The mission of the project is to further enhance the economic growth potential of the South-West (SW) region of Bulgaria by creating innovation-driven sustainable regional competitive advantages, thus making the region the knowledge-based engine of innovat ion-driven economy. The project concept is based on applying the RIS approach to both Sofia and the Rest of the region in parallel as they represent two diverse innovation-related economic areas within one and the same region. Two different RIS methodologi es will be developed and applied to Sofia city and the Rest of the region respectively, accounting for the peculiarities of the two areas and the local contexts. In the end the foresight approach will be incorporated to produce one common Regional Innovati on Strategy for the South-West region as a whole with two individual Action Plans for Sofia and the Rest of the region. This innovative approach will allow for (i) building upon the regional strengths and utilising fully external opportunities, and (ii) ov ercoming weaknesses and bridging the gap between the economic performance of Sofia and the Rest of the region, expanding innovation towards remote areas and areas lagging behind in economic performance within the region. The project meets the objectives of the Research and Innovation activity area by (i) networking a large number of European regions, (ii) applying a bottom-up innovative RIS approach, (iii) building upon transnational learning and profound ED expertise in RIS and regional technology-driven e conomic development, and (iv) promoting innovation in all its aspects. The project will contribute to the objectives of the Work Programme by developing regional capacity for strategic planning thus enhancing the policy-making process in the region. The pr oject is supported by all 5 district governors, the mayor of Sofia and the Regional Development Council, (letters of mandate are enclosed).
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