Last night, the European Commission approved the Program "Scientific research, innovation and digitization for intelligent transformation" 2021-2027 (PNIIDIT) with a budget of BGN 2.14 billion.

It was sent by the Ministry of Innovation and Growth to Brussels on October 26 and received approval in record time - on December 5.

The new Competitiveness and Innovation in Enterprises Program 2021-2027 (PCIP) with a budget of nearly BGN 3 billion was also approved very quickly. It was sent by the MIR to the EC on August 16 and was approved on October 3.

Under the two new programs alone (PKIP and PNIIDIT), MIR will manage a total of over BGN 5 billion for the period 2021-2027.

It is expected that their implementation will start at the beginning of 2023, and the Main Directorate of EFK at MIR is currently preparing the documentation.

Separately, MIR also manages BGN 600 million until the end of the year under the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability, under which the Ministry has already opened two programs - for technological modernization and for ICT solutions and cyber security.

Higher schools, scientific research organizations, micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as large companies in cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to apply under PNIIDIT.

Under some of the measures, joint participation of the above-mentioned entities together with NGOs, large enterprises and municipalities will be permissible.

The program has two priorities - "Sustainable development of the Bulgarian research and innovation ecosystem" and "Digital transformation of the public sector". 

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According to the first priority, the already established Centers of Excellence and Competence Centers will be developed, the implementation of technologies, the transfer of knowledge and the shortening of the path from research to innovation will be supported.

Projects that received the Seal of Excellence quality mark under the EC's Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programs will also be funded.

Investments will be made in industrial innovation programs to develop technologies to make regions more competitive and climate neutral.

According to the second priority, the digitization of the public sector, the increase of cyber security in the administration, the creation of data spaces, open access to science, etc. will be financed.

The program contains three strategic interventions.

The first is for BGN 140 million to build a national network of 12 digital and innovation hubs - associations between business, scientific organizations and universities, the non-governmental sector and technological and business mediators.

The second is for over BGN 280 million for the development of the Centers of Excellence and the Centers of Competence, built under the Operational Program "Science and Education for Intelligent Growth" (2014-2020).

The third strategic intervention is for BGN 50 million – a voucher scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises to promote cooperation and use the potential in Centers of Excellence, Competence Centers, sites from the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure and other scientific research organizations and higher schools. 

PNIIDIT is the main tool for achieving an intelligent transformation of the Bulgarian economy through investments in scientific research and innovation.

BGN 550 million of national and European funding will support the industry-academia link through various grant schemes.

The program will be supported in its implementation by two intermediate units - the Education Program Executive Agency and the Ministry of e-Government.

With the program approved yesterday, the funds approved for Bulgaria by the EC, within the mandate of the official cabinet, become 9 programs with a total amount of over BGN 16.2 billion.

European Commission