characters in English and Hungarian, taking care to respect the formal requirements);

·         preparing and submitting an essay of the work done by the deadline - papers submitted after this deadline will not be assessed (electronically, in pdf format - in accordance with the formal requirements);

·         one oral presentation: at the faculty and national conference, presentations last about 15 minutes, followed by a 5-minute discussion (with the corresponding ppt file submitted in advance).

The submission of a thesis is usually preceded by a thorough research project, but a successful summer internship or work done in a part-time course abroad can also provide material from which a thesis can be written. The most successful papers can be entered in the biennial National Scientific Student Conference (NSSC, or in Hungarian OTDK). The jury will indicate in the evaluation the paper(s) that will be considered for the OTDK.

Each student participating in the TDK receives a commemorative plaque signed by the Dean of the Faculty.

Qualification of the TDK work

The written essay will be marked by an independent jury on the basis of a set of pre-defined uniform criteria. Oral presentations must be given in front of a panel of judges in faculty-organized sessions, who will score the presentation. The jury will determine the order and propose the prizes to be awarded on the basis of the sum of the marks awarded for the paper and the presentation.

Main aspects of the assessment

For the essay: 

·         the proportion of individual work and independent results in the essay;

·         the timelines, approach and diversity of the topic;

·         evaluation of the results obtained, correctness of the conclusion;

·         taking into account aspects that have not been examined, the possibility of further research;

·         the use of the literature cited, the existence of references;

·         fulfilment of the formal requirements.

During the presentation: 

·         the relevance of what is said to what is written in the essay (content accuracy);

·         clarity (graphics, slides, style of speech);

·         obviousness;

·         confidence in answering questions.

How can you benefit from it?

Financial reward: after each institutional TDK conference, awards and recognition are given to the most outstanding participants. These can be financial rewards, certificates or even professional opportunities to further your research or career paths. The point is to reward your work!

Moral recognition: a certificate of appreciation is awarded to all speakers at the TDK conferences, which is usually presented at a ceremony. Somewhere in everyone there is a desire to belong to a narrow elite - the Scientific Student Circle is a great way to do this!

Job market benefits: By doing a TDK, you have a competitive advantage over the others. Feel free to put it on your CV and believe, you'll have an advantage in the job interview, as it shows that you're willing to do more than what is "required". In addition, during your university years, you may also come across a number of scholarships that are heavily weighted towards academic student activities. In other words, your chances are much better in these competitions if you can show a TDK thesis or publication.

OTDK: the biennial National Conference of Scientific Students (OTDK) is the pinnacle of talent management in higher education in Hungary. If you can get here, you'll have a fantastic few days of professional development and plenty of fun. All you have to do is present a paper to the local TDK conference that will be accepted by the jury and will definitely qualify you for the national competition.