North Central Planning Region of Bulgaria
The North Central region is one of the smallest planning regions in Bulgaria. It covers 14,974 sq. km. with a population of 844,511 people (NSI 2012) and a regional economy of €2.9bln (2010 Eurostat). This accounts for 12% of the country’s total inhabitants and 8% of the national gross domestic product (GDP), respectively (2010 Eurostat). The region encompasses five administrative regions, the largest of which is Veliko Tarnovo.
The regional gross value added (GVA) is €2,5bln (Eurostat 2010) of which 56% is contributed by the services sector, followed by industry – 33% and agriculture – 11% (NSI 2011). The main industry sectors are food and beverage production, machine building, chemicals, textiles, wood processing and construction building. There is a prevalence of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro companies.
The research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) potential of the North Central region is relatively high due to its hosting of five universities with national significance (D.A.Tsenov Academy of Eco nomics in Svistov, Angel Kanchev Technical University in Ruse, Technical University in Gabrovo, and the St. Kiril and Metodii University of Humanitarian Sciences in Veliko Tarnovo). These are the main R&D centres and innovation suppliers for the region. Applied research in agro-food is carried out in one R&D institute within the frame of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The human resources in science and technology (HRST) in the region are 29.4% of the active population, which is lower than the 33.8% average value for Bulgaria for 2012 (Eurostat).