Knowledge and its transformation into new products, processes and organization modes has been always a source for economic growth and social welfare. Because of that, innovations are an important topic in the agenda of governments and businesses in the developed countries. EU considers scientific research, technological development and innovations as main drivers for its growth strategy “Europe 2020” and its vision for smart, sustainable, intelligent and inclusive economy. For each of the “Europe 2020” five ambitious objectives - on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy, EU member states have adopted own national targets and concrete actions to underpin the strategy. For the first time, Bulgaria faced the challenge and the opportunity to define its new national innovation policy, participate in the formation of the EU innovation policy and determine the programs and priorities of financial support from the EU for the next decade.
Innovations are a priority field in which the Applied Research and Communications Fund offers expertise and its own policy building and impact assessment know-how.
ARC Fund has been a pioneer in introducing the development of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) as a new policy-making tool at regional level. Through its pilot RIS initiatives for the South Central and South Western Planning Regions of Bulgaria the respective regional strategic frameworks for innovative development have been designed based on thorough innovation audits of the local innovation systems.
For almost a decade ARC Fund traditionally organizes the National Innovation Forum – an unique annual event for Bulgaria, aimed at uniting the efforts of all stakeholders and interested parties to discuss the innovation environment in the country and to propose measures for its optimization. Forums are held under the auspices and with the participation of high-level Bulgarian policy-makers and are recognized as important consultative instrument for decision making concerning national innovation policy.
The report Innovation.bg, published annually by ARC Fund since 2004, has been known to the public as the only comprehensive tool in Bulgaria, which assesses the innovation activity of Bulgarian enterprises and offers approaches to building innovation and entrepreneurial culture. The report also presents recommendations for innovation policy improvements in Bulgaria and the EU, based on the latest theories and empirical evidence.
In 2004 ARC Fund published it’s first-ever collection of research (in Bulgarian only) in the field of innovation and economic development - Innovations: policy and practice, followed in 2008 by the second volume of the edition - Innovations: European, national and regional policies. The books featured articles by prominent foreign researchers and Bulgarian authors from universities, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, NGO and business chambers. Both volumes of the edition quickly attracted the attention of the professional community and were recognized as required reading in national university courses on innovation management.