Plovdiv, Stara Zagora to Get Regional Innovation Valley Label

А regional innovation valley in the field of bioeconomy and food will be opened in Plovdiv in October. This transpired in Sofia Thursday during a joint news briefing of Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov and EU Innovations Commissioner Iliana Ivanova held after the two met to discuss the national and EU priorities.

A second planned Bulgarian regional innovation valley, for hydrogen projects, will be established in the southern town of Stara Zagora as part of the energy transition in what is one of this country’s largest coal regions, said the Prime Minister.

Ivanova explained that the purpose of regional innovation valleys is to help small and medium-sized enterprises establish connections with the research community, to facilitate matchups of research, innovations and businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal is bigger economic growth in the regions involved, she added.

“Regional innovation valleys are a really important and interesting topic through which we can help catch up with other countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the EU,” Ivanova said.

She explained that the EC’s goal is to build 100 regional innovation valleys.

Bulgaria has a specific weakness: the poor matchup and possibility of transferring research into innovation, Denkov said. For more than 10 years, different governments have been saying that a law on innovation should be prepared. Bulgaria has not yet adopted a law to regulate the protection of intellectual property for scientific innovation, Denkov said.

He noted that the new law on research and innovation is ready, and is to be submitted to the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks, voted on and submitted to the National Assembly for adoption. The Prime Minister pointed out that there is already a regional hydrogen valley in Stara Zagora. “We are gradually starting to catch up with those milestones that have been delayed,” he added.