ARC Fund is a premier Bulgarian research NGO, established in 1991, active in the field of innovation policy and the promotion of the knowledge-based economy. ARC Fund is engaged in knowledge and innovation brokerage, capacity building, training, public policy support, advocacy, applied research and analyses in thematic fields like energy, environment, food quality and safety. In recent years, ARC Fund has developed its expertise in sustainable innovation and social innovation as well as foresight and public engagement as new tools in innovation policy-making.
Over the years, ARC Fund has established a sound network of contacts with more than 5,000 enterprises as well as with more than 250 relevant research organisations in Bulgaria and across Europe. It was twice awarded Best National Performer in FP5 and FP6 by the Ministry of Education and Science, the national coordinator for the EU Research Framework Programmes. ARC Fund is the only NGO member of the Bulgarian Government National Innovation Council.
ARC Fund is also a member of the ERAWATCH Network. It publishes an annual assessment report on the national innovation performance, entitled Innovation.bg, following its own assessment methodology. In addition, ARC Fund has a track-record of successful international projects, supported by the World Bank, UNDP, USAID, and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).
Since 2008, ARC Fund has been the coordinator of the national node of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in Bulgaria. EEN is the largest business support network in Europe and globally, supported by the European Commission, bringing together more than 600 member organisations from 60 countries.
Recently, ARC Fund has participated in the project EnVision 2020 – Energy Vision 2020 for South East European Cities, where it provided the methodology in order to help target regions optimise their energy efficiency through the application of foresight activities on energy resources consumption. ARC Fund has also been involved in the investigation of social innovation practices in energy supply within the framework of SI-DRIVE – Social innovation: Driving force of social change. Currently, ARC Fund is coordinating the Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Action Plan (MMLAP), entitled ‘Public participation in developing a common framework for assessment and management of sustainable innovation’ (CASI), supported by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It has also contributed to other projects, focused on wider stakeholder engagement, such as CIMULACT – Citizen and multi-actor consultation on Horizon 2020; PROSO – Promoting societal engagement under the terms of RRI; PACITA – Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment; Engage2020 – Engaging society in Horizon2020; CIVISTI – Citizen Visions on Science, Technology and Innovation; EUWIN – Europe-wide Learning Network for Workplace Innovation. Within these projects, ARC Fund promoted mutual learning among business representatives, practitioners, policy-makers, researchers, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders, thus gaining vast experience in fostering Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).