|The Fourth National Innovation Forum took place in Sofia, February 7th, 2008
On February 7th, 2008 ARC Fund organized the Fourth National Innovation Forum at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan. The event was organized jointly with the Ministry of Economy and Energy and the World Bank Sofia Mission.
The Fourth National Innovation Forum was opened by Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of the Board of ARC Fund. In his keynote speech he pointed out three factors crucial for the future of the national innovation system:
The global trends set innovations as key factor for economic growth, progress and prosperity. The competition on the innovation field increases with the emergence of the new Asian giants – China and India. Germany, France, UK and many of the new Member States announced particular national measures in support of the innovation environment. Bulgaria needs many bold investments “here and now”, in order the positive effect to be felt in 10 to 15 years.
Bulgaria needs integrated innovation policy binding together the elements of science and technology policies and having efficient coordination mechanisms with the other economic policies.
The development of a successful national innovation policy in the EU context requires personal political engagement at highest level in Bulgaria.
Mr. Sergey Stanishev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, expressed his engagement to the development of science and innovations in the country. He underlined that innovations should and will be priority of the government institutions. Mr. Stanishev stated that the government will continue to increase its funding for innovations, however the representatives of the business sectors should also increase their investments in innovations in order to achieve a long-term effect on the economy. He referred to the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy highlighting that 2/3 of the investments in R&D have to be provided by the business. Mr. Stanishev also pointed out that it is time for the Government to set new priorities for development of those sectors that have highest multiplying potential for positive impact on the economy.
Mr. Florian Fichtl, Resident Representative of the World Bank Mission in Bulgaria, underlined that the main challenge faced by the country is to create the proper institutional environment that fosters the development of entrepreneurship at large.
The 2007 Innovative Enterprise Awards Ceremony was held during the Forum. The annual awards were presented by Mr. Stanishev and Mr. Fichtl.
As tradition, the annual report Innovation.bg 2008: The Bulgarian Innovation Policy in the European Union was also on focus at the event. According to the report the key factor for innovative development and economic growth is the high quality human resources and the talented people, which should be retained and offered professional development within Bulgaria.
According to Mr. Lyubomir Datsov, Deputy Minister of Finance, the investments in knowledge and innovations would contribute to approach the development pace of the innovation systems in older EU members. He announced that the Ministry of Finance will annually increase its funding for RTD activities by 0,1 % of the GDP. The National Science Fund and the National Innovation Fund remain as main financial instruments.
Mr. Eli Anavi, Director “Enterprise Policy”, Ministry of Economy and Energy, announced the official launch of the largest information and consultancy network in Europe supporting small and medium–sized enterprises – the Enterprise Europe Network. The network in Bulgaria integrates the activities of the former Innovation Relay Center-Bulgaria and the eight EuroInfo Centers located in Sofia, Vratsa, Russe, Dobritch, Yambol, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Sandanski.
Mr. Todor Modev, Regional Governor of Sofia-city, presented the main pillars in the development of the Regional Innovation Strategy of the South West Planning Region of Bulgaria. By the year 2013 the region is to strengthen its role and position as integral part of the Innovating Regions in Europe, should be recognized as leading center in development of high technologies and excellent life quality on the Balkans and in the South East Europe; it is to continue to determine the national image in terms of technology development priorities and innovative activity.
The Forum was attended by ambassadors of EU member states, representatives of national and local authorities, businesses, scientific and academic organizations, NGOs and S&T intermediary organizations, educational institutions and mass media.
Agenda and presentations
Innovation.bg 2008 Report (in Bulgarian, PDF, 3.9 MB)
Innovation.bg 2008 Report - summary (in Bulgarian, PDF, 2.9 MB)
Media Coverage (in Bulgarian)
The event at the Bulgarian government website
The event at the CORDIS website
Previous National Innovation Forums:
Third National Innovation Forum, 2006
Second National Innovation Forum, 2005
First National Innovation Forum, 2004
National Innovative Enterprise Award website