BGN 5.4 Million for 24 Projects under the Bulgarian National Innovation Fund
With a total of BGN 5.4 million, 24 projects will be funded by the National Innovation Fund (NIF). This was made clear during a meeting of the Fund's Management Board, which was chaired by Deputy Minister of Economy Alexander Manolev. The ranking of the approved projects will be published on the website of the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises and their actual implementation will start at the end of this year.
The National Innovation Fund procedure was completed early this year, it became clear during the meeting. In past competitive sessions, it has been common for contracts with winning bidders to be signed in the last days of the year. "To remedy the errors found in the past, this year we changed and optimized many of the rules for application and evaluation of the projects received and we see the first results," Deputy Minister Manolev said. In his words, besides the approved 24 projects, there are also three reserve ones, in order to avoid losing funds. "I hope that with the improvement of the Fund's work and the quality of the projects, we will be able to fight for a larger budget in the future, because without innovation we can not expect sustainable growth in the Bulgarian economy", Alexander Manolev stressed.
The current Nine Session of the National Innovation Fund was held under modified rules, which optimized the timing and method of ex-post evaluation. Costs for tangible fixed assets on projects were reduced from 60% to 50%. The aim is to promote intellectual work rather than investing in ready-made equipment. By the same token, changes were made to provide for a reduction of up to 10% of the funds for external services (up to 25). This is the way to better target potential candidates to meet the strategic goals of the NIF. In order to increase the quality of the projects being funded, the number of points needed for their ranking increased from 60 to 70.
A wide public campaign was organized to promote the fund's opportunities. "Despite the serious changes we have initiated and implemented in this session, we will make a full review of this session and will propose further amendments in 2019 to make the fund even better," the Economic Deputy Minister said.
The main objective of the National Innovation Fund is to promote R & D. The direct objective of the Fund is to encourage the implementation of R & D projects and technical feasibility projects in order to absorb new or improved products, processes or services aimed at enhancing economic efficiency, enhancing innovation potential and technological level of enterprises, increasing private investing in them, increasing the dynamics of innovation processes.
The fund aims to improve the market outcomes for businesses and society, in terms of better prices for higher quality, increasing production volumes, reducing resource use and increasing investment in efficient businesses. Since its inception, 8 competitive sessions have been held and over 48 million leva have been invested in more than 450 technology projects.
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