Bulgaria Latest Member of European R&D Network EUREKABusiness | June 26, 2010, Saturday // 11:31| views
Bulgaria's Deputy Economy Minister Angelov (first on the right) signed in Berlin Bulgaria's accession to EUREKA. Photo by Economy Ministry
Bulgaria has joined formally EUREKA, a Europe-wide network for market-oriented industrial research and development and innovations, becoming its 40th member.
The agreement for accession to EUREKA was signed on Friday in Berlin, Germany, by Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, Evgeni Angelov, and Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan.
The signing was part of the 25th ministerial conference of the organization, which is the largest European network encouraging cooperation trans-border cooperation of scientific and research institutes, factories, and financial institutions in order to increase the competitiveness of the national economies and the internationalization of R&D activities.
The EUREKA brand is sought after by businesses and scientific institutes because it helps attract risk capital for the testing of innovations.
With its three priorities for intelligent, sustainable and integrated growth, Europe has set education and science as the foundation of strategy for the development of a knowledge-based economy. In this respect, Bulgaria has the ambition to increase its research and development and innovation spending from 0.5% of the GDP at present to 2% of the GDP by 2020,” stated Deputy Minister Angelov.
He underscored that the EUREKA membership creates great opportunities for Bulgarian firms. Up until now, only two Bulgarian companies have used EUREKA for a project of their own, while six Bulgarian institutions and businesses have participated in EUREKA projects.
Until now Bulgaria had the status of a candidate country. A total of 39 countries were currently full members of EUREKA with Bulgaria being the only EU member state outside of the network. Other members include Russia, Turkey, Israel, Switzerland, Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia.
Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania were three countries with “national information points,“ preparing for full EUREKA membership.
The only European countries still fully excluded from it are Belarus, Moldova, and Montenegro.
EUREKA helps involved institutions find partners for respective innovation and industrial projects.
EUREKA’s major financial instrument is the EUROSTARS Program aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises whose operations are focusing on research and development.
The EUROSTARS Program has a budget of EUR 400 M, with EUR 100 M coming from the European Commission, while the rest of the money comes from the state budgets of the members.
By joining EUREKA as a full member, Bulgaria will commit to contributing BGN 1 M annually to the National Innovation Fund for Financing EUROSTARS Projects.
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