Report on the Activity of Evrika Foundation in the Year 2019
The annual report of Evrika Foundation summarises and analyses what has been achieved in the year 2019. The leading impetus was to follow our mission but a mission updated in accordance with the requirements of the changing times and the new needs of children and young people related to these.
I. For the attainment of the non-profit purposes of the foundation
We continue to look for the necessary level and to find our place in the digital economy and digital society and we understand even more clearly that this can only be achieved via a new way of thinking, new technologies to implement that new way of thinking and this requires the efforts of all of us and all of us together. This unification will create the conditions and make this change possible. This requires that we review again the formulated purposes and tasks that we have set ourselves as an organisation and find new content in the activities organised by us.
- For the acquisition of natural sciences’, technical and economic knowledge, skills and culture by the young generation, support of training and qualification of young people with proven capabilities in the sphere of natural sciences, technics and management.
Via the ‘Talents’ Programme, we set ourselves aims related to combining the interests of children and young people and the needs of society. This is why we are making an effort to find the correct and precise assessment and direct them towards new professions and the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
We achieve such a direction and impact via the scholarship programme which we put into practice. It has been an essential part of our activity through the years and has been altered in order to correspond to the new times. We changed the areas where we were looking for scholarship students; we changed the amount of the scholarships and, at the same time, we reorganise our priorities so that they are in line with the needs. We use our techniques and organising approaches and assessments. We looked for the correct balance in terms of grades as criteria for and significance of what has been achieved. Respected scientists and experts in the practical field have come to our aid. The main rules via which we select the applicants allow for the objective assessment of the acquisition of knowledge combined with participation in the implementation of scientific projects, the creation of innovative products and first-time scientific publications which come as a result of the participation in person of students in scientific research.
In 2019, in accordance with tradition, the Bulgarian teams in mathematics, informatics, physics, chemistry and biology returned from international Olympics with medals and awards and this is sufficient ground for us to be satisfied and claim that the awarded scholarships were fully deserved. The final assessment for the 2019/2020 academic year shows that Evrika Foundation has 48 scholarship students whereby 15 are recipients of scholarships by name, 1 student received the ‘Acad. Alexander Teodorov – Balan’ scholarship under a targeted donation, 1 student won a gold medal at International Secondary School Olympics, 12 students and pupils won silver medals at International Secondary School Olympics, 19 students and pupils won bronze medals at International Secondary School Olympics.
We regard the continuing support of Maria Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture and Youth, who addressed the scholarship students this year as well, as recognition of the good work of the Foundation. ‘To me, you are innovators who are writing our tomorrow today. You embody, in your own concrete way, what we need in Europe today: excellent skills, fresh ideas and boldness. I sincerely believe that in the same way that you are getting your scholarships today, tomorrow, we will see you among the leaders who will determine Europe’s agenda.’ This is the way European Commissioner Maria Gabriel described the excellent students and pupils. In her greeting addressed to the scholarship students, Milena Damyanova, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science with the 44th National Assembly, stated: ‘Every medal of yours from an international competition and small discovery in the great world of science are a source of pride for all of us. Today, your diligence, industriousness and perseverance are being rewarded. The many hours of work are being rewarded. Namely, it is the perseverance and diligence, the love for science and the curiosity about the new and unknown that distinguish you from your peers.’
In the past years, we have often presented what has been accomplished under the ‘Talents’ Programme within the framework of various programmes and projects. There is one that stands out among these. We called it the Student Institute of Mathematics and Informatics (SIMI) and created it nineteen years ago as a long-term programme for joint work of Bulgarian scientists and distinguished students of mathematics and informatics. During the Report year, a student conference and a spring student section took place, as well as the selection via competition of two participants in the Research Scientific Institute (RSI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For another consecutive year, the summer research school, the student workshop and the seminar for teachers in mathematics, computer science and information technology boasted international participation. Annually, over 120 projects by about 150 students from 30 cities in the country are being developed at the Student Institute. The Student Conference has been taking place every year since 2001 as a competition session with the participation of pupils from the 8th – 12th grade. After a review by scientists with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the best projects are admitted for defence or a poster session in two groups – in mathematics and in computer science and information technology. The authors of the excellent projects in the Student Conference compete for the selection of two Bulgarian participants in RSI – a summer research programme at the Center for Excellence in Education, a six-week programme, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the participants in the Student Section of the Spring Conference of the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians. A total of 81 students from mathematics and general education secondary schools from the entire country took place in the 19th Student Conference on Mathematics and Informatics (SC’19) in the section for mathematics, computer science and information technology. They presented a total of 62 copyright projects. Six projects in mathematics and nine projects in computer science and information technology received a diploma for excellent submission, while 9 projects in mathematics and 34 projects in computer science and information technology received a diploma for very good submission.
To summarise, in the 19-year period of the existence of SIMI, over 1,400 students and their teachers in mathematics, computer science and information technology have passed through its many shapes and forms. The number of alumni of this school who participate repeatedly in its life but, now, as academic supervisors and consultants is growing. The authors of numerous projects developed at the Student Institute have participated afterwards in prestigious academic fora. The alumni of the Student Institute return with awards from the most prestigious European academic fora for young scientists. The projects mark enhanced application of computer simulations for research of mathematical and other problems. It is a satisfying fact that inter-disciplinary projects are no longer a rarity because the most fertile achievements in science lately are a result of precisely such developments. We can now confidently state that structures similar to this one have been created in our country covering other scientific fields such as physics, chemistry and biology and even the Humanities. Students work on one or several projects in these structures while being supervised by established authorities in the scientific field. Nine of these fields fall within the realm of natural sciences, technologies, engineering and mathematics. The main purpose is to discover students with an interest in science, to develop the research approach in education and to perfect the skills of students in presenting the results to the public. We reckon the Evrika Foundation must continue to support the activity of this unique institution working in the interests of the talented and studious young Bulgarian mathematicians and IT students.
The clubs in schools which have chosen to work in the fields of natural sciences continue to be within the range of our interests and activities. The Operational Programme ‘Science and Education for Smart Growth’ has increased manifold the financing for their activity. We still see as a disadvantage the content of their activities which sometimes repeats or expands in an insufficient way the forms and content of work and the opportunity for change is hidden in work with the teachers. The opportunities for such change can be sought in the multiplication of experience in the fields of mathematics and informatics and the unification of the parallel carrying out of training and seminars for students and teachers. This is being implemented in practice at the summer research school of the Student Institute. We will seek the second opportunity in the training of future teachers while they are still attending university. We have already held talks at Plovdiv University where future teachers in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are being prepared. Our ideas were received well and we will probably begin work in the shape of a project for willing students and, depending on the results, we will draft a well-argued offer to the university management for its inclusion in the academic programme.
We have also not interrupted our close contacts with clubs in schools which we created within the framework of a project in the years past. It is to our great joy that a large part of them became part of the programmes and appeared in functioning innovative schools. They are based on these same teachers who really possess a striving for the new and do it with interest and willingness. We follow their development mainly via the Internet platform created by them and for them and the publications of the Az buki newspaper. On this basis, it is worth the effort to look for their partnership for the creation of a network of clubs which will implement integrated activities and projects. We held talks with the managers of school clubs who participated in the annual exhibition in Gorna Oryahovitsa with respect to such willingness and opinion on the matter. They were mostly representatives of vocational secondary schools but reserves remain for work with other such schools, as well as primary schools. It will be difficult to manage this without true allies and we will be looking for such allies in the form of the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Palace of Children which follow and methodically supervise extracurricular activities and can influence these irrespective of their local initiative. We are prepared to assume a position at the base of a large-scale project and attract adherents among teachers and school principals. We must discuss the opportunities for partnership with other organisations as well and, mostly, with employer organisations in order to look for good solutions for work in vocational high schools. We are also seeking our place in the implementation of the initiative ‘Education for Science’ which has set itself the ambitious task of having at least 10,000 students participate in the work of the institutes and museums of BAS in a single year. There are also reserves for work at the National Polytechnical Museum which constantly expands the topics and forms of work. We already have good practice with them for the activity of the club for construction on the basis of LEGO which has been functioning for three years. In order for our joint activity there to be useful, we could suggest the development of digital representations of various activities and the organisation of summer schools for kids. The focus is on STEM training and the idea is for the education of future scientists to begin as early as the initial school stage. It is also possible to join the idea of developing a Bulgarian Portal for Science and Research. It will ensure access to the results of all research financed by the budget and of programmes and initiatives for cooperation. The most serious challenge will be the creation of an infrastructure ensuring quick access to the array of information which is being stored in various scientific centres on the Old Continent.
Guided by the desire to be useful and to contribute to the improvement in education in the fields we refer to as STEM, together with two more non-governmental organisations (the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians), we turned to the Ministry of Education and Science with a well-grounded proposal for the introduction of a mandatory matriculation examination in mathematics at the time of high school graduation. This would make the training of pupils and their teachers more targeted and, eventually, it would increase the knowledge of a significant part of pupils and teachers. We reckon that together we should look for forms and means to influence the forming of groups and interest clubs in school in those fields, the carrying out of more competitions and contests that will aid the training and performance of students.
There are some traditional events which can have a new ring to them and become adjusted to new competitions, club and school activities. The European Science Day for Youth is such an event. Its 15th edition under the heading ‘Waves’ took place during the report year. Traditionally, it takes place at the club level or in small formations at the school level. There are no standardised forms but this allows students to let their imagination roam freely. It is normal to search mostly for research and activities in physics. This year the topic is related to research and experiments aimed at studying Space and we are certain that we will succeed in attracting the attention of many of the participants in our traditional competition ‘Space – present and future of mankind’. We believe that many schools will organise events dedicated to the World Aviation and Astronautics Day; there will be events to trace what has been achieved by Bulgarian scientists and researchers and the role of our country in the implementation of space projects. It is normal to expect that the young designers of flying apparatuses will become more active and that there will be a competition with flying models and the new trend of building and using drones.
Also, we want to organise new forms that are related to the mastering of new professions and skills, ones that correspond to the natural striving to look for new applications in practice, in contemporary production and the knowledge and skills related to these as well. The students greet with great interest the exercises in design, computer technologies and computer modelling, as well as their application in practice. This interest and natural striving of the students towards new opportunities for modelling and managing of the processes can become very useful in vocational orientation and the mastering of programming as a means for the attainment of the new goals. It is natural to seek an expansion of the scope of such activities in school and extracurricular forms of activity by looking together for new applications and products created in school, in the clubs and universities. It would be good to manage to attract to this endeavour various research groups and for these to become closer to the searching and knowledgeable pupils and students. Everything that has been achieved should be made accessible on a national scale in order to multiple the effects. Here is an example of what was done in partnership with us on Digital Knowledge and Skills Day ‘We programme and create together’, a joint initiative with the Computer School ‘Vale’ in Haskovo. We realise that our efforts must be in the direction of the new requirements for change in education; these should lead to ensuring quality employment and giving the opportunity for an immediate transition from education to such employment. Moreover, quality employment means a stable work place, with good working conditions and adequate remuneration. The quality of education depends not only on the knowledge and skills acquired but also on their constant updating – on knowledge of the ways in which new knowledge and skills can be applied at the specific work place.
The direction of change in the vocational training of pupils and students is clear and it is inextricably linked to information technologies without which digitalisation would be impossible. The content, means and methods of teaching are changing fast. It is only natural for this new policy to have a reflection in a change in the topics of extracurricular activities and events for pupils and students as well. This is why we are looking for the new in the projects implemented in these communities and institutions.
We can be satisfied with the development of our cooperation with Plovdiv University ‘Paisii Hilendarski’. The training of a large part of future teachers takes place there and, via our joint projects, we manage to find opportunities for more educational initiatives and demonstration of the creativity of the students in the field of new technologies and the binding of education with the practical application of the intellectual product of their research activity and an opportunity for practical implementation in firms with real manufacturing. This bears the greatest results in firms where their alumni work and, mostly, when real-life contact is maintained with them. This is a prerequisite for the immediate binding of education with employment in real conditions and the creation of opportunities for the results gained to have faster implementation in practice.
One of the ways for the students to stand out, which we have traditionally supported, is sending the authors to participate in international scientific events. These have become less in number and the reason for this is that the functioning European programmes cover fully the financial aspect of the participation of young scientists and PhD students while the level of student projects is still not at the level guaranteeing professional participation in such international scientific fora. It is certain that the students need to participate in such events, some of these at the student level, and this is the place to discuss whether the time has not come to also provide for the support of students in similar national scientific events in the country. If we provide for this in our programmes, we will ensure another opportunity for the support of those who have manifested interest and already have results in their research work. There, they can express themselves, gain experience and create useful contacts. What we should keep is the requirement for them to have a submitted report or another planned scientific contribution to the forum – scientific schools, seminars and similar forms of organisation fall in this category.
- For stimulation of youths’ scientific and technical research, invention and other innovation activities
The possible forms for the demonstration of the creativity of young people and children are changing at a very fast pace. As a country in the European Union, we have more opportunities to not only organise local and national competitions but, also, to participate in large-scale multilateral projects and events in the field of new technologies and technics for the attainment of this. We have to engage ourselves with greater results for the purpose of introducing these new technics and technologies in schools and universities. Via these, a different kind of school activities are being introduced; different conditions for creativity are being created. Already, we have some experience in this. It is there that we should look for joint activities with manufacturing and an expansion in the fields for training at a new technological level corresponding to the new times.
In 2019, the project with the Professional School of Electrical Engineering and Automation in Sofia for the equipment and programming support of a work-room for the training of experts majoring in ‘Monitoring and management of systems working in real time’ continued and was successfully completed. The training of the first experts has begun. The students in this school are already being trained in new conditions and with new equipment. A second step is to follow: the transfer of this training process to qualification and re-qualification of executive cadres which will be needed even more in the processes of digital development of manufacturing and the need for contractors with new knowledge and skills. After its completion, the results should be summarised and good practices described. We will rely in the next stage as well on the good partnership with the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association which provided us with serious financial support so this can become possible in other areas as well. Perhaps, we should also try to look for such areas in other cities with vocational schools and firms developing solidly that need cadres and are willing to work with organisations similar to ours in order to achieve this.
We have every reason to be satisfied with the implementation of another project as well and refer to it as good practice and experience. We began nearly four years ago at the National Polytechnical Museum. The subject of the implementation of the project were targeted groups of children (between 7 and 12 years of age). The purpose was to arouse their interest in construction with suitable original LEGO building kits. The main purpose is, via activities and practical work, to provoke interest among the students in the engineering professions linked to the new technologies. We resorted to established methods of learning via making. Playing as a means to master new knowledge proved very useful in this age group. Programming became possible at this age as well. Children gained their first experience in team work and a natural impetus for contest and competition. The children who attended this school developed long-lasting interest in robotics and at the end of the school year they demonstrated how the robots built by them operate and how they follow commands via the programmes created by them. Interest has peaked and we have been forced to resort to preliminary selection. We are grateful to the National Polytechnical Museum that they continue, with great enthusiasm, to support this activity and it is only the limited space and technical possibilities that hinder its expansion. At the expense of this, we looked for new opportunities to multiply this good experience. We managed to provide an opportunity to representatives from other areas of the country to become familiar with the selection, creation and functioning of the children’s club ‘LeGOtech’ and a similar club has already been created and has become operational in Haskovo – ‘VALEGOTECH’. It is the first of its kind in all of southern Bulgaria. Interest is great and children in Haskovo have already managed to construct and programme their first robot. We used the funds from the latest donation from ‘Velev Invest’ for maintenance and addition of technical equipment for the Club with building kits and programmes for the purpose of increasing the groups for exercises, remuneration of its managers and activities within the Club itself such as contests and competitions, including prizes. We received a targeted donation consisting of computers and LEGO building kits from the National Network for Children, which we placed at the disposal of children’s club ‘LeGOtech’ at the Natioanl Polytechnical Museum.
We are considering taking the most successful children on a visit to the Institute of Robotics so that they can see what the robots there can do and their creators. It would be good to succeed in continuing our work with these children when they grow into a different age group but, in order to achieve this, we will need different equipment and different teachers. Perhaps it is a good idea to look for such activity for older children at the National Palace of Children where such an activity has been started but it is in its initial stage and no base has been created for training of this kind.
We are also witnessing solid development in our project with Plovdiv University ‘Paisii Hilendarski’ for the organisation and holding of a National Competition ‘Physics –
Engineering – Technologies’, which is an element in the work for the training of future teachers in natural sciences. The National Competition provided an opportunity for students with different interests and abilities to stand out thanks to the three different types of categories – first category – a presentation in the fields of physics, engineering, technologies; second category – a task related to presenting physics, engineering and technologies with the help of visual arts; third category – solving experimental problems set in advance. Special attention was paid to the teachers who participated in the competition as supervisors. A master class was organised for them and the ones who graduated successfully were awarded one qualification credit. This is not merely a step towards the unification of efforts with the university but a stimulus for the participation of teachers in this activity.
Our work among the students bears the mark of both tradition and innovation. When we mention traditions, we envisage what has been done via the competition ‘Space – present and future of humanity’. Its 21st edition was held last year. With the completion and presentation of awards in one of the competitions, work begins on new activities. Authors use more and more the acquired knowledge and ideas for their projects from what has been learned at school, but with the help of information sources on the Internet as well. We continue our beneficial cooperation with the media partner – the ‘Az Buki’ Publishing House and, in particular, the newspaper with whose help we reach every school, the small villages and the big cities. The patronage and personal participation of the first Bulgarian cosmonaut General Georgi Ivanov in the report for the competition and the presentation of awards is an attracting factor. His tales and shared stories from the time of his training and the flight itself are something which leaves a trace in many of the children and they develop their own ideas linked to that.
In 2019, 1,316 students at the age of 8-18 partook in the competition with 1,296 projects within the framework of five subject areas. It was a sound and motivating decision to honour the supervisors of the children as well. These teachers are also a source of reliable support and aid in maintaining the scale and impact of this activity among students. In their turn, children are attracted by the honour of being acknowledged as authors on the website of the Foundation. They perceive this as an acknowledgement but also as an opportunity to attract new participants and initiate projects. Actually, what is posted on the website is a continuation of the exhibition which we organise annually with the help of the National Polytechnical Museum. This is also an original way of popularising the results and achievements but an exchange of good practices as well, especially in the field of creating and implementing ideas for space experiments and the construction of models of space apparatuses and modelling the notions of students about the processes and events in cosmic space.
A total of 15 students and student teams with very serious training and profound knowledge partook in the subject area ‘Ideas for Scientific and Technical Experiments’. The most successful projects originated in High School of Languages ‘Plovdiv’, the Astronomic Observatory and ‘Zheleznik’ High School in Stara Zagora, and Sports School ‘General Vladimir Stoychev’, Sofia. All of the participants presented very well prepared and well-argued projects, while their excellent defence before the jury showed long-lasting interest in the topic, a wealth of lore and profound knowledge. It is worth sharing the opinion of the winner in the last two years, Dimitar Ferdinandov from Plovdiv: „You from Evrika Foundation inspire me and prove that, via dedication, determination and perseverance, there is no aim out of reach. The spark leading to participation in the physics and astronomy competitions was ignited by you via the National Competition ‘Space – present and future of mankind’ which provided me with the wonderful opportunity to implement my own ideas for the first time and this, I believe, is the point of science.“
A very large number of projects were presented in the subject area ‘Models and layouts of space objects’ – there were 73 models and layouts by 92 students from all over the country. This shows that, in many schools like these in Tutrakan, Burgas, Pleven, Russe, Troyan, the village of Ruen, Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia and several other small and big towns and villages, students are working hard and achieving results, and we can expect more novel and significant outcomes.
In terms of graphic works created with the help of a computer, the jury reviewed and assessed several interesting, quality projects of websites, computer games, mobile phone games, presentations, web-based works on vast Space of an in-depth and meaningful research nature. A total of 174 participants presented their own designs and works. The winner was a team from the High School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics ‘Yane Sandanski’ in Gotse Delchev for the design ‘Universe’.
In the subject area literary works, 112 young authors competed with 118 works. Here as well, the competitors were from the entire country and the most impressive works were those of students from Sofia, Peshtera, Varna, Samokov etc. First place was awarded by the jury to Vyara Avramova from 22nd Secondary School ‘G.S,Rakovski’, Sofia, for her essay on the topic ‘Space – present and future of mankind’. This year as well, the largest number of participants was recorded among young artists. Works of art were exhibited by 923 young artists from 105 schools and other out-of-school units.
Traditionally, on the Day of the National Revival Leaders, the patron of the competition – the first Bulgarian cosmonaut General Georgi Ivanov greeted the laureates and their supervisors and presented the awards. He showed the young researchers and artists 40 unique pictures made from the spacecraft ‘Soyuz 33’ with a ‘Kiev 4’ camera by the space partner of General Ivanov – pilot cosmonaut Nikolay Rukavishnikov. With regard to children and their supervisors, the Chairman of the jury, Dr Tanya Ivanova, made an interesting presentation on the topic ’40 years since the flight of the first Bulgarian cosmonaut’. The author of the project which won first place in the subject area scientific and technical experiments also presented his scientific research on the topic ‘SOCOL’. The hosts of the function from the National Polytechnical Museum exhibited a special exposition of paintings and models by the participants in the 21st edition of the National Competition ‘Space – present and future of mankind’.
Yet again, we organised the International Scientific-Technical Conference for students from the language schools in Sofia. A total of 11 projects in the field of mathematics, informatics, biology, environmental science, chemistry and physics were presented and defended. All of the participants and their supervisors received a diploma of participation, while the winners in the conference received financial prizes as well. We attracted to the jury Acad. Yachko Ivanov, Professor Nikolay Vitanov, Penka Lazarova from ‘Nauka’ magazine and some of our former scholarship students who are now serious young scientists in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and informatics. They motivated successfully and predisposed the students to stand out. The students selected for participation in the Congress in Zaragoza made excellent demonstrations.
Another group of competitions which we organised were part of the annual programme of the International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science & Technology (MILSET). In these competitions, our students meet and compare knowledge with their peers from other countries. Since we continue to be the only Bulgarian organisation which is a member of this large-scale international movement, we aim and continue to be a conduit of information about these events and, when, necessary, organise such events at the national level. Like last year, when we became the link between young people and MILSET for the organisation of their participation in the 13th International Competition for Scientific Photography under the heading ‘When Art Meets Science’. In 2019, a large number of projects were submitted – over 48 by 70 participants. Perhaps, the fact that Bulgaria hosted the European stage of the competition for the first time played a stimulating role. The trend of an increase in quality projects is maintained. The participants ranked in the first three in the 21st edition of this competition were granted the right to represent Bulgaria at the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) from September 13th to September 18th in Sofia. A total of 150 representatives of nearly 40 countries took part in this prestigious forum. The EU Contest for Young Scientists provides the opportunity to young people at the age of 14 – 20 from all over the world to present their developments in the scientific field to prominent scientists in the world. We may be satisfied that nearly all of them had distinguished themselves and had set out along their path in science. The official patent ward of Evrika Foundation Patent Bureau ‘Dr Emil Benatov & Partners’, with whom we work in our consultancy office for legal protection of industrial property, provided free-of-charge consultations to all participants in the event on the subject of intellectual property. This is part of our joint work for providing free-of-charge consultations all year long to all young scientists and inventors, as well as to fledgling start-ups. Yet another year in a row, Evrika Foundation organised our participation in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The participants from Bulgaria presented projects and creativity at a high international level. They were justly noted and assessed by the international jury.
Another large group of events-competitions are those organised together with the National Palace of Children. We held national competitions in science, technics and technologies with students from the 5th-7th grade. Over 80 students from all over the country participated in these. A total of 83 students from the entire country from the 8th-12th grade were admitted to the national scientific-technical events. The events for older students included national competitions in electrical appliances, devices and means of communication, programming products, business projects, chemistry, agro-food industry, biology and environmental studies, physics and astronomy, farming, energy efficiency. During the completion, an exhibition was organised as well featuring demonstrations of student creativity.
The contests in modelling were not neglected either since these blend the natural striving of children towards flying, construction as a combination of knowledge in physics, mathematics and skills acquired in amateur exercises. During the national stage of auto-modelling and rocket modelling in May 2019 in Pazardzhik, a total of 155 students took part from the United Children’s Complexes and other out-of-class units. The national competitions in auto-modelling and ship modelling were held at the same place in the period May 31st – June 2nd 2019. These recorded more than 95 participants. Evrika Foundation, the National Palace of Children and modelling sports federations work together in order to enhance the interest of young people in these attractive forms which develop mainly a technical way of thinking, aid professional orientation and nurture useful habits for a healthy lifestyle, self-discipline and sportsmanship in youngsters. As a result, the number of persons developing these activities in modelling clubs increased, while the age of high-performing competitors decreased. Children and students actively engaged in this improve personal and republican records and demonstrate excellent achievements when participating in prestigious national and international contests and tournaments.
The Student Competition for Unconventional Flying Apparatuses ‘Creative Challenge IKAR-2019’, held traditionally in Kyustendil, falls in this category. In the last year, 35 participants competed there and demonstrated the attractive flying apparatuses of all types created by them. This competition allowed for the originality of ideas, the unique construction solutions, the design and the flying qualities of the flying models to be highlighted. The best received prizes. As a parallel event, demonstrations of amateur rockets, planes and gliders ‘Osogovo 2019’, a workshop for planes and a competition with these for children in the audience were organised as well.
Environmental science continues to be present in the subject areas of student events. During the report period, we continued to organise traditional events like the National Student Competition ‘Nature – our home’ and the Environmental Forum ‘Srebarna’. In 2019, over 120 participants from 12 districts were involved in the forum. The main subject areas covered by the projects were: biological diversity, recycling and recovery of household waste, protected territories, renewable sources of energy, monitoring of waters, air and soils. There, the participants presented original authors’ ideas, personal research aimed at solving specific environmental problems, an original way of thinking and an up-to-date civic stance on public matters of regional and national importance directed towards the conservation of nature and the natural habitat of man, studying and conserving bio diversity and the use of new energy sources. The parallel events of the International Forum in Environmental Science: an exhibition of works from the international competition for paintings on the topic ‘The Earth – our home’ etc. also generated interest among the students. Nearly 350 students took part in the concomitant environmental forum ‘Srebarna – 2019’ with several paintings, applications, posters and literary works. Over the 28 editions of the initiatives, more than 5,900 students, young environmentalists and supervisors participated in these. And yet again, as a result of this, we found out that 35 out of the participants so far have been scholarship students of Evrika Foundation which proves long-lasting interest and achievements in mastering academic subjects and the choice of future professions.
The National Competition ‘The Earth – our home’ is another joint project of ours with the National Palace of Children. A total of 150 students from the 5th-7th grade from the Centres for Personal Development, schools in Sofia and the country were involved in its 2019 edition. Since the beginning of the year, 60 forms of working with children, some of them new, have been functioning there. We have our contribution there as well. Some of the environmental activities take place in two new wonderful ‘green’ classrooms in the open air created via the implementation of a joint project of the two structures.
When we enumerate and describe what has been accomplished in terms of affiliating children with information technologies and creative exercises related to their application, we should add what we consider a considerable achievement in our work with the children from Haskovo. For another consecutive year, we managed, together with Computer School ‘Vale’ in Haskovo, to hold the large-scale competition ‘Creativity without Borders’. Over the last six years, it is being held under the patronage of the Bulgarian European Commissioner Maria Gabriel. A total of 642 computer drawings, 827 collages of Bulgaria and 402 works from abroad were exhibited in its 10th jubilee edition. It has already been included in the National Calendar Plan of the Ministry of Education and Science for extracurricular activities and this favours the affiliation of new participants from the country and abroad. The indisputable success of the Haskovo School generates new and new ambitions. The implementation of the new school programme for the study of SCRATCH – a computer language created for the training of children is going ahead successfully. Lessons in programming with Microbit, the creation of mobile applications and LEGO robotics are also on the agenda. The latter is part of the transfer of experience and good practices from our club in the National Polytechnical Museum for work with LEGO designers in the field of robotics.
We should also praise the joint activity with the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria. For several years now, we have been holding jointly a youth session, a competition for thematic essays on the occasion of anniversaries historically significant for physicists. There is noticeable affiliation of students in physics in the initial years of their training with these as well. Over the last few years, the topic of work was ‘The structure of matter’. It was selected and directly linked to the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Periodic table of elements developed by Mendeleev. All this became part of the big conference ‘An integral approach in the training in physics’ directed at the professional training and qualification of teachers. The new element which was present in most of the projects was the interdisciplinary links between natural sciences and their application. A total of 54 pupils and students with 30 projects from 19 schools, 2 observatories, one municipal centre and the Medical University in Varna participated in this conference. The results from the National Competition for essays by pupils and students, which compiled the ideas and creative interpretations of 130 students from 42 primary and secondary schools from the entire country, as well as from three universities, were presented during the youth scientific session.
In vocational secondary schools, the most significant presence was that of the preparation and participation in the organised youth scientific-technical exhibition – competition in Gorna Oryahovitsa where we act as an aid and support organisation. Pupils and students from 22 vocational secondary schools in the country and 7 technical universities participated in it. They demonstrated innovative developments with applications in medicine, the aviation industry, nuclear energy, industry and everyday life. The young technical innovators demonstrated their robots, drones, robotic hands, electric automobiles and a humanoid robot. The exhibition turned into a parade of youth creative work, and the most valuable is that the displayed projects are fully applicable in practice and may find real support by the business. Practically the exhibition turned into an original model for interaction between the business, the institutions, the non-governmental organizations and the schools. We stand behind the initiative because we know that it is useful as a form of manifestation of the achievemnets of the young creators, as a center for exchange of good practices and novelties in the education and training of technical staff, as an attempt at showing the manufacturers throughout the country what unused possibilities exist in schools and universities.
During the reporting year we started up new cooperation with the Institute of Mechanics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences which we are to fill up with content in 2020. We commenced work for the organization and conduct of a competition for pupils on the subject-matter “Theoretical mechanics related applied developments” and a subsequent summer school for pupils and teachers.“
The working out of the task for the development of innovations in all the activities becomes of greater and greater significance. It is related to new thinking and a new type of training. We should instil this innovation as early as from children’s age and we all know that this could not happen without its commencement at school and development through activities in the training process and out-of-class activities. We are convinced that we should restore and develop the former Bulgarian experience of TSCWY /Technical and Scientific Creative Work of Youth/ in the new conditions. We encounter support from a lot of organizations and personalities. They are one-way also with those of the Ministry of Education and Science and we are sure that we will find assistance and support in them as well.
We ourselves as an organization participated in: the exhibition ”Education and Career”; Information Day dedicated to the new directions of the high technologies in Bulgaria; Spring Festival of Science; the exhibition ”Education and Career”, workshop for presentation and discussion of National Programme “Training for IT career”; exhibition ”Educational products for a smart city”; Forum “Working place of the future“; exhibition ”Education without frontiers’ 2019“ and so on.
A part of our policies is directed at the activation and rendering assistance to the creative activities in the universities. Further to the great deal of initiatives in Plovdiv University, we continue our work within the framework of the contracts with the Faculty of Industial Technolgy and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Technical University – Sofia. During the month of November 2019 jointly with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Technical University – Sofia we held the Third Youth Scientific Conference “Machines, Innovations, Technologies – МIТ’2019“. 31 young scientists, doctoral candidates and students participated in it with a total of 29 reports in directions such as: innovative products and technologies in the sphere of machine-building; ergonomy and industrial design; engineering logistics, construction and eco technology; industrial robots; materials and methods for testing; mechatronics; automation in engineering design and production; metrology and quality assurance; technical legislation and standardization; management and information processing management systems. Representatives from other engineering universities also got involved in this conference. We started up National Compeition “Physics – Engineering – Technologies” in Plovdiv as an independent manifestation and continued our joint work for the organization and the conduct of the National Students’ Scientific Conference of Physics and Engineering Technologies. 50 reports by 52 participants from a total of 14 institutes and educational institutions from all over the country and abroad were presented at its eighth edition.
We were amongst the co-organizers of the National Students’ Olympiad of Mathematics for the consecutive year. 90 students from 12 higher schools participated in it. The policy we pursue amongst the young people and predominantly amongst our scholarship holders is to encourage their participation in projects also of our permanent partners, and that some of them should be organizers, along with us, of manifestations amongst pupils as well. During last year we got actively involved in the information campaigns and the nominations for the consecutive edition of the competition for the award of the prize “John Atanasoff” of the President Rumen Radev. We are proud that our scholarship holder of many years Svilen Kanchev – PhD of computer sciences from Harvard was honoured with the big prize “John Atanasoff”, who at present works as a senior software engineer in Google. Other our former scholarship holders also found their place amongst the honoured ones for the consecutive year.
We continue not only to organize but also to support the conduct of scientific events for young scientists and specialists. Jointly with the National Association ”Ecological Engineering and Preservation of Environment” during the month of June in Burgas we organized Youth Scientific Session within the framework of the Sixth International Conference ”Ecological Engineering and Preservation of Environment“ – EEPE’2019. 65 scientific reports and posters were presented at it. Reports of particular interest were delivered by the young scientists in the sphere of the ecological biotechnologies, the space technologies for monitoring and preservation of environment, human beings and biosphere. Representatives from ten countries took part in the international conference, too.
Jointly with the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Center of Phytochemistry of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences we participated for the third consecutive year in the organization of a Youth School for young scientists, doctoral candidates, students and pupils within the framework of the Third International Conference of bio-antioxidants on the subject-matter “Natural bio-antioxidants – as inspiration for the nutritional chemistry and pharmacy“. 112 participants, of whom 42 young scientists from 11 countries got involved in it.
In 2019 jointly with a Territorial Organization of the Scientific Technical Unions in Plovdiv we finalized a two-year project for conduct of Youth Forum “Science, technologies, innovations, business”. Over 80 students, doctoral candidates, young lecturers from higher schools, young specialists from the practice and scientific managers took part in it. Scientific developments in the sphere of transport, machine-building, electrical engineering, energetics, information technologies, agriculture, food technologies, the business and the entrepreneurship were presented. 55 reports were delivered within the framework of the youth forum.
During the reporting year we got involved in the organization of the tenth edition of Exhibition for inventions, transfer and innovations “ITI’2019“. In the course of the years it got ratified as a very beneficial meeting of inventors, scientific workers, entrepreneurs, innovation mediators, manufacturers and patent specialists – all of them directing their effrots at the development and the prosperity of their activity on the grounds of creative work, innovations and efficient use of the industrial property. The technological innovations are assisted through this project and cooperation is rendered for the creation of favourable conditions for the development of new ideas and technologies, for the origination of environment in which the companies could perceive them more easily; aimed at the realization of an intensive dialogue between the science, the industry and the society; attracting the attention of the media to the innovations, the establishment of contacts between innovators and entrepreneurs; arousing interest in the innovations on the part of the Bulgarian business; instilling innovativity spirit in the young people.
The contests for prize ”Evrika“ for achievements in the science, for young manager, inventor and farmer continue to be of the greatest significance amongst the multitude of manifestations and initiatives. They have a history of over thirty years. They obtained public recognition long ago. We have good results in the organization thanks to the appropriate partners we found and joined to this activity.
Our interaction with the organizers from Partners Expo LTD, who are the main organizer of the International Exhibition ”Apiculture“, is also good. We have a common contest for young apiarist, which constitutes a stage of the big competition for a young farmer.
The prizes of a lot of young Bulgarian scientists and specialists of value were awarded for the consecutive time over the past year. We presented them at the festival for the award of the prizes and this is why we will mention only a part of their acievements in the report. For year 2019 the prizes ”Evrika” were awarded to: for achievements in science to Ivanka Petrova-Doycheva from the Institute of Mechanics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, for young inventor to Nikolay Stoimenov from the Institute of Information and Communication Technologes, for young manager to Darin Madzharov – creator and manager of platform “I Learn” and for young farmer to Ivan Ivanov from the town of Isperih;
We used the party for the award of the annual prizes Evrika also to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Foundation. At the award of the prizes to the honoured young specialists Iliyana Yotova – Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria emphasized: “For 30 years the inspirers, the driving powers and the allies of Foudation Evrika have not given up their mission regardless of the difficulties, irrespective of the challenges before the civil sector in Bulgaria. For 30 years Evrika has supported talented children and young people in the sphere of science, technology and entrepreneurship, encouraged their training and specialization, supported the youth international scientific and technical cooperation“.
We strive to be of use to the young people with the provision of consultations by highly specialized specialists on problems of protection of intellectual property, on some legal issues for the organization and the functioning of the companies and the non-governmental organizations, on the possibilities for use of the new equipment and computer technologies of even fuller value. Over 130 gratuitous consultations were provided in the cabinet for protection of intellectual property only over the past year. Our consultants granted gratuitous assistance in the sphere of intellectual property to the participants in the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which was held during the month of September in Sofia.
We continue to maintain and use the site of the Foundation to inform about events and contests. We also made a page in Facebook which is a favorite place for young people. We maintain excellent contacts with specialized media. We should pay tribute to a long-term media project with the National Radio – Hristo Botev Programme. It is directed at pupils, students, specialists, scientists and so on, who will obtain possibility to tell about themselves and their scientific achievements on national airwaves.
- For rendering assistance to the dissemination of natural science, technical and economic knowledge and information
A part of the goals and the tasks of the Foundation is related to the dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge and is amongst the main ones in Programme ”Information, editions, events“. Through the initiatives and the projects of the Foundation in this Programme we diversify the ways and the approaches for mastering knowledge with various forms and means. They supplement the ordinary content in the lesson and enrich it with new forms and approaches without losing the good of the traditional such. Those which allow for the use of the new technologies for visualization and the particularly interactive means are perceived with special interest. We have possibilities to organize also target research contests and to incite the children to study the Bulgarian contributions in the national and global science and technology on these grounds. We established that they know very little about personalities who contributed to the development of the technique and technology on global scale. The place to present also the evolutions of the professions and their changes in the new modern conditions is namely there. Our rendering assistance to showing the new characteristics of professions related to the digitalization and the entry of the new technologies as an irreversible feature of the future specialists would be of use. We may probably seek this also as a part of the contests we organize, seeing things in a new manner as ideas but broken through the prism of constructors, models and facilities when we speak about flying, the Space and in all the spheres where the realization of the present children, future specialists and executive staff is forthcoming. More ideas may also be realized with the help of newspaper “Technitarche”. It is a children’s museum edition with technical orientation, which serves for the popularization of the history and the development of the Bulgarian and global science, technique and technology, acquaints the little readers with the Bulgarian and global cultural heritage, instilling love for science and technology in them and informing them about the Bulgarian contribution in the science, technique and technology, as well as about little known curious facts from their development. The newspaper has been issued for a lot of years on end now with our support and we are of the opinion that it is useful and of interest for the younger age group. 6 issues were published in 2019, thematic or of mixed nature, directed at children with various interests in the sphere of science, technique and technology. The issues are dedicated to events from the history of science and technology and jubilees related to names from the world and the Bulgarian science and technology, which gave impetus to their development.
This activity of ours for popularization of science, technique and technology is successfully supplemented by magazine “Science” and the column in it “Tribune of the Young” supported by us. It provides young people with possibility to publish on the pages of this scientific edition of authority, entered into the National Reference List of modern Bulgarian scientific editions with scientific review. The column also provides tribune for the standpoints of young scientists and students on important issues related to the Bulgarian science, the higher education and the innovations. Magazine “Science” is one of the very few editions which opened their doors for publications of young scientists and their manifestations. The following were published in magazine “Science” in 2019: 6 scientific publications of young scientists, students and doctoral candidates who expressed themselves in activities of the Foundation; 11 pieces of information about youth scientific conferences, contests and projects with the participation of the Foundation; 3 essays from the contest for scholarships by names and two essays from the competition of Evrika Foundation dedicated to Space; 12 other articles of pupils, students, teachers, lecturers and scientific managers who took part in the contests organized by us.
- Participation in international educational, natural science and technical programmes and projects and international youth scientific-technical cooperation.
Our international contacts and projects constitute a part of the activities which persons undergoing training are interested in. Whilst students and specialists get self-organized and find individual manifestation, the pupils need more support and cooperation. The partnership with organizations from other countries helps us to a certain degree for this as well as our membership in such which are international and they themselves organize scientific technical activities for children and pupils. MILSET is the biggest of them, whose member we have been for 28 years now. More than 100 countries are represented in it. It is also natural that our contacts within the framework of MILSET – Europe are the closest and the most fruitful. Activities are concentrated in it, which are also supported by the functioning programmes and funds of the EU and this allows for the organization of more projects and initiatives. We continue to be the only Bulgarian organization in it. We have good reputation and have been hosts and organizers of various activities. In 2019 by a resolution of MILSET – Europe we were the hosts of the annual Assembly in Sofia. Important decisions were made at it related to the further successful functioning of the organization as well as specific such as events during the next year. Suceava in Romania was ratified as host of the consecutive European Exhibition of Sciences ESE’2020, as well as a decision that the European Science Day for Youth should be held on 12 March 2020 and that its subject-matter should be “Colors”. Again over the past year we organized the participation of awarded students’ projects from Bulgaria.
This year the World Youth Scientific Exhibition ESI’2019 was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The conduct of science exhibitions is always related to the creation of friendships and enrichment of the personality culture and attitude of the various countries. All the participants presented the results of their researches under equal conditions and exhibited models in kind, posters, tabular models, audio-video materials, pictures and so on. Our representatives had the possibility to demonstrate their projects, to exchange ideas with their coevals for future activities, to discuss experience and practices in the promotion of STEM and to create connections for future joint research work. As we have already informed, MILSET and MILSET – Europe have a rich annual programme of various events. In conformity with our possibilities we will try to popularize it in due time in schools and to help, when needed, for sending Bulgarian representatives at such events. And here again is the place for us insistently to seek a solution for better coordination of the activities in our country, which normally could happen if we succeed jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science in building up a network of clubs and youth associations for science and technology.
Everywhere where we managed to send our representatives, the young people returned with prizes. Our four participants in the the World Scientific Exhibition ESI-2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE and the three pupils who participated in the International Congress of Young Researchers in Zaragoza, Spain were awarded Diplomas of Honor in 2019. And a little information about the latest international event which is a form of manifestation of the bilateral cooperation with the Young Researchers Association from Aragon. Over the past year we sent Bulgarian participants to the XXVIII International Congress of Young Researchers in Zaragoza, Spain. The hosts from the Young Researchers Association from Aragon organized presentation and defense of projects of young people in the sphere of science and technology with working languages for pupils, Spanish and English. Here we also managed to cope well because we have a manifestation of the language schools from Sofia and so the best combination of superb projects and excellent knowledge of foreign languages was possible. This is why the Bulgarian participation was highly appreciated for the sixteenth consecutive time. Further to with the serious research projects presented in a brilliant manner, the Bulgarian pupils impressed the participants from Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Spain with their marvellous presentation for Bulgaria at the international evening. At declaring the Congress closed, they received certificates for excellent presentation and were congratulated in person by the new Mayor of the city.
An annual Science Day at school was also held over the past year. This time the subject-matter was the “Waves”. The fifteenth European Science Day for Youth was held on 14 March 2019. Thematic activities without any strict rules and meaningful limitations but united by a common topic are carried out on this day in clubs and schools in the various European countries. The organization of the event is such that everything is decentralized and and we are not in a position to present specific facts about what happened in the clubs and the schools on this day.
A scientific photo competition “When Art Meets Science” was also held for the thirteenth consecutive time, which in its essence represents synthesis of science and art. There were Bulgarian participants in it, too, but there were no such amongst the prize awarded ones as it happened in previous editions of the contest when we won the big prize twice.
We very much wanted to manage to provide the students also with possibility for international manifestation. We tried to be of use to our scholarship holders and other students and doctoral candidates from the sphere of biology for participation with a scientific development in an international contest in Portugal. At the moment we are working on an interesting proposal for potential partnership directed at technological education with Global Company Fin Tech FactSet, which we hope to succeed in finalizing in 2020. We were invited to apply for the international scientific prizes “Venus“ – VIRA’2019.
All these manifestations could be even more in number but we should find appropriate solutions for their financial provision. More time for preparation and application is needed for the European projects and the invitations impose acting within the framework of a month or two. When this allows for possible planning, support could be sought from national youth programmes or other sponsors ready to render support to the talent of the young people. At least for the time being there is no possibility for us to provide for their participation from our funds and programmes.
5. About some activities related with our non-profit goals and the role of our organization in the development of cooperation with other organizations and institutions in our country.
In 2019 we maintained our traditional cooperation with different organizations and institutions, some of which we already mentioned in the above sections of the present Report.
For years we have been following policy of finding partners for the realization of our common goals, aimed at discovering and developing of talents in science and technology and their relating with the necessities of the new age and the development of our country.
We need to look quite often for support and assistance from the governmental institutions, mostly the Ministry of science and education, as our closest relation is with the latter. During the year we disposed of their assistance, though this does not mean we have exhausted all existing possibilities. Our assertion has always been, they had a good beginning in the out-of-class activities, but we have also insisted that some following steps should be made. The word goes that closing of this activity only in the school without searching for possibility to establish a network of club and school activities in science and technology is not enough. The personal development centers have difficulties in finding capabilities for development namely in the STEM spheres. Probably this is a consequence from the insufficient material base for such type of activities. Even speaking about technologies in them is rear, though the future is connected with them. Our idea and proposal are for the establishment of a public-governmental body, possessing expert potential to discuss and propose activities and actions for implementation of such policy.
The establishment of a network of clubs and formations is one of the options to that end. It would be useful to unite all efforts at a national and local level of associations of economic and scientific structures on a branch principle, and associate with them, according to their self-definition, some non-governmental organizations. Such associations would keep place for everybody, providing possibilities for more successful decision making, to create conditions for such type of activities amongst students and children and to attract universities in the preparation of tutors for such out-of-class activities, and the last but not least – to engage parents. In such manner the school managerial boards could become even more useful and operational, and not just act as a tool for recruitment of funds. We would like to remind that in our long practice we have gained experience namely in the parallel training of club management bodies and club managers, and it proves very efficient. We have also obtained assertion from university boards and individual lecturers that they are also ready for similar cooperation. In identical activities the scientists have also proven some good practices; such is the case with the students’ Institute of mathematics and informatics. Other structures of the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS) and its institutes are also engaged in a similar initiative. The summarization and dissemination of good practices from such activities would be very useful and is requested. The coordination between the activities and their organizers and performers will make them even more efficient. We are ready to undertake responsibilities for the elaboration of a concept design and to organize the first steps. Probably this may be done by joining our efforts with the National Palace of Children. Out long mutual activity makes us believe that this structure may be engaged once again in the development of concepts and plans, to engage itself with training and turn itself into an acting methodological unit. With their support we might look for the forms to attract the attention of the youngest children in the kindergartens where forthcoming is the increase not only of the number of children, but also finding meaningful changes in the education and sophistication of children.
As to the events and activities in the universities, again on the base of our gathered experience, it worth joining ourselves with the students’ councils.
An existing option is the even more thorough utilization of the good disposition of the rector’s and dean’s councils towards our activity, to gain their support for our intentions to achieve higher results from the scientific and research activity of students and young scholars, as well as to fill certain gaps in their training, such as the protection of the intellectual property rights on the developed projects and diploma theses, the preparation of publications etc., which would become a way to further engaging in scientific and research activity.
We should also address the business from more directions. It is not only a subject of donor’s acts, but should also combine the necessities for preparation of personnel from a new type. Digitalization will enlarge its scale and the new technologies will request another type of staff, different training and behavior. Our experience with some of the faculties of the Technical University and our mutual work showed that through supporting students’ undertakings we may become a bridge for contacts between all of them. It would be possible, upon the existence of an interest on the part of companies with relatively small engineering potential, to organize competitions and thus join activities with the scientific-technical unions.
Anyway, we should confess that without the participation of the business our scholarship program will be hardly implemented. In this connection exemplary are some machine building companies, and most of all “M+C Hydraulic” AD, the town of Kazanlak, which has been acting as our donor for many years, mainly providing scholarship grants to students from the secondary and higher schools. The gathered experience should be utilized by creating conditions for the preparation of personnel in new specialties, as is the case with the professional Gymnasium in electric equipment and automation in Sofia.
Speaking about necessary and useful partnerships, we should pay the appropriate attention to the cooperation with the non-governmental organizations. Such are the Union of Scholars in Bulgaria, the Union of Mathematicians in Bulgaria, the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria, FNTS and the collective members thereof, the National Network of Children, associations and foundations.
Even more active could be the agreement forming the base of our joint initiatives with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria. Especially during the last year BAS showed serious intensification of its activities at schools. They have looked for us as consultants on such activities, thanks to the prestige gained on our part in our common work. They had also expressed their readiness for joint work through the Head of the school educational program, Acad. Kenderov.
We have also been cooperating for long with the Federation of the Scientific-Technical Unions. We used to join together more and more frequently as co-organizers of events for students and young scholars and specialists. Probably they will become a partner of ours in the performance of the competition for young inventors for the “Evrika” prize.
We should give a good assessment to our participation in the work of the Bulgarian Donor’s Forum and the National Network of Children, in which we have been a full-right member for many years. We partake in some of the organized campaigns and competitions, such as “I am hope” dedicated to the European Day of foundations and donors, the edition “Golden Apple”, etc.
We should be glad of our good contacts with the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria. We rely on them when searching for contacts and interaction between us and the representatives of the business. The connection with organizations and companies related with the new technologies and the preparation of personnel become more and more important for us. Such is the content of our joint work with companies, institutes and universities in the Cluster “Sofia – city of knowledge” – a voluntary union of leading scientific, development and training organizations and companies from Sofia, interested in joint activity and long-term cooperation in the knowledge based economy. Mostly these are organizations working in the sphere of information technologies, the creative and recreative industries. Through the Cluster we partook, though symbolically, in the 7th Exhibition for south-eastern Europe “Smart cities” which is a part from the implementation of a project after OP “Innovations and competitiveness”. The future plans in this large-scale union are connected with the economy based on knowledge and skills, the intentions are for broader linking with the progress of technologies and innovations, as incorporated in the national and European documents: the National Strategy on the development of the scientific research works 2012 – 2020; the Innovation Strategy for intelligent specialization 2020; the Strategy for intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth EUROPE 2020, and the new European Program for science and innovations “Horizon Europe”. All these directly correspond to the major goals of our national policy, as well as the goals and tasks of “Evrika” Foundation on gaining knowledge in conformity with the requirements of the new age and the development of technics, technologies and innovations.
We have already described the major achievements, initiatives and activities we have been performing together with the mass media; we are only summarizing them here, in order to express our satisfaction and gratitude to some of them. With their active assistance we managed to exercise influence on the public opinion and achieve high assessments. Our contacts are long-term and are an element from our joint work with the organizations that have issued them.
We should like to express once again our high evaluation, in our favor, for “Az buki” newspaper, “”Science” magazine, etc. Through “Az buki” newspaper we have reached every school and university, the teachers and managers from the club forms. During the last years the newspaper is still acting as our media partner in the competition “The cosmos – the present and future of mankind”. In general, this is the mass media reflecting in the most competent and thorough manner our activity.
Side by side with it we rank the joint activity and the achievements from our joint efforts with “Science” magazine. A gain from this partnership is the column “Youths’ tribune”, published for many years. The magazine has been issuing materials about the Foundation and its activity, the winners in the competitions for the “Evrika” prizes, paying special respect and recognition for the achievements of the young scholars, but also materials about the scholarships, a part of which bear the names of famous Bulgarian scientists. As it is one of the few specialized Bulgarian editions, we owe to its publisher the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria gratitude for the possibility to publish articles of young scholars and students, so that more colleagues of theirs can learn about their achievements in research work. We are thankful to them for providing us possibility to popularize projects and results thereof, individual events with the winners in competitions and tenders. We are expressing hereby our readiness to continue our fruitful cooperation in the name of children and youths and to popularize the new heroes of our age through their achievements.
The annual report of “Evrika” Foundation proves the stable condition and increasing capabilities for the implementation of the Foundation’s mission, for which it was established thirty years ago. The new priorities are imposed as a consequence from the development of technics and technologies and the constantly increasing necessity for searching of a sphere of display in the STEM areas. The arrangement regulating documents, applicable at the time being, allow some changes, as imposed by the ever altering time. These are not an obstacle to undertaking of initiatives and projects servicing the new needs of the young people and their organizations and their bringing in line with the requirements of today and the future. Thus we shall be necessary, needed, useful and respected by the society.