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The European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine EATRIS - ERIC is opening doors for Bulgarian scientific community

Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" hosted the first partnering conference entitled “The European Research Infrastructure for Translation Medicine EATRIS-ERIC in Bulgaria ". The event was co-organized by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Bulgarian representation of EATRIS-ERIC at Sofia University and dedicated to the affiliation of Bulgaria to the European infrastructure in 2018.

EATRIS – ERIC (https://eatris.eu/) is a pan-European consortium which plays a fundamental role in the advancement of knowledge and technology in translational research and drug development. The infrastructure which comprises over 90 leading institutes in Europe, constitutes of a wide diversity of stakeholders who seek innovative solutions to the wide array of problems that are faceing the development of new therapies. The EATRIS infrastructure represents the bricks and brains of the scientific community in Europe that is focused on translational research.

At the partnering conference in Sofia University EATRIS-ERIC was represented by Anton Ussi (Operations & Finance Director for EATRIS), Martin de Kort and David Morrow (Programme Managers of Translational Medicine & Drug Development at EATRIS) as part of their official visit to the country.

Official guests of the event were Mrs. Karina Angelieva – Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mrs. Milena Damyanova - Director of the Science Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Science, Mrs. Yanita Zherkova - State Expert at the Science Directorate and Representative of Bulgaria in the Board of Governors in EATRIS, senior representatives of the academic and large scientific Community of Medical University of Plovdiv, Sofia University, Medical University of Sofia, National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, managers and professionals of private organizations with biomedical R&D portfolio, professional and social media. Before start of the conference the guests were welcomed in a short meeting by Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov, Rector of Sofia University.


The conference was opened by Corr. mem. Prof. Roumen Pankov, Faculty of Biology, who welcomed the audience on behalf of Sofia University and the Bulgarian Representation of EATRIS-ERIC. Prof. Pankov pointed out that the event is under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski "and is part of the program dedicated to the creation of a partner structure of EATRIS-ERIC in Bulgaria.


The Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mrs. Karina Angelieva also welcomed the participants and talked about some of the challenges to Bulgarian science that need to be overcome. She drew attention to the conversation about the positive image of scientific research in Bulgaria. According to her, in the next programming period, Bulgaria should define thematic areas and implementation tools in support of innovations.


On behalf of the Bulgarian Representation in EATRIS, welcome note was extended by prof. Rossitsa Konakchieva from the Faculty of Biology, Sofia University, who is the National director of EATRIS-ERIC in Bulgaria. She stressed on the complex processes leading to the Bulgaria's full accession to EATRIS. In her words, Bulgarian science needs better integration at European level and with the support of EATRIS and the access to the infrastructure supported by Bulgarian government this is now feasible. She expressed the belief that the granted access to high-end technological and scientific expertise available at EATRIS will impact enormously on the performance of academy research and help increase the effectiveness of academy - industry partnership in Bulgaria to meet social needs in the field of translational biomedical science. She invited the Bulgarian researchers to use the capacity and capabilities of the pan-European consortium.


The Conference program also included presentations of main Bulgarian biomedical research infrastructure complexes responding to the high standards of modern molecular biology and medicine - OP NOIR funded Center of Competence “ Fundamental, translational and clinical studies in the field of infections and infectious immunology”, NCIPD, Sofia, presented by Prof. Maria Nikolova, Head of Immunology Depratment; the Center of Competence "Personalized Innovative Medicine (PERIMED)" Medical University Plovdiv, presented by Prof. Milena Mourdjeva, Vice-Rector; the National University Complex for Biomedical and Applied Research (NKBPI) - BBMRI affiliated partner at Medical University Sofia, presented by Dr. A. Mitkova; the Research Infrastructure Cell Technologies in Biomedicine (INFRAACT) of the National Roadmap of RI 2017-2023, presented by Prof. Soren Hayrabedyan, Director of IBIR-BAS.


The opportunities for scientific and technological cooperation in the field of personalized translation medicine, arising from the accession of Bulgaria to the European infrastructure, were discussed.


The visit was held in a spirit of mutual understanding, constructive and content dialog. There was a general consensus about the need for further action to organize a Bulgarian node partnering to EATRIS which will enable the Bulgarian scientific community to benefit from the hub -and -spoke model of access to high-end technology, expertise and logistic support provided by EATRIS-ERIC to its member states.


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