By the end of 2023, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth (MIG) will invest nearly BGN 500 million in creating more opportunities for joint projects between business and research organizations and infrastructures in the country. The funds are provided under the new for Bulgaria Program "Scientific research, innovation and digitization for intelligent transformation" (PSRIDIT) and were approved today by its Monitoring Committee.
With BGN 336 million from the total resource, the Centers of Excellence and the Centers of Competence, built under the Operational Program "Science and Education for Intelligent Growth" 2014-2020, will be supported. In parallel, the development of two more sites from the National a road map for scientific infrastructure or their associations, as well as the Laboratory Complex at the Science and Technology Park "Sofia Tech Park". This activity will be implemented by the IA "Education Program" in its capacity as an intermediate unit under PSRIDIT.
IG will launch two procedures to build a national network of 12 digital and innovation hubs. The measures will have a total value of BGN 67 million. The new units will support the connection between companies from different sectors and regions and the nearest specialized research organizations. They will also provide specific services such as testing of new technologies and products to micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) free of charge or at below market prices.
Another BGN 16 million will be invested in creating Bulgaria's first hydrogen valley in Stara Zagora. The initiative will be implemented with money under the Program, with the financial support of the joint European partnership "Clean Hydrogen" and with private investments. Building a hydrogen valley is key and will provide a wide range of applications to improve citizens' quality of life by reducing carbon emissions and to protect a business model where green hydrogen is competitively priced as an energy carrier. The implementation of the project will position our country on the European and world map of hydrogen technologies and will help to implement large-scale investment projects.
The monitoring committee of PSRIDIT also approved another procedure for BGN 1.2 million for the development of a platform for cooperation between higher education institutions, research organizations and businesses. For this purpose, the registers of the National Center for Information and Documentation (NCID) at the Ministry of Education and Science will be upgraded. The system will provide data in a systematized and generally accessible form on the expertise, services and infrastructure of the scientific infrastructures participating in the initiative, as well as on the successfully implemented partnerships under the Program. The possibility of free access to the achieved scientific results is also foreseen. In the platform, SMEs will be able to find the appropriate specialists, services and facilities for conducting high-tech scientific research and implementing their innovation projects, as well as for receiving highly specialized services.
Activities for nearly BGN 65 million will be implemented to build a strategic framework for the management and interoperability of data and the various components of the national cyber security system. They will be implemented by the Ministry of e-Government, which is also an intermediate unit under the Research, Innovation and Digitalization Program.
We remind you that the total budget of PSRIDIT for the current program period until 2027 is BGN 2.14 billion.