Experts from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre will provide support and guidance to 13 Bulgarian research and innovation centres to help them bring their innovative ideas to the market, facilitate the transfer and dissemination of knowledge and strengthen both their ties with businesses and their participation in European and international cooperation projects.
The experts will also help the 13 centres improve their legal, managerial and operational frameworks, deal with state aid issues and identify financing opportunities including through EU funds.
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, Enlargement Negotiations and Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said: “The development of these 13 EU-funded centres and the support provided by the commission will improve the performance of Bulgaria’s innovation system. This will help local researchers turn their work into projects with high value added, for the economy and for the people, and offers them the potential to promote their innovative approach at a global scale.”
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, added: “Bringing together local authorities, academia, business and civil society is key to identify the best ways for EU funds to boost local economies and foster development. This evidence-based, inclusive approach to policy-making has an excellent track record in enabling Europe’s regions to focus on their strengths and priorities.”
The 13 centres include four fundamental research institutions and nine centres of competence, focused on applied research activities with potential for industrial uptake. It concerns sectors such as mechatronics, digital technologies, creative and gaming industries and biotechnology and other areas in line with the priorities of Bulgaria’s smart specialisation strategy, its industrial and innovation strategy based on local competitive strengths.
This support project will be carried out until June 2020, with an additional budget of 250,000 euros from the European Regional Development Fund, in addition to the 170 million euros earmarked for research and innovation under the 2014-2020 Bulgarian Science and Education for Smart Growth EU funds programme. The results of the initiative will contribute to the design of the new Cohesion Policy programmes for 2021-2027 period and to Bulgaria’s efforts to modernise its research and innovation ecosystem.