The main driving forces behind recent changes in science and innovation policy in Bulgaria are sustained macroeconomic stability and preparation for NATO and EU accession. Economic growth is the major challenge of the country's development. A new law promoting research was adopted in 2003. For the first time after the socio-economic changes of the 1990s, R&D was proclaimed to be a national priority. The participation of Bulgarian entities in the development of ERA and the Framework Programmes of the European Union is the most important direction of international scientific co-operation. The Ministry of the Economy has drafted a National Innovation Strategy and envisages the establishment of a National Innovation Fund supporting SMEs and start-up companies in 2005. The complex nature of research and innovation and their interaction with every economic and social activity requires a well-thought mechanism for policy co-ordination at the national and regional level. The integration of the business community and the citizens in the policy-making process should be further encouraged.
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