Updated last 26.03.2021
The fund is created in accordance with Council of Ministers Decision No. 723 of 8 September 2004 for adoption of Innovation Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria and measures for the implementation thereof, amended with Decision No. 385 of 22.05.2006.
The center’s last announced innovation session is Session No. 11, which has expired on 17.09.2020. Further information for the sessions ended is available at the internet page of the Ministry of Economy and of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency.
The adoption of a new Innovation Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria is expected.
What is the National Innovation Fund?
The National Innovation Fund (NIF) was established by virtue of decision of the Council of Ministers in September 2004. According to the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Republic of Bulgaria 2014 – 2020, NIF is one of the instruments for implemention of the innovation strategy.
The goals underlying the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Republic of Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 (ISSS) are implemented through the actions of the Fund in the period 2016-2020.
|For more information|
Additional information on the essence of the National Innovation Fund is available on the website of:
Goals of the National Innovation Fund
The main goal of the Fund is to promote the scientific research and development activities  in order to improve the competitiveness of the enterprises and encouraging the cooperation between the science and business in Bulgaria. The Fund’s direct objectives are:
- to promote the implementation of scientific research and development projects and projects for technical feasibility with the aim of acquiring new or improved products, processes or services designed to raise the economic efficiency, improve the innovative potential and technological level of enterprises, increase private investment and enhance the dynamics of innovative processes
- to increase the production volume;
- to improve the quality of the produced goods, services or processes;
- to reduce the quantity of the resources used;
- to increase the investments in efficient enterprises.
|Important to know|
|The funds are provided by the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Promotion Executive Agency.|
What activities the National Innovation Fund does support?
The Find encourages the development of innovations on research and development projects, financing innovations which has not reached the market yet.
The Fund does not finance:
- Projects for overall development, leading to finished market product or service;
- Projects, containing classified information;
- Project, for which the aid has no stimulating effect;
- Aid for enterprises in difficult situation;
- An enterprise, against which there is non-executed order for refund as a result of a previous decision of the Commission, with which certain aid is declared illegal or incompatible with the domestic market, with the exclusion of the schemes for aid for remedying damages, caused by force majeure circumstances;
- Activities, related to the export for third countries or another member-states, an namely such which are directly related to the exported quantities, with the implementation and functioning of distribution network or with other current costs in relation to the export;
- Projects in the part of the expenses, already financed with public funds or resources of the EU or a member state. If such financing is established, the project proposal is not refused, but funded are only the non-funded with public funds or resources activities / costs;
- Projects, with which aid is declared for granting:
– in the fishing and aquaculture sector;
– granted in the sector of initial production of agricultural produce;
– for processing and sale of agricultural products, when the aid amount is determined based on the price or the quantity of these products, which are purchased by the initial producers or offered at the market by the respective enterprises;
– for processing and sale of agricultural products, when the aid is bound with the obligation for it to be transferred partially or in whole to the initial producers;
– for making easier the closing of non-competitive coal mines in accordance with Resolution 2010/787/EC of the Council.
What is the budget available to SMEs?
The Fund’s budget is different for each call session. For example, the eleventh session in 2020 had a budget of BGN 5 000 000.
How is the programme budget allocated?
The percentage of the grant in the total expenses is:
- 50% – for industrial scientific research;
- 25% – for experimental development,
which may go up to 80% with:
- 10% for medium-sized enterprises;
- 20% for small enterprises;
- Up to 15%, in case of effective cooperation with a scientific research and knowledge dissemination organisation and / or another enterprises.
How can you apply?
The submission of the application documents is electronically on the website of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Promotion Executive Agency, and the documents submitted have to be signed with a qualified electronic signature.
What is the procedure, criteria and methodology for the evaluation of the project proposals?
The evaluation of the proposals includes:
- Evaluation of the administrative compliance and eligibility – this stage addresses the following questions: is the application deadline complied with, are all required documents available in the specified format, is duplicated funding in place, etc.?;
- Technical and economic evaluation of the project proposal – at this stage the innovation (relevance of the project, realisation of a technological achievement, benefits to the public, etc.), efficiency of the approach, economic feasibility (competitive advantages, market applicability, return on expenses incurred, etc.);
- Financial evaluation of the budget.
Who are the eligible candidates?
The eligible candidates include traders registered in Bulgaria in the meaning of the Commerce Act (CA) or an equivalent person in the meaning of the legislation of another European Union member state.
An eligible partner for the implementation of a project under the scheme may be an enterprise – trader in the meaning of the CA or an equivalent person in the meaning of the legislation of European Union member state and / or scientific research and knowledge dissemination organisations from a European Union member state. The scientific research and knowledge dissemination organisation should have the status of a legal entity. In the case of projects involving partners of the enterprise (one of the enterprises for projects involving more than one partner) is a coordinator, has the status of an applicant and submits the tender documentation (including the documentation required for the partner in the implementation of the project).
At joint ventures of enterprises only one start-up is allowed to participate.
Which are the thematic areas specific to the Fund?
Thematic areas in accordance with the ISSS, within which scientific research and development projects fall include:
- Mechatronic sand clean technologies;
- Information and communication technologies and computer science;
- Healthy life industry and biotechnologies;
- New technologies and recreation industries.
What are the expense eligibility requirements?
Eligible expenses include only expenses for actions on “industrial scientific research” and “experimental development”:
- Personnel expenses (main and auxiliary) on scientific research and development project – up to 70% of the total expenses in the budget of each participant;
- Tools and equipment expenses. They include only the expenses for depreciation write-offs for purchased new instruments, tools, equipment and intangible fixed assets within the project framework. The maximum admissible share of the planned expenses for depreciation write-offs in group “Costs of instruments, tools and equipment” in the budget of each participant individually is up to 50 % of the total planned expenses.;
- Hired services expenses. Admissible are only expenses for the assignment of scientific research, and the admissible relative share for hired services shall not exceed 10 % of the total amount of the expenses in the budget of each participant;
- Materials and consumables expenses. This item should include only expenses for new and unused materials and utilities, designated solely for the implementation of the project and included in the project’s budget. The costs of water, electricity and/or thermal energy are admissible only for projects, for which implementation they represent at least 50 % of the total expenses for materials and utilities under the budget of each beneficiary / coordinator or partner(s);
- Expenses on business trips aboard. Costs of business trips are admissible only when in the project participates a partner, who is registered in another EU member-state.
The scientific research and knowledge dissemination organisation covers at least 10% of the eligible expenses under the project.
Duration of the scientific research and development projects – up to 18 months.
What are the deadlines within which I can apply on calls under the Programme?
You can apply for financing from the Fund depending on the terms of the call for each specific year.
|For more information|
Additional information regarding the application to the National Innovation Fund is available on the website of:
 The intellectual property rights on the products and the outcomes, as well as the related access rights received during the implementation of a project funded from the NIF, are held by the candidate.