Over the past 22 years, the Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund) has established itself as a premier force in innovation policy and socio-economic research in Bulgaria. It has contributed to the creation of preconditions whereby social, technological and environmental innovation can be developed and utilized. It strives to support the development of a knowledge-based and high value-added economy, assist in the transfer of new and advanced technologies, and in the transposition of good policy practices and networking opportunities for Bulgarian businesses. ARC Fund works towards the aggregation of data in the development of an evidence base which helps in the design of forward-looking public policies. ARC Fund recognizes, however, that a knowledge and information-based society comes with both known, and unknown, risks. In various project-based contexts, ARC Fund aims to assess and offer potential ways of avoiding or minimizing these uncertainties.
ARC Fund’s Key Achievements in 2013:
- In 2013, ARC Fund and ARC Consulting worked on 26 projects, with a total of 224 different partners from across the globe, including civil society organizations, public authorities, research and academic institutions, and private companies.
- In 2013, ARC Fund promoted the openness of local authorities and the introduction of innovative public services by supporting the evaluation and award procedure of the European Label for Innovation and Good Governance at the Local Level, coordinated by the Ministry of Regional Development.
- Following the collection of an online survey and in-depth interviews with innovation stakeholders within the context of the ‘Complex Challenges – Innovative Cities’ (CCIC) project, supported under the INTERREG IVC Program of the European Union, ARC Fund undertook analyses and produced a state-of-the-art report on public sector innovation.
Within the context of the ‘Fostering Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology and Innovation in the SEE Region’ (EVAL-INNO), project, funded under the South East Europe Translational Cooperation Program, ARC Fund organized a RTDI Evaluation Training Course for evaluation experts and program owners from March 18th-22nd.
- The Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre’s online game, Zone of Risk, was nominated for the World Summit Award as the best e-Content example in the category of ‘e-Learning & Science’ from Bulgaria. • ARC Fund organized a workshop within the framework of the ‘Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment’ (PACITA) project from April 17th-19th, 2013. The workshop and project, supported under the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union, aimed to train technology assessment practitioners on how to select and use various tools of parliamentary technology assessment.
- On Safer Internet Day on February 5th, ARC Fund organized the TeeNet Parliament, where over 100 Bulgarian students gathered to vote on a Charter of Online Rights of the Youth. The event was streamed online.
- The fifth annual Famillathon was held on May 18th. This is an outdoor event in Sofia where more than 30 clubs and sports federations participated and activities for families were organized. At the event, more than 2,000 families were acquainted with the basic rules of online safety of children.
- On June 16th and 17th, ARC Fund organized a Key Technologies Workshop Training and Key Technologies Workshop within the ‘Energy Vision 2020 for South East European Cities’ (EnVision2020) project. At the training, information regarding the conceptual and practical aspects of key technologies workshops was presented. At the Key Technologies Workshop, potential and emerging energy technologies with relevance until 2020 were identified.
- ARC Fund, in collaboration with partners from the ‘Boosting the European Games Industry’ (BOO-Games) project, produced an abridged version of the Regional Analysis Report for companies, policy-makers and other stakeholders.
- ARC Fund produced a benchmarking analysis of the Institute of Electronics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This analysis was conducted within the ‘Fostering Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology, and Innovation in the SEE Region’ (EVAL-INNO) project.
- As coordinator of Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in Bulgaria ARC Fund continued helping the internationalization of Bulgarian SMEs by creating business partnerships, encouraging and supporting innovation via technology transfer and innovation support services, and facilitating access of Bulgarian SMEs to EU programs and funding. Particular focus this year has been placed on collaboration with national and regional business clusters and uptake of the EEN services among the start-ups. 200 new companies and business and research bodies benefited from EEN consultancy and information support this year.
- The Ninth National Innovation Forum Innovation and Sectoral Competitiveness, organized by ARC Fund, outlined the state and trends of the innovations environment in Bulgaria. Nine Bulgarian companies received awards for their excellent innovative performance.
- ARC Fund joined AgeingWell Thematic Network – a EU-wide network of 16 partners and more than 40 associate organizations from the business, academia, NGO and public sector focused on improving the quality of life of elderly people by promoting the market uptake of ICT solutions for the facilitation of the aging process.
- Within the KNOW-HUB initiative ARC Fund continued its close partnership with Gabrovo municipality for empowering local administration and innovation actors on smart specialization strategies. Together with the partners from 10 EU regions, the two Bulgarian organizations collaborated in reviewing regional policies and practices to identify issues for improvement and good practices to share with others.
- In 2013, ARC Fund became part of the ETNA Plus network of the National Contact Points in Transport for the 7th Framework Program and Horizon2020 of EC. The network activities are focused on promoting the active participation of new actors and regions in EU research calls and projects. ARC Fund contributed to the biggest ETNA Plus event by co-organizing the b2b meetings and the presentation session for finding project partners within the “Smart, Green and Integrated Transport” Information Day, December 18th, 2013 in Brussels.