The Minister of Innovation and Growth, Milena Stoycheva, and the Director General for Scientific Research and Innovation in the European Commission, Marc Lemaitre, discussed the development of innovation in Europe today at a meeting in Brussels. The two discussed the role of the entrepreneurial and start-up ecosystem of each member state in increasing the competitiveness of the EU, the need to promote investments in high technology and scientific research and the commercialization of scientific research.

“We contribute to increasing the competitiveness of Europe by creating a network of innovation valleys, which will connect the activities of the member countries in the field of innovation and, in a common agenda, develop the opportunities of the region,” Minister Stoycheva said during the meeting.

She said that the opening of the first regional innovation valley for bioeconomy and food in Bulgaria is coming next week, and there is also a deep technology port in the country. Stoycheva emphasized that a few days ago the Ministry of Innovation and Growth signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Innovation with the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization of Romania, which will promote cooperation and the connection of innovation regional valleys.

The minister and the general director for scientific research and innovation in the EC discussed the project to build the hydrogen valley in Stara Zagora.

“In addition to a vision for the development of innovations in Bulgaria and Europe, we also have financial instruments with which to stimulate their development and implementation in business,” commented the Minister of Innovation. The two discussed the opportunities for business and the academic community under the two European programs that the Ministry of Innovation and Growth manages – Competitiveness and Innovation Programme 2021-2027 and Research, Innovation and Digitalization for Smart Transformation Programme 2021-2027, as well as funding from the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability.

“The investment climate in our country is good. Our country is a good place to test new technologies. We have the infrastructure, the talents and the well-developed entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem,“ said Stoycheva. According to her, the preservation of start-up companies on the continent is of leading importance for the future of Europe.

Minister Stoycheva also emphasized the good interaction with the European Innovation Council and the European Investment Fund. “Bulgarian companies apply for various projects and manage to win funding. This is another proof of the potential of our country,“ the minister added.

She introduced the Director General to the Ministry’s work on drafting the Law on the Promotion of Scientific Research and Innovation and the MIG’s close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science. “Innovations are a horizontal activity that covers all sectors and affects all interested parties, and education is extremely important and at the basis of creating innovations,” Stoycheva said.

Later in the day, the Minister of Innovation and Growth will also meet the Director General for Defense Industry and Space at the EC, Timo Pessonen, with whom they will discuss cooperation in the field of space technology and defense innovation.