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Sofia University Scientists Awarded All Three “For Women in Science, 2015” Scholarships

A solemn ceremony to award the national “For Women in Science, 2015” scholarships was held at the SS Cyril and Methodius National Library. This is part of the L’Oreal – UNESCO Program.

This year the laureates of the scholarships are all Sofia University faculty members: Dr. Antoniya Vulcheva, Dr. Denitsa Teofanova and Dr. Maria Soskova.

Dr. Antoniya Vulcheva, a senior assistant-professor at the Department of Astronomy at the faculty of Physics of Sofia University, won the scholarship with his project on the topic of “Research on Variable Objects in M31”.


Dr. Denitsa Teofanova, a senior assistant-professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Biology of Sofia University, won the scholarship with her “Grain Crops – genetic resources for sustainable agriculture and a better quality of life” project.


Dr. Maria Soskova, a docent at the Department of Mathematical Logic and its Applications at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Sofia University, became a scholarship holder with her “Sustainability of the mathematical model for information content of natural problems” project. The prize was received by Docent Alexandra Soskova, her mother, since Dr. Maria Soskova is currently in the USA, working on her project.

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The event was attended by Ms Brigitte Streller, Secretary General of L’Oreal Bulgaria, Professor Roumen Pankov, Chairperson of the Scholarship Board and Deputy Rector of Sofia University, Professor Albena Chavdarova, Deputy Rector of Sofia University, Professor Boryana Hristova, Director of SS Cyril and Methodius National Library, members of the Board, faculty.

The official awarding ceremony was opened by the Executive Director of MZ Communications Group, Inc. Mr. Maxim Behar, who pointed out that the “Women for Science” marks its fifth jubilee edition. Thus far, “L’Oreal” Company has awarded nine scholarships to young women who have dealt most efficiently with their projects.


The winners of the scholarships and the audience were addressed by the UNESCO Director-general Ms Irina Bokova. The congratulatory address was read by Lyubov Draganova, member of the Secretariat of the National UNESCO Commission -- Bulgaria. Ms Irina Bokova congratulated the holders of the scholarships, wished them success in their scientific career, and expressed her hope that they would pursue their work with ever growing enthusiasm. “UNESCO is a partner in this program because one of the main goals of the organization is to encourage the use of the huge potential of the new technologies, the innovations and science as a driving force of sustainable development”, the letter reads. Ms Irina Bokova thanked “L’Oreal” for their efforts to support the development of women-scholars both in Bulgaria and world-wide. She openly expressed her gratitude to Sofia University, the Chairperson and the members of the Board for the professional appraisal of all the candidates to the program, and also to the hosts. “I am fully convinced that with that initiative the women-scholars shall realize their scientific projects and, in that way, will support our common goal for peace, equality and sustainable development,” Ms Bokova adds in her congratulatory letter.


The Deputy Rector of Sofia University Professor Albena Chavdarova welcomed the organizers of the competition and its participants. She read a congratulatory address on behalf of the Rector of Sofia University, Corresponding Member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Dr, Ivan Ilchev, wherein he expressed his genuine satisfaction of the five year period of joint work with “L’Oreal” and UNESCO for establishing links between education, science and business. “I am glad that despite the hard times we live in, there are people like you who will never give up lending their support for the development of education and science. The “For Women in Science” competition is a universal recognition of the role played by all those women who have dedicated themselves to the cause of science in Bulgaria, and in spite of the daily difficulties they work tirelessly for the realization of their achievements in the domain of the natural sciences,” his congratulatory address went on. Professor Ivan Ilchev mentioned also how proud he was that all three winners in the competition this year were members of faculty of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”: “Their success is yet another proof that despite the financial obstacles which the state poses for us, the University will continue to be the best university till it can boast of such top level scientists, highly educated, ardent and competent.”


Professor Boryana Hristova also welcomed the guests and expressed her pride that she can be a host to the fifth edition of the awarding of the national ”For Women in Science” “L’Oreal” – UNESCO scholarships. She stressed that the National Library is a creative institution which also supports the making of science in the noblest of ways. Professor Hristova made special mention of the fact how deeply impressed she was by the CVs of the women-scholars, winners of the scholarships this year, and, while wishing them all the best, she said that it was in such people, devoutly dedicated to science, that we can place our hope for a bright and promising future.


The Director-general of “L’Oreal” for Bulgaria Ms Brigitte Streller presented the project briefly. She pointed to the fact that five years before “L’Oreal” Bulgaria and the National UNESCO Commission in Bulgaria had recognized the need for such an initiative and over those years the project had evolved and turned into a national program for granting scholarships that support promising women-scholars in this country. She thanked the Board members, leading figures in the scholarly life of this country, and the program partners.


“One of the biggest treasures of each country is the knowledge of the people who live in it possess. Scientific research, the innovations and arduous work form the basis of progress and a better future. ‘L’Oreal’ whose products have been created due to the efforts of eminent scientists, cherishes that fact highly,” added Ms Streller. She stressed that the scholarships should serve as an encouragement for women-scholars to pursue their scientific endeavors with vigor and ambition, and keep on working in the field of science: “Women who have dedicated their lives to science deserve the best of public attention and the recognition by the scientific community”.


Professor Roumen Pankov, Chairperson of the Board, noted that for the short period of five years the competition had evolved successfully and positioned itself as one of the most significant amongst the scientific events. He was definite that that could not have taken place if there had not been so many women working in the field of the highest levels of professional science. “This could not have happened either hadn’t we had the good rapport with “L’Oreal” which responded to the growing need and increased the scholarships from two to three. We also had the support of the representatives of MZ Communications, who provided the logistics of the competition,” Professor Pankov went on. He did not fail to acknowledge the role of the members of the Board, experts from almost all faculties of Sofia University. Professor Pankov also noted that more than 56 projects had been reviewed over the past year and pointed to the high level of competition.


On the occasion of its 5th anniversary “L’Oreal Concern” awarded an honorary diploma to Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” for its contribution to the dissemination of the achievements of women scholars in Bulgaria and as partner in the national “For Women in Science” Scholarship Program.