Bulgarian companies and organizations can apply for projects worth up to 400,000 euros under the European Co-operation Countries Plan. Deputy Minister of Economy Alexander Manolev opened an information event for the upcoming Fourth Call for Proposals from Bulgaria, organized by the European Space Agency.
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“There is growing interest in the procedures organized by the European Space Agency for our country, with a total of 69 projects being submitted in past sessions,” said Alexander Manolev.
In his words, 2 projects were approved and 14 projects are in a process of implementation in the first two procedures, and the results of the third session are expected.
“At this point, academic organizations are more active, but we hope the business will get even more involved,” the economics deputy minister added, quoting data suggesting that 20% of the projects submitted so far are from representatives of industry and 80% of academics.
“Today, more and more critics see the benefits of investing in activities in the space sector,” said Alexander Manolev. In his view, they are not only in the spirit of modern European trends for the development of a knowledge and innovation economy based on networks of high technology small and medium-sized enterprises, but also contribute to increasing production and the creation of high-tech companies in different sectors, often not directly related to space activities.
The overall objective of the European Cooperative Country Plan is to connect Bulgaria with the programs and activities of the European Space Agency and to prepare it in the most effective way for future accession to the European Space Agency. The scope of the Plan is in the following categories: technology and equipment; scientific projects and / or experiments; use of data; support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Between 2015 and 2018, three sessions for project recruitment from Bulgaria were held, and the fourth will be launched within days. It will focus on:
Activities related to the flight segment with potential for re-use in ESA missions;
R & D activities (including technological demonstrations, industrial process development, process qualification / certification) leading to products or generic technologies with potential for re-use;
Space applications – products and services related to the existing European space infrastructure / ESA infrastructure;
Preparatory actions related to market research, user requirements, etc., to promote national competitiveness related to ESA programs or activities to which Bulgaria might be interested in joining in the future.
Information and education activities to raise awareness of space technologies and their practical application (including demonstration activities in secondary education institutions and science centers); to increase the motivation of young people to opt for space education and the space industry as a field of professional realization.
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