The Applied Research and Communications Fund, ARC Consulting, Enterprise Europe Network – Bulgaria, ЕC Representation in Bulgaria and Joint Innovation Centre of the BAS with the support of Directorate General GROW and Executive Agency for SMEs, EC in media partnership with BNT, “Economy” magazine, Economic.bg and Uspelite.bg held the Fourteenth National Innovation Forum "Smart Policies for Innovation-driven Growth".
Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of the Applied Research and Communications Fund, highlighted the main challenges to achieving Bulgarian’s innovation potential, including the low innovation activity, decrease in public spending for innovation and research and declining number of researchers in public institutions. At the same, he welcomed the growing private investments in innovation, but pointed out the need for long-term government commitment and support in order to catch up with the rest of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
The President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rumen Radev stated that innovations “are the most effective way to achieve sustainable economic growth”. Despite Bulgaria’s competitive advantages, such as the presence of young talent, growing private investments in research and innovation and easy access to broadband internet, he pointed out that Bulgaria is still among Europe’s modest innovators. The President shared his support for comprehensive policy measures promoting innovations, including through targeted funding programmes, investments in education, incentives and lower administrative burden.
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator of the “Innovation.bg” group at the Applied Research and Communications Fund, presented the results of the 2018 “Innovation.bg” report. Bulgaria’s performance in the EU Innovation Scoreboard is slowly improving, but the country is still among the laggards. This is the result of centralized innovation policy-making, with limited cooperation with local authorities, the lack of targeted and coordinated policies and the weak rule of law, which creates uncertainty among investors and has a negative impact on the innovation ecosystem. To achieve long-term innovation growth, the government should introduce more flexible administrative structures and mechanisms, establish intermediary bodies that foster the business-science dialogue and support existing exampleс of successful cooperation between research institutions and businesses.
Ms. Karina Angelieva, Deputy Ministry of Education and Science, also concurred with the view that Bulgaria has great innovation potential and scientific achievements, which should be promoted more broadly. She presented some of the planned measures in support of SME’s for the programming period 2021-2027 and highlighted the growing participation of Bulgarian companies in the Horizon 2020 research programme, a sign of their growing innovation potential. Ms. Angelieva also pointed out that innovation support should be coupled with more investments in fundamental research and young scientists, while fostering the collaboration between business, research and civil society.
Mr. Hristo Aleksiev, co-founder of “Playground energy” Ltd, winner of the 2013 Innovative Enterprise of the Year Award in the Start-up category, highlighted the importance of natural intellect, the role of education and focusing on young people. He believes that to support innovations, society must invest in people with skills and knowledge, who have modest needs and know how to act in any given situation.
Ms. Nikolinka Hinkova, Board of Directors “Mechatronica” JSC, winner of the 2013 Innovative Enterprise of the Year Award, presented the views of big businesses and pointed out that the key factors to fulfill Bulgaria’s innovation potential are qualified experts, a good technological base and consistent policies. She presented some important policy recommendations, including improving the public perception on the manufacturing sector, developing education programmes in line with business needs, reducing administrative procedures and developing a regional network of shared research spaces.
The discussion was moderated by Ms. Ralitza Anguelova, Executive Director, Balbok Engineering JSC, winner of the 2014 Innovative Enterprise of the Year Award in the category “Green innovation”.
President Radev presented the awards to the winners in the National Contest "Innovative Enterprise of the Year - 2018".
Previous National Innovation Forums
Thirteenth National Innovation Forum 2017
Twelfth National Innovation Forum 2016
Eleventh National Innovation Forum 2015
Tenth National Innovation Forum 2014
Ninth National Innovation Forum 2013
Eighth National Innovation Forum 2012
Seventh National Innovation Forum 2011
Sixth National Innovation Forum 2010
Fifth National Innovation Forum 2009
Fourth National Innovation Forum 2008
Third National Innovation Forum 2006
Second National Innovation Forum 2005
First National Innovation Forum 2004