The Competition Law Research Centre was established in 2006 at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Since its establishment, the faculty has paid special attention to ensuring that the newest areas of law are at the forefront of the curriculum, and has been at the forefront of competition law education. It is in this tradition and spirit that the Research Centre was established, to be at the forefront of research in competition law and policy, in addition to teaching. At its inception, a complex organisational structure was put in place to ensure the broad involvement of theoreticians and practitioners in the activities of the Centre. Almost all major players in modern Hungarian competition law have been directly or indirectly involved in our work.
In its time, the Centre was the only research centre in Central and Eastern Europe focusing on competition law and policy. In addition to academic research, the Centre also played a major role in organising academic and practical events, and international conferences were organised to ensure that, initially annually and then every two years, the focus was on classic areas of competition law and unfair commercial practices. The international conferences bring together leading competition authorities from around the world, from the US Department of Justice to the UK Competition Bureau, to Italian, German, Austrian, French, Dutch and even Polish competition authorities and practitioners. For nearly 10 years, we have organised an annual competition law conference focusing on competition law developments specifically in the Central and Eastern European region. Our conferences regularly feature presentations from top judges, public authorities and leading competition law partners from major international law firms.
Meanwhile, in addition to traditional undergraduate competition law education, specialised competition law education has been established in the framework of the competition law specialist lawyer training, and competition law as a subject has also been introduced in other specialist lawyer training courses. Our members have also conducted international and domestic judge training courses as part of our teaching activities. As a result of our outstanding and persistent work in the Department, we have also developed the Jean Monnet teaching module under the European Commission's most prestigious education and research support programme, and the Department of Environmental Law and Competition Law is currently operating as a Jean Monnet Chair, directly supported by the European Commission. In the meantime, more than 20 research projects have been carried out at the Centre, including three funded by the National Fund for Scientific Research, but the Centre has also been involved in dozens of other research projects organised by other departments or universities.
In the second half of the last decade, the Centre shifted its focus to basic research in competition law and policy, given that its pioneering role in conferences and events was no longer needed, as other regional and national organisations were also engaged in similar activities. In addition to the practical aspects, the focus was also on basic research, such as the role of fundamental rights, the competition sanction system and, more recently, research into data ownership, information technology and the behaviour of large technology companies. Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have, it is fair to say, been caught in the crossfire in the last year, and it is competition law that is one of the main regulators of the behaviour of these technology companies.
From its inception, the Research Centre has integrated the greatest competition lawyers of our time, so that, without wishing to be exhaustive, we have had among our members from the very beginning Györgyné Boytha, Tihamért Tóth and Imre Vörös, as well as Zoltán Hegymegi-Barakonyi and Gábor Fejes. In the first decade of the 2000s, the Centre integrated nearly 40 members. In the last five years, we have mainly strengthened our basic research and have a smaller active membership.