The €170M project will be a testbed for the new cohesion policy programmes for 2021-2027
An EU funded project will send experts from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to 13 research and innovation centres in Bulgaria to help with technology transfer, strengthen ties with businesses and increase their participation in EU and international research projects.
The project will be funded through a €170 million grant from Bulgaria’s “Science and Education for Smart Growth” programme and an additional budget of €250,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.
The European Commission says the results of the initiative will contribute to the design EU’s Cohesion Policy programmes for 2021-2027 at the same time as boosting Bulgaria's efforts to modernise its research and innovation ecosystem.
The 13 centres include four fundamental research institutions and nine focused on applied research, in fields such as mechatronics, digital technologies, creative and gaming industries, biotechnology, and other areas in line with the priorities of Bulgaria's smart specialisation strategy.
The JRC experts will also help the 13 centres to improve their legal, managerial and operational frameworks, deal with state aid issues and identify financing opportunities.
Johannes Hahn, EU commissioner for neighbourhood policy, enlargement negotiations and regional policy 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.”
The JRC, has previously helped improve the operational capacity of the Sofia Tech Park, a science and technology park in Bulgaria that is co-financed by the EU budget.
Tibor Navracsics, commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, said the project in Bulgaria will underpin evidence-based policy-making, which “has an excellent track record in enabling Europe's regions to focus on their strengths and priorities."