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New funding opportunity for applied robotics and AI science in Bulgaria

New funding opportunity for applied robotics and AI science in Bulgaria,
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The America for Bulgaria Foundation has launched the second edition of its “Science with a Future” project by opening the application process for proposals. Candidates between the ages of 16 and 40 can submit their proposals, connected to robotics, AI, and innovative technologies, until April 15, 2021, with the best projects receiving between BGN5K and BGN15K funding (approximately €2.6K and €7.7K, respectively). The initiative is part of the Next10 program of the Foundation and its aim is to support innovative ideas whose impact will be of high value in the upcoming 10 years. The official partners of the Foundation for this project are the Professional Association of Robotics and Automation, the European Software Institute – Center Eastern Europe, Sofia Tech Park, AI Cluster Bulgaria, and the British Council.

“The second edition of Science with a Future shows how robotics can help our society solve important topics while also enabling young entrepreneurs to validate their ideas,” shared Kristiyan Mihailov, Co-founder of PARA.

The requirements

The main requirements for the proposals are to have a tangible effect on businesses and/or tackle social problems. Projects must have well-defined goals that are in line with the program. The proposals must include a realistic budget, targeted user groups, and main objectives and outcomes, resulting from solution implementation, as well as project activities for the development of the technology. Participants must present a detailed plan for the development of their solutions in the long-term, after the end of the program.

The competition is open to both individual participants and teams, with a requirement for them to have experience in the robotic field, including involvement in other scientific programs, forums, and competitions, as well as pre-acceleration or entrepreneurial programs. As noted on the website of the project, an advantage will be given to participants who have established a business or academic institution partnership and/or have onboarded experienced mentors. Participation and recognition in other innovation and scientific forums also are a plus for the candidates. 

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Questions related to the RFP and the requirements for the project can be sent to the project email by 2 pm on March 25. Their answers will be provided during a Facebook webinar that will be later uploaded on the webpage. 

The Next10 program of the Foundation was launched at the end of 2020 with four requests for proposals worth BGN2M. Back then, it approved 62 projects for the program and doubled the initially announced budget to facilitate the connection between the Bulgarian public and private sector.

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Viktoria is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive and a sophomore-standing student at the American University in Bulgaria. Combining her Business Administration studies while mapping the Southeastern European startup ecosystem is a positive-sum game for her as she has the chance to interact with the most active entrepreneurs in the region. Her favorite topics include venture capital structures, investments, as well as innovations in the scitech and fintech sectors.