ERKC

Energy Research Knowledge Centre

Bulgaria

Research themes and prioritisation

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Energy research is one of the highest priorities in Bulgaria’s National Research Development Strategy (2011–2020), which sets out the national plan for investment in R&D. Investment in energy efficiency and in renewable energy innovations is also covered by the National Innovation Strategy, adopted in 2004. The National Research Development Strategy aims to stimulate R&D for industry and facilitate cooperation between R&D departments, universities and companies. It also seeks to increase financing of innovation by establishing mechanisms to attract private investment. Currently there are no specific policy documents or separate state offices focused on energy R&D.

Organisation of research

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The Ministry of Education, Youth and Science (MEYS) and the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism (MoEET) set national research and innovation policy and are the leading institutions involved in its implementation.

To implement state policy on the promotion of research and innovation the ministries rely on the support of the National Research Council (NRC) and the National Innovation Council. These are chaired respectively by the Minister of Education, Youth and Science and the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism. The two councils consist of representatives of other public bodies, scientific organisations, universities, employers’ organisations, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in science and innovation.

The Bulgarian R&D system is dominated by the public sector. More than 40 % of Bulgarian scientific organisations operate in the public (budget) sector, while 28 % are in higher education, 26 % in the business sector, and 1–2 % in non-profit organisations. The structure for innovation in the private sector is also underdeveloped (INNO – Policy TrendChart, 2009). The main national research organisation is the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), which unites the state scientific institutions and research centres.


Figure 1: Organisational structure of energy research in Bulgaria.

Programmes and budgets

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Budget overview

Funding for R&D is a major challenge in Bulgaria, and this general truth applies to the energy sector. R&D intensity (expenditure as a percentage of GDP) in Bulgaria is 0.55 %, compared to 2.01 % for the EU27 (2010 data). Nevertheless, Bulgarian R&D intensity has been rising due to an increase in private investment in science.

National funding for R&D is ensured through the Scientific Research Fund and the National Innovations Fund. The operational programme ‘Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007–2013’ also supports private-sector projects relating to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

Table 1: The main energy research programmes in Bulgaria.

* Total for Priority Axis 1; not specifically earmarked for energy research.
**Total budget, not specifically earmarked for energy research.

Programmes and initiatives

Scientific Research Fund (SRF)

Фонд Научни Изследвания

The Scientific Research Fund finances research projects in line with the priorities of the National Research Development Strategy (2011–2020). Bulgarian legal entities are eligible for funding. The budget for R&D is planned on an annual basis. Open calls for proposals are announced on the websites of the fund and that of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science.

National Innovations Fund (NIF)

Национален иновационен фонд

The National Innovations Fund (NIF) co-finances R&D projects implemented by industry and private research centres. It is open to companies registered in Bulgaria. The support follows the objectives and priorities of the National Innovation Strategy of Bulgaria (2004).

Operational Programme ‘Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007–2013’ (OPC)

Оперативна програма „Развитие на конкурентоспособността на българската икономика 2007 – 2013г.“

This operational programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism. Its budget for R&D, including energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, is covered mainly by measures supporting industrial innovation and innovative infrastructure improvements. The programme does not target research directly.

Green Industry Innovation Programme Area of the EEA Financial Mechanism

Програмна област „Иновации за зелена индустрия“ на Финансовия механизъм на ИЕП

This programme aims to increase the competitiveness of green enterprises, including the greening of existing industries, green innovation and green entrepreneurship. €11.7 million is available for green industry innovation projects in Bulgaria. No specific funds are earmarked for energy research.

Thematic Fund ‘Research’ of the Swiss Contribution to Bulgaria

Тематичен фонд „Изследвания“ на Българо-швейцарската програма за сътрудничество

This fund supports and promotes joint Bulgarian-Swiss research projects, with energy-related technologies among its priorities. The total value of the fund is €3 million, of which nothing is specifically earmarked for energy research.

National govermment departments

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Ministry of Education, Youth and Science (MEYS)

Министерство на образованието, младежта и науката

MEYS is the competent authority for the development, implementation and overall co-ordination of research policy, funding of research and promotion of international co-operation. The ministry maintains the Registry of Research in Bulgaria, created by the National Science Fund, in accordance with Article 19 of the Act on R&D.

Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism (MEET)

Министерство на икономиката, енергетиката и туризма

The mission of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism is to develop and operate a clear and transparent economic, energy and tourism policy that protects the national and public interest and is based on European principles. MEET works to create a competitive low-carbon economy that will guarantee the growth and development of Bulgaria.

National research programme management agencies

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Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS)

Българска академия на науките

The BAS is the leading scientific organisation in the country. It is a state organisation under the authority of the Council of Ministers. BAS includes a number of state-supported scientific institutes and research units.

Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA)

Агенция за устойчиво енергийно развитие

The Sustainable Energy Development Agency (formerly the Energy Efficiency Agency) implements national policy supporting the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Its activities relate mainly to the development and implementation of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, municipal programmes and assessments of existing and projected renewable energy resources. R&D is not the main focus of SEDA.

Funding organisations at national level

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Evrika Foundation

Фондация Еврика

The Evrika Foundation was established in 1990 by a number of state and public organisations with the aim of helping young people to carry out projects in science, engineering and management, supporting young innovators and entrepreneurs, and disseminating scientific and engineering knowledge.