facebook

BAS role in the development of the European Research Area

The integration of the Bulgarian scientific community - including the scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences – in the pan-European scientific and technological activities, organized and coordinated by the European Commission, dates back to 1990 when Bulgaria was associated with the PHARE program of the EU for economic grant assistance for the Eastern European countries in transition. This happened two years before the gradual opening of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development of the EU to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe:

  • Third Framework Programme (1990-1994) - through the established in 1992 within the programme specific sub-programme "Scientific and Technological Cooperation with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe", providing for the first time a number of opportunities for Eastern European scientists, funded by the European Commission (short- and long-term scientific specializations in Western laboratories involved in European research networks, participation in European conferences and seminars, joint projects in certain scientific fields, joining the ongoing projects of the European Commission and the program COST)
  • Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998) – through the specific sub-programmes PEKO, COPERNICUS and INKO- COPERNICUS providing still partial and limited access to Eastern European countries to certain European programmes (ecology, biomedicine, non-nuclear energy, nuclear safety, human resources, etc.).

In the previous Framework Programmes opening in the period - 1990-1992- scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences actively participated in the first two specific programmes under the PHARE program provided for the Eastern European countries:

  • TEMPUS for cooperation in higher education, with
    • 10 successful projects of BAS in the first year 1991 of the activities of the programme and
    • 20 successful projects for the period 1991-1998

Within the successful projects of BAS under the programme TEMPUS, dozens of young Bulgarian scientists, not only from BAS, but also from Bulgarian universities, specialized in European universities, and noted scholars had the opportunity to read lectures at the same universities, to join in the activities of the European research projects aimed at improving higher education in our country and to participate in international scientific forums.

  • ACE for cooperation in the field of the economy.
    • 26 successful projects of BAS for the period 1991-1998 carried out by the Economic Institute, which were of great practical importance for the ongoing during the same period radical changes in the country.

After opening in 1992 of the Third FP for the Eastern European countries through the sub-programme "Scientific and Technological Cooperation with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe" and the subsequent Fourth FP (1992-1998) – with the sub-programmes PEKO, COPERNICUS and INCO-COPERNICUS - the participation of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in European cooperation has made continuous growth, both in terms of number of projects submitted and approved in terms of funding received and funding by the European Commission grants.

For the period 1992-1998, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has:

  • 152 successful projects (out of 250 Bulgarian projects for the same period);
  • Nearly 6 million ECU were the revenues through the EU programmes only in the Academy, thanks to the projects won.

From this first period of Bulgaria's participation in European programmes there is a trend, that on average about 50% of all successful Bulgarian projects are from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This trend continues today.

The Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002) marked the beginning of the full participation of Eastern European countries, in equal competitive conditions with the EU Member States. Overcoming their initial uncertainty and inexperience, scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences gradually took an active and successful part in this Framework Programme.

For the entire period of operation of the 1998-2002 programme, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has:

  • 140 projects approved for funding (from a total of 270 successful Bulgarian projects for the same period)
  • 8 million EUR in European subsidies received directly in its institutes thanks to these successful projects.

For their participation in FP5 Bulgaria paid a fee of 13 million EUR over the four years of its operation (1998-2002). As can be seen, more than half of that amount has been recovered thanks to the successful participation of BAS.

At the end of 2006 the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development came to an end, which covered the period 2002-2006. Its main objective was the establishment of a single European Research Area (ERA), in which the European scientific community to unite efforts ensuring sustainable growth of the European economy based on knowledge for the benefit of the European society.

The final balance of the participation of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 6th Framework Programme shows that from 460 projects for the entire four-year period of its operation (2002-2006):

  • 135 were approved for funding (average success rate 29.3%) from 270 successful projects for Bulgaria
  • Nearly 12 million EUR in European subsidies received went directly into the BAS institutes who were successfully involved.

The fee paid by Bulgaria to the European Commission for its participation in FP6 was 17.5 million euros for the four-year period, and only thanks to the successful participation of BAS a substantial part of it was restored before the completion of the program.

The results of from the successful projects of BAS in FP6 were subject to

  • 652 scientific publications;
  • 32 transfers to manufacturing companies (10 in Bulgaria and 22 abroad in countries such as Germany, England, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland and others)
  • 11 patents.

One of the great achievements from the participation of BAS in the 5th and 6th FP was winning a total of eight centres for high-end research "Centres of Excellence", which were by decision of the General Assembly of BAS, united into the Association of Centres for High-end Research at BAS, which includes:

  • Centre "Information Technology" (BIS-21 +), headed by Acad. Kiril Boyanov – at the Institute for Parallel Processing;
  • Centre for Sustainable Development and Management of the Black Sea region (CESUM-BS) – at the Institute of Oceanology in Varna, led by Senior Researcher Snezhana Moncheva;
  • Centre for Portable and Emergency Power Sources (POEMES) at the Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems, headed by Prof. Zdravko Stoynov;
  • Bulgarian Centre for Solar Energy (BGCSE) – at the Central Laboratory of Solar Energy and New Energy Sources, headed by Prof. Petko Vitanov;
  • Centre for Sustainable Environment (BEOBAL) – at the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy, headed by Corr. Member J. Stamenov;
  • Centre "Strengthening Research and Technological Capacities in the Field of Nanostructured Thin Layers of Hard and Superhard Coatings" (RTCNANOHARD) – at the Central Laboratory for Applied Physics, Plovdiv, led by Senior Researcher Rumen KAKANAKOV;
  • Centre for Multifunctional Materials and New Processes for Environmental Purposes (MISSION) – at the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, headed by Prof. Konstantin Hadzhiivanov;
  • Centre "Nanostructures in Bulk and Surface Phases" (NANOPHEN) – at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, headed by Senior Researcher Elena MILEVA.

For the period 1992 -2006, from their participation in the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has a TOTAL of:

  • 427 successful projects which have received EU funding
  • Nearly 26 million EUR in European subsidies received went directly into the BAS institutes who were successfully involved.

In conclusion, scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have made a particular contribution in the last 15 years to implement the policy of the EU to build up the European Research Area and the implementation of the state policy of Bulgaria for its comprehensive integration into the European Union community.