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An online seminar entitled ‘Innovation Management and Digital Transformation of Industries and Work: Future Trends and Research Methodologies’ was held in early March as part of the SCHOLARNET project which is implemented within the framework of the ‘European Research Networks’ National Research Programme. The project is coordinated by the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ Sofia University and it is in line with the priorities of the 2014 — 2020 National Smart Specialization Innovation Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The topics discussed at the seminar included ‘Innovating with AI in an Industrial Setting’ and ‘Creating Shared Values ​​through Sustainable Innovation’. Prof. Albena Vutsova, PhD from ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ Sofia University, Prof. Kai-Ingo Voigt, PhD from Friedrich-Alexander-Universitaet Erlangen Nuernberg and Prof. Gilles Rouet, PhD from IUT de Mantes and ISM-IAE, UVSQ, Paris-Saclay, officially opened the PhD seminar. Some of the key objectives of the SCHOLARNET project were presented — research capacity-building through knowledge transfer; exchange of good practices related to academic research; building research networks with leading European research institutes, enhancing young researchers’ opportunities for successful careers.

Methodological guidelines for PhD supervision in the COVID-19 context, the potential of a practice-oriented approach in the preparation and implementation of a research study, and the factors of sustainable consumer behavior were also part of the discussions in the first part of the research forum. The research debate also focused on how start-ups could potentially utilize various tools to support local communities in times of crisis; corporate social responsibility and the creation of shared values ​​through sustainable innovation; the GloBE proposal for avoiding profit shifting and base erosion of MNEs; the relationship between supply chain resilience and Industry 4.0. Doctoral and post - doctoral students presented their work on the subjects of social enterprises, understanding European identity through the institutional embeddedness theory, job satisfaction factors among IT employees and research on strategic diplomatic practices implemented by firms. Miryana Ilcheva, Senior analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy and а PhD student at ‘Neofit Rilski’ South-West University, presented a study on migration — perceptions, integration, criminal justice and security.

The discussion on artificial intelligence as a means of innovation in the industrial environment generated great interest among the participants. The need for shared values ​​and responsibilities was touched upon, as well as the key role of co-creation.

The final panel of the seminar looked at the various opportunities for young researchers to use the EarlyBirds platform when preparing their research papers. Assoc. Prof. Todor Yalamov, PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ Sofia University, and Prof. Nicholas Tsakas, PhD from the University of Cyprus, commented on the benefits of studying in Master’s and PhD programmes in terms of opportunities for acquiring competences in an international environment, building a strong network of contacts, including with representatives of the business sector, and further development as in research areas.

Over 40 PhD students from 5 universities participated in the seminar. The research forum was attended by post-doctoral researchers from the partner universities as well as candidates from foreign countries who are interested in the Master’s and PhD programmes of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ Sofia University.