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The First Center for Applied Research and Innovations in Bulgaria Was Opened at the Faculty of Biology

The official opening of the Center for Applied Research and Innovations and a Career Center was opened at the Faculty of Biology at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

The Center for Applied Research and Innovations will attract undergraduates and Ph D students of medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, pharmacy working in teams on practical issues. The idea for the setting up of the Center belongs to Kiril Petkov; “Probiotik” produces probiotics which are distributed all over the world. The establishment of the Center was made possible due to a 300 000 lev donation made by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the contribution share of “Probiotik” and the partnership of Sofia University .

At the opening of the Center the Dean of the Faculty of Biology Associate Professor Dr Stoyan Shishkov mentioned that the building of the Faculty had 90 years of history and remarked that its existence was closely linked with the development of the natural sciences. “ As of today, this building will house a center focusing on the research and innovations in the domain of medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnologies, “ the Dean said and thanked both his colleagues and the people who were instrumental in the financial assistance.


The Rector of Sofia University Professor Dr habil Anastas Gerdzhikov expressed his joy of attending the event. “After some years of stagnation and hard financial times, recently we have managed to open new buildings, laboratories, centers and the possibilities are multiplying. What we are opening today is something special because it is not simply linked to providing more opportunities for modern teaching to the faculty and students“. In his words, the Center widens the perspectives of education and science to be linked to entrepreneurship in such a way as to boost the development of both the economy and society, and the students upon their graduation will find their place in it.


The Rector expressed his pride and thanked all those who had contributed to the establishment of the Center – Kiril Petkov and “Probiotik” – the energetic begetters of the idea, America for Bulgaria Foundation which had been a traditional partner of Sofia University over the years, and also his colleagues from the Faculty of Biology, a team vibrant with energy, who had contributed to the setting up of the Center, thus bringing together all life sciences.

Professor Gerdzhikov wished successful work to the Center and expressed his hope that in the nearest future we would witness the first results showing the successful products and successfully launched campaigns.


The President of America for Bulgaria Foundation Ms Nancy Schiller said that it was a great pleasure for her to attend the opening of the Center for Applied Research and Innovations at Sofia University. Ms Schiller stressed that the key of success to the enterprise was the word “vision”. “That is a common vision we share – the Foundation, Kiril Petrov , the leadership of Sofia University and the Faculty of Biology. That was a common vision of how we could set up a biotechnology center of world class which could host the tuition, research and innovations in the name of the development of science in this country“.


Nancy Schiller expressed her hope that the Center for Applied Research and Innovations would turn into a focal point not only generating innovations but also training future scholars who would change our future world.

Professor Nikolay Denkov from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy of Sofia University said that the opening of the Center for Applied Research and Innovations was the material realization of the dream of how Bulgaria could make not only science but produce innovations of the highest world standards.

Professor Denkov also remarked that that was only the framework: “What will happen tomorrow – will it take a life of its own, will it be useful, shall we see it as the future of Bulgaria: it is all up to you, our colleagues and students. Because that is the venue that should bring you together in order to invent what no one else has already thought of. The support will inevitably come but the stimulus and the impulse lie with the students and the faculty“.


In his congratulatory address Kiril Petkov said that the opening of the Center was an example of how things could happen in this country when there were common values. “The people next to me, all they have contributed something more from themselves than was expected from a purely professional point of view. There are more than 28 people in the audience who dedicated time and energy – and that was more that they were expected to give. And now, we all together have this center,” Mr Petkov said.


Kiril Petkov pointed out that on the very day of the opening of the Center the first 25 students reading natural sciences – chemistry, biology, biotechnologies, pharmacy, cosmetics – will start attending a course in “Entrepreneurship and Innovations in the Natural Sciences”.

“For the first time in this country all the natural sciences will be brought together so that they will reason things together as to how the country can become more competitive, how we can have products and services that are competitive on a global scale,“ Kiril Popov pointed out and said that as of that day the doors were opened for every student from those faculties. All the services in the Center would be free of charge and the only thing the students were expected to bring with them were the same cherished common values.


“I would like to specially congratulate Sofia University because three years ago for the first time a center of this kind was opened at Harvard, a year ago – at Oxford, and only eight months after Oxford there exists such a Center at Sofia University, too. I thank you all and let us congratulate each other on having such a Center,“ Kiril Petkov said. He added that with the opening of the Center the Bulgarian students would be given the opportunity to create innovations and introduced the person in charge of the Biotechnology Laboratory Dr Rositsa Tropcheva.


The Deputy mayor of Sofia Municipality Todor Chobanov expressed his joy at attending the opening of the Center. In his words, innovations together with scientific and research activities and career development provide the best possibilities for opening new vistas to new solutions, to everything that may change the environment we live in and increases the quality of life. He pointed out that the most important thing was to have excellent professionals and their training was the key challenge in every sector of life in the 21st century.

The Deputy-mayor said that in their projects his team was constantly looking for and implementing innovations. He mentioned that some 20 biotechnologists, graduates of the Faculty of Biology at Alma mater, work in the Recycling Waste Plant at Sofia Municipality. “The municipal firm for the treatment of waste together with the plant cooperate with five universities with the main objective of implementing the latest scientific technologies in real life and in view of improving the syllabuses and directing the efforts of the young people to specific areas of research, connected with their installations.“


The Center for Applied Research and Innovations is a joint venture of the Faculty of Biology at Sofia University and the Center for Applied Research and Innovations Foundation. It is built and equipped with the financial assistance of America for Bulgaria Foundation (a donation to the magnitude of 300 000 levas) and “Probiotik “ Ltd (a donation of 500 000 levas), which will fund the financial activities for a long period of time.

The repairs were done by “Optima Engineering” Ltd. And conducted by Ms Rada Doukova. The internal designer of the Center was Mr Alexander Petrov. Landscape architect was Mr Stefan Cholakov.

The Center’s main objective is to promote the development of scientific research and innovations in the domain of the biological, pharmaceutical and medical technologies.


The major activities of the Center will be scientific research and multidisciplinary innovations in the domain of the medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnologies. In the scientific and applied laboratory at the Center the students will attend seminar classes and lectures in the areas of the biotechnologies and microbiology. The introduction of new courses is also envisaged, the latter being linked with the interdisciplinary research and the innovations.

M. Sc. and Ph D students from Sofia University will have the opportunity to participate in scientific research and the creation of real market innovations.

The Career Center at the Faculty of Biology is established with the aim of promoting the professional orientation and realization of biology graduates, biotechnologists and education graduates. It will foster the enhancement of their competitiveness by internships and Ph D tuition. The major activities comprise the establishment of promising contacts with the specialists’ users – firms, social institutions, scientific and training organizations. The Center will consult Faculty’s alumni concerning the possibilities for development, direct them to free working positions and explain to them the tendencies in the labour market.