EU Cohesion policy: Commission supports the development of the Bulgarian research and innovation ecosystem

Today, the Commission has published a set of strategic recommendations to 14 newly created research and innovation (R&I) centres, co-funded by the EU Cohesion policy in Bulgaria. The recommendations aim at improving the management and helping the centres reach financial sustainability. They were elaborated by a team of internationally renowned experts during 1.5-year-long fieldwork, coordinated by the Joint Research Centre, as well as through exchanges with peers from Spain, Lithuania and Czechia. They will support the Bulgarian authorities and researchers in strengthening the country’s R&I ecosystem, building up capacity for transfer and dissemination of knowledge, and strengthening the cooperation between research institutions and businesses in areas like green and digital transitions as well as in advanced medicine. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Thanks to EU support, these Centres will provide scientific infrastructure and equipment, making them attractive for young Bulgarian researchers. I urge all actors involved to make use of the experts’ work, laying the ground for an efficient and modern research and innovation system.” Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The EU’s investment in the 14 Centres of Competence and Centres of Excellence has a great potential for transformation of the country’s economy and its integration in Global Value Chains. I am confident that the findings of the JRC report will be well received by the Centres, and that the government, academia and industry stakeholders will take action to promptly implement its recommendations.” The initiative has been launched in 2019 and will be extended to other European countries. The Commission is also assisting Member States and regions in designing and implementing their smart specialisation strategies and through the smart specialisation platform. The EU is currently investing €160 million in the centres, in the framework of the 2014-2020 Bulgarian ‘Science and Education for Smart Growth’ programme. In 2021-2027 Bulgaria will receive more than €10 billion under Cohesion policy, with a substantial part dedicated to supporting innovation and competitiveness and green and digital transitions.