Applied Research and Communications Fund’s mission is to foster social, business and technological innovations, to provide research-based policy solutions and to facilitate the development of a knowledge-based society. In 2011 ARC Fund marked the 20th anniversary since its foundation. Throughout these years, ARC Fund has continued and expanded its efforts to improve the knowledge economy, foster an innovative culture, as well as the internationalization of public institutions and private sector businesses.
ARC Fund Highlights for 2011:
- The Seventh National Innovation Forum entitled Innovation and Competitiveness was held in May, 2011 and was co-organized by ARC Fund, the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, and the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism. The forum was attended by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Mr. Boyko Borisov, who described the steps that the government was taking to support innovation in the country. The event was also attended by government Ministers and representatives from the European Commission, as well as business leaders, high level academicians and the heads of leading civil society organizations. ARC Fund presented the findings of the annual study of innovation in Bulgaria in the 2011 version of the Innovation.bg report.
- The 2011 Innovation.bg report was presented at the Seventh National Innovation Forum. The report highlighted some positive trends for innovation in Bulgaria, including high growth rates shown in the innovation index of the European Commission and that the economic crisis in Bulgaria resulted in increased competition in Bulgarian markets, resulting in marketing and organizational innovations.
- The Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment (PACITA) project began during the year. The project aims to spread and deepen the understanding of parliamentary technology assessment and technology assessment to policymakers across the EU with a particular emphasis on countries where the concept as well as its methodologies and tools are not well established. The project will run until 2015.
- The Fostering Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology and Innovation in the SEE Region (EVAL-INNO) project started in May, 2011. The main objective of EVAL-INNO is to improve the evaluation capacity of research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) activities in order to improve their efficient provision of societal benefits. The project will run until 2014.
- As part of the Scoping China’s Environmental Research Excellence and Major Infrastructure: Foresight, Potentials, and Roadmaps (SPRING) project, an international workshop took place in Beijing, China in July, 2011. The workshop was attended by environmental experts from China and Europe, who identified key environmental technologies likely to improve the quality of life for European and Chinese citizens over the next 20 years.
- The Third Aviation Show Gabrovo 2011, was co-organized by ARC Fund, the Bulgarian Association of Light Aviation, and the owner of the airport “Draganovtsi”, Mr. Miroslav Hinkov, in partnership with the Municipality of Gabrovo. During the airshow, a sectoral meeting entitled ‘Investing in the aviation industry’ was held which brought together representatives of the Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency and Bulgarian Association of Light Aviation.
- ARC Fund developed the annual ERAWATCH Country Report 2011 which reviews the performance of the national innovation system over the year and identifies challenges and bottlenecks to an improved environment the country that is supportive of innovation.
- During the year, ARC Fund joined the METRIS network, an initiative of the Directorate-General for Research (DG RTD), which aims to be the leading repository of information on the health of social sciences and humanities across Europe as well as a foundation for benchmarking development in these areas in the attempt to improve public policies which support them.
- A number of significant events occurred within the Eastern European and Central Asian Business Incubators and Technology Parks Network (ECAbit). These included the Tambov International Innovative Camp held from August 24th-26th in Tambov, Russia in which a number of business support services were provided to over 150 participants, as well as the network’s Sixth International Conference Advancing Innovation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia from November 6th-8th in Chisinau, Moldova and International Conference on Youth Incubation in December in Baku, Azerbaijan, where ARC Fund was co-organizer.
- The Safer Internet Centre (SIC) launched the national Helpline in April, 2011 which responds to the questions and concerns of young people, parents and teachers linked to minors’ experiences online.