|On October 22nd, 2004 at the National Innovation Forum in Sofia, ARC Fund and its Innovation Relay Center presented the preliminary findings of Innovation.bg – ARC Fund's latest index gauging the innovative performance of the Bulgarian economy. The index is a result of the work of a group of RTD and innovation experts under the guidance of ARC Fund's Expert Council on Innovation and in line with the innovation capacity survey carried out by IRC-Bulgaria. The final version of the index is expected to be released later this year.
The preliminary Innovation.bg report highlights the low innovative performance of the economy in terms of new product development and patent grants, which it attributes partly to the low-tech character of the Bulgarian manufacturing sector and partly to the underdeveloped innovation system in the country and the inadequate, highly departmentalized government policy in this respect. Business investment in R&D remains the lowest in Central and Eastern Europe at 0.11% of GDP (2002), while government R&D spending is locked into an outdated organizational structure of Academy of Sciences institutes, which lack results-oriented incentives to perform better. The new instruments of the national innovation policy, such as the National Innovation Fund and National Science Fund remain underfunded and fail to support adequately the strong participation of the private sector into EU RTD and innovation framework programs.
The index also pinpoints emerging paths of opportunity: (i) increased employment and value added in certain high-tech industry groups such as medicines, agrochemicals and batteries; (ii) corresponding specialization in science: chemistry remains traditionally strong, while applied biology and biomedicine gain importance; (iii) continued strong university enrollment in technical and science majors; (iv) very good performance of Bulgarian organizations in the EU framework programs for RTD and innovation.
Structure of the Innovation.bg Report
Preliminary findings of Innovation.bg (available only in Bulgarian)
National Innovation Forum 2004
National Contest: Innovative Enterprise 2004
ICT for Development Topic Page on Bulgaria Development Gateway
Knowledge Economy Portal on Bulgaria Development Gateway