EUREKA FOUNDATION ACTIVITY REPORT 2022

 

The right decisions for the development of an organization shall be made following the objective assessment of what has been achieved and the results of its business activity. To the most significant extent, that would allow for guidelines to be outlined and for planned actions to be undertaken, for plans and amendment programs to be carried out to correspond to the changes that have occurred in the respective conditions and the new approaches required.

We have followed our constant goals and objectives, yet we have implemented them under new circumstances and with the possible means and approaches. We strived to preserve the good pattern and to follow those goals and objectives, identified by the Foundation Board as significant and important for the future.

  1. For the implementation of the foundation’s ideal goals

             In 2022, we continued the good traditions of the organization. In this 2022 report, we continue to increase the volume and substance of our story.

  1. In order for the younger generation to acquire natural and scientific, technical and economic knowledge, skills and culture, supporting the training and qualification of young people with outstanding abilities in the field of natural sciences, technology and management.

We try to find the correct and accurate assessment of what we call genuine interests and their direction to the new professions, to the mastering of knowledge and skills with application in new technologies in production through wide digitalization and the application of this knowledge in developing new products, to the construction and creation of products, which are the result of their application in practice, their gradual change and the widespread entry of digitization and computer technologies, leading to an increase in the productivity and competitiveness of Bulgarian products.

The state has done a lot recently for the introduction of more technology and the involvement of teachers in this responsible activity. The STEM Programme (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education) has provided funds for each school to have at least one STEM classroom that students can access, and soon these classrooms will become more and better equipped. Some of our successful projects have become part of this large-scale activity, bringing STEM models into schools. Our participation in the STEM Programme in schools and universities has become part of our support for learners.

We are scaling up our traditional financial support activity by providing different scholarships. The experience we have gained over the years has been helpful even in these difficult times to overcome the difficulties caused by the Covid crises, the wars, the division of society, etc. Some trends among the scholarship campaign came to light during the campaign’s analysis and the assessment of its participants. We should note that the main issue that clearly affected the level of preparation of students in the last two years was online learning at universities. During the scholarship competitions, a visible decline in the preparation of those participating in the competition was evident, also among the traditionally excellent students. We had a hard time finding the best even in specialties such as architecture, civil engineering, agricultural sciences and veterinary medicine, where previous years had demonstrated extremely strong competition. In a certain sense, this could certainly be explained by the remote learning imposed by the pandemic, which could not replace live communication and mobilized efforts.

However, there are still students of high capacity and lasting interests who will continue to be the most sought after, also for their knowledge that is not inferior to the knowledge of their colleagues in the world’s most prestigious universities and in specialties such as medicine, biology, chemistry and the resulting difficulties come from the combination of conditions in which these young people have worked and still work, as well as the increased demands of evaluators.

Another motivating fact was that the Chairman of the Council of Evrika Foundation –  Academician Boyanov made a personal donation for a scholarship. His father, Dr. Lyuben Boyanov, laid the foundation for the construction of the outpatient clinic (the Polyclinic) in the Students’ Town.  In memory of Academician Blagovest Sendov, a true Bulgarian scientist, a visionary and a successful leader and reformer, advocate for the development of education, also a public figure, a statesman and a patriot, the Council of the Evrika Foundation established a new named scholarship for achievements in the field of computational mathematics and mathematical modelling. The new named scholarship holders were chosen through an open and public competition, following the principles of equality and transparency and in accordance with our General Terms and Conditions. We have involved university leaders and student organizations to participate in the projects of our campaign. Our former grantees also played an important role in our information campaign.

Along with the traditionally large number of applicants from the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski, the Medical University of Sofia, the University of Architecture, Construction and Geodetics, the University of National and World Economy and the Plovdiv University of Paisiy Hilendarski, we have noticed an increase in interest and the number of applying students from the National University of V. Levski, Faculty of Artillery, Air Defence and CIS in the town of Shumen, the Georgi Benkovski Bulgarian Air-Force Academy of Dolna Mitropolia, the Medical University
of Varna, the Varna Naval Academy of Nikola Y. Vaptsarov, the Ruse University of Angel Kanchev, the Agricultural University of Plovdiv, the Medical University of Plovdiv, the Burgas Free University, the Varna University of Economy, the Neofit Rilski South-Western University of Blagoevgrad, ‘Episkop Konstantin Preslavski’ University of Shumen, the Assen Zlatarov University of Burgas and the Trakia University of Stara Zagora. As a negative feature, we must recognize the absence of sufficient, quality applicants from the Technical University of Sofia. Probably some of the reasons lie in the fact that that companies want to have personal contacts with students in order to engage them in internships while still at university. They are willing to offer them larger scholarships directly.

In 2022, the tradition of high school mathematics, informatics, physics, chemistry and biology teams winning medals and honours in prestigious Olympiads and competitions was preserved. In the 63rd International Mathematics Olympiad, Bulgarian high school students won 5 medals and one certificate of honour in a competition with 606 competitors from 101 countries.

The best Bulgarian computer scientists made a strong performance and won 4 medals from the most prestigious tournament of the year – the International Olympiad in Informatics. One of the leaders of the Bulgarian teams Iliyan Yordanov was the current winner of the named scholarship “Academician Blagovest Sendov” of the Evrika Foundation.

The presentation of the Bulgarian participants in the International Physics Olympiad was excellent, and our potential scholarship recipients were chosen there again. They were the ones to win 1 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals. This was Bulgaria’s strongest performance since the Olympics and our first gold since 2013. The golden award was won by the scholarship recipient of the Evrika Foundation Alexander Prodanov – already a student at the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski.

The competitors in the Biology Olympiad also pleased us with high results. The gold medalist and scholarship holder of the Evrika Foundation Petar Zhotev became second in the Olympiad – the strongest performance of a Bulgarian participant in the history of the tournament. It should be noted that the competitors have already grown up and one of the leaders of the Bulgarian team is our recent scholarship holder Dr. Radoslav Alexandrov from the Institute of Molecular Biology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

The performance of the Bulgarian participants in the International Chemistry Olympiad was also very strong – they won 4 medals.

The Bulgarian participants in the European competition for young scientists EUCYS’2022 in Leiden, Netherlands performed extremely well. This was the 33rd edition of the competition, created on the initiative of the European Commission and aiming to recognize the best student scientific projects. Our scholarship holder Petar Zotev presented himself in the field of biology with a project to test a new technology for use in animal husbandry, which will allow the sex of animals to be selected in advance. A Bulgarian team, composed of high school students in physics, chemistry and biology, became the absolute champion and won the gold medals in the Xth International Tournament of Young Naturalists (IYNT). Bulgaria’s second team also performed strongly and won bronze medals. Our native students competed with over 100 participants from over 10 countries in the month of August 2022 in Georgia. Bulgarian students Radostin Cholakov from the Plovdiv School of Mathematics and Iliyas Noman from the Sofia School of Mathematics received two of the special awards in the largest competition for high school students related to science and engineering in the world – Renegeron International Science and Engineering Fair. Our scholarship recipient Iliyas Noman, who had to appear at the competition without a break after participating in the Balkaniad in Mathematics, received a scholarship to study at the UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA in the amount of $10,000 per year. Our former scholarship holder Martin Kopchev won the CodelT’2022 international programming competition. His runner-up was Andon Todorov, also our scholarship recipient.

The balance sheet for the academic year 2022/2023 shows that the Evrika Foundation has 42 scholarship recipients, of which: 16 were awarded with named scholarships; 1 is the recipient of the scholarship “Academician Alexander Teodorov – Balan” by targeted donation; 1 scholarship winner also under a targeted donation for a medical student; 4 students and pupils, winners of gold medals from international high school Olympiads; 10 students and pupils, winners of silver medals from international high school Olympiads; 10 students and pupils, winners of bronze medals from international high school Olympiads. The distribution of scholarships by universities and schools is as follows: 10 of them are representatives of the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski; 7 of the Medical University of Sofia; 3 of the National University of V. Levski, Faculty of Artillery, Air Defence and CIS in the town of Shoumen, 2 of the Georgi Benkovski Aviation Academy of Dolna Mitropolia, the Paisiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv and 1 each with the Medical University of Plovdiv, the University of National and World Economy of Sofia, the Varna University of Economy, ‘Episkop Konstantin Preslavski’ University of Shoumen, Angel Kanchev University of Ruse, the Sofia University of Forestry. Scholarship holders of the foundation are also students, laureates of international Olympiads, who study at the Sofia School of Mathematics Paisiy Hilendarski, the Geo Milev Pleven School of Mathematics, the Dr. Petar Beron Varna School of Mathematics, the Sofia National School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Silistra School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

For twenty-two years already, another successful project of ours, which is the Student Institute of Mathematics and Informatics (SIMI/UchIMI) continues to act in the direction of discovering and encouraging the creative scientific talent and potential of Bulgarian students in the field of mathematics, informatics and information technologies. In 2022, SIMI/UchIMI successfully held its traditional sessions – the Student Conference and Student Section at the Spring Conference of the Union of Mathematicians in Bulgaria, as well as a summer research school with international participation.

The twenty-second student conference (SC’22) of SIMI was held on January 21 and 22, 2022. 47 students presented 40 projects – 27 projects in Informatics and IT and 13 in Mathematics. The authors of the best-ranked developments received:

  • invitations to participate in the interview to determine the Bulgarian participation in RSI’22 (on the condition they were not students in the 12th grade);
  • invitation to participate in the student section of the 51st Spring Conference of the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians (UBM) (April 5 to April 8, 2022) in the town of Tryavna.

The 2022 Student Conference (SC’22) was the first competition session of SIMI for the academic year. Students from grades 8 to 12 from all schools in the country take part in it. Students develop projects in mathematics, informatics and information technology on topics of their choice, individually or in co-authorship, independently or under the guidance of a supervisor or a consultant. In the field of mathematics, Angel Raychev from the 125 Secondary School (SU) “Boyan Penev” of Sofia received an honorary certificate for excellent performance. Certificates for excellent performance and a medal were awarded to 5 projects of students from the School of Mathematics in the name of Academician Kiril Popov in the city of Plovdiv; the American College of Sofia; the Sofia School of Mathematics P. Hilendarski and the Geo Milev School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the town of Stara Zagora. Pavlin Panov from the Ivan Vazov School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the town of Dobrich received a special award for scientific and applied development. 7 projects were awarded certificates for very good performance. In the field of informatics and IT, Hristo Todorov from the the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics ‘Prof. Emanuil Ivanov’ in the town of Kyustendil for the project “Investigating the interpretability of models from the field of machine learning through DNA sequence analysis”. Certificates of excellent performance and a medal were awarded to 12 projects. Several special prizes were also awarded at the 2022 Student Conference (SC’22), by partners and friends of SIMI: The International Forum Secure Digital Future awards – two certificates for excellent performance of students from the Language School of Hristo Botev in the town of Kardzhali and the Sofia School of Mathematics ‘P. Hilendarski’; two project mentor diplomas from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics ‘Prof. Emanuil Ivanov’ in the town of Kyustendil and the Sofia School of Mathematics ‘P. Hilendarski’.

The student section /SS’22/ of SIMI was held from April 5 to 8, 2022 in the town of Tryavna within the framework of the 51st Spring Conference of the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians (UBM). Students from the 8th to 12th grade participated with projects / abstracts / in mathematics, informatics and information technologies on topics chosen by them, individually or in co-authorship, independently or under the guidance of a scientific supervisor or consultant. Authors of the top-ranked SS’22 non-12th grade papers have been invited to participate in the 22nd Summer Research School with International Participation from July 24 to August 13, 2022. 9 projects were awarded in the SS’22 Mathematics stream with certificates for excellent performance and a medal. Special awards were also given to 5 more projects. The Plovdiv University of Paisiy Hilendarski officially recognized excellent competitive grades when applying to the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics for the 2022/2023 school year of twelfth graders: with excellent performance (6.00) and with a special award (5.80). Certificates for excellent performance and innovative developments from the International Expert Forum “SECURE DIGITAL FUTURE” were awarded and handed over to 5 more projects at SS’22.

From April 7 to April 11, 2022, the 28th ICYS –  the International Conference for Young Scientists was held with its virtual host – the city of Belgrade in Serbia. Bulgaria traditionally participated with two developments – one each in the fields of mathematics and computer science. The first was presented by the ninth-grader Demira Nedeva from the School of Mathematics ‘Academician Kiril Popov’ in Plovdiv, and Anastasia Ludmilova and Deyan Hadzhi-Manich from the Dr. Petar Beron Varna School of Mathematics presented a computer science project. The two projects were selected for participation by SIMI. Among the competition of a total of 90 participants from 15 countries, our participants performed excellently and won bronze medals and also silver medals in the separate short presentation of the poster projects competition.

A jury selected the Bulgarian students to participate in the International Summer Research Programme (RSI) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) following a final interview. These were Radostin Cholakov from the School of Mathematics ‘Academician Kiril Popov’ in Plovdiv and Deyan Hadzhi-Manich from the Dr. Petar Beron Varna School of Mathematics.

The 22nd Summer Research School (SRS’22) was held from July 24 to August 13, 2022 in the city of Varna. It is a research school for talented students with strong interest in mathematics, informatics and information technology. The school combines best practices from leading middle school student research programs, as the RSI, with the unique opportunity of a dynamic learning environment. The students work with scientific supervisors /mentors/ who are usually BAS scientists, former graduates of SIMI – students in mathematics and informatics at some of the best universities in the world. The Programme includes lectures on current scientific problems and modern technologies, meetings with representatives of the sector and various academic institutions, discussions on important issues such as ethics in science, responsible research and innovation.

The large-scale investments for education, which are planned under the Recovery and Development Plan, are expected to take place by 2026 and Bulgaria will receive over BGN 480 million for the construction of a new generation  comprehensive STEM educational environment in Bulgarian schools. This will allow to build a STEM office or center, which may be in the form of laboratories, high-tech classrooms, workshops, scientific centres in each of the 2,240 educational institutions in our country.

Despite some delay caused by the Covid Pandemic, we managed to hold the sixth edition of the competition-exhibition “Youth Technical Creativity” hosted by the city of Gorna Oryahovitsa. Over 40 school and student teams from the country presented their scientific developments. More than 190 young people participated. The exhibition was competitive and included teams from vocational high schools, technical universities, innovative companies and individual participants. Developments in the field of electronics, electrical engineering, software and mechatronics were shown.

In 2022, our joint work with the National Polytechnic Museum continued on the implementation of the “ROBOTICS ACADEMY – Legotech” project. As a result of the activities conducted and the feedback from the participants and their parents, we can summarize that the goals set in the Programme  have been successfully fulfilled. The Robotics courses gave children an additional opportunity to experiment and develop the ability to step-by-step issue solving and analysis, to think logically and analytically, learning fundamentals in programming. The experience from our joint activity with the National Polytechnical Museum was very successful as transferred to our work with the Exemplary People’s Community Centre Zarya-1858 in the town of Haskovo, where we created the “Valegotech” club and for a year now have successfully been implementing the project “I need knowledge to enable me”. An information partnership model was created between Vale Computer School and primary schools in the region, with the aim of new technologies providing children with skills and motivation to turn learning into a lifelong activity. Actively working to train students through the new art of “Digital Graphics and Painting” to develop key skills such as: creative thinking; critical analysis; teamwork; initiative; communication; mathematical literacy.

For another year, along with the Haskovo Municipality, the Exemplary People’s Community Centre Zarya-1858 and the Vale Computer School, we held the Thirteenth International Computer Drawing and Collage Competition “Creativity Without Borders” – Haskovo’2022. We are grateful for the support of European Commissioner  Maria Gabriel for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. 343 computer drawings, 296 collages and 105 works of young people from abroad were presented and evaluated. This international competition was included in the map of the European Year of Youth 2022.

We strive to be useful and to propose and participate with good projects in the National Plan for performances in the interests of children and students. A total of 85 competitions, festivals and other forums were included in the National Calendar for the academic year 2022/2023. Of those, one international and 36 national events were recorded in the “Science and Technologies” Section.

In the report, we have presented information on a number of good examples of long-term and effective joint work with universities, non-governmental organizations, business organizations and other institutions in the interest of talented and inquisitive young people.

 

  1. To stimulate youth scientific and technical research, invention and other innovative activities.

 

Stimulating creativity continues to be among our priority goals. To the greatest extent it is the result of work well-done and impact for the formation of interests and the processes of preparation and modern education, regardless of the peculiarities of the conditions.

Space as a theme continues to be an attractive territory for many children and young people. This is an activity, which is one of a few of a growing interest, along with construction with new means and constructors. We have made this conclusion on the basis of the competition, organized by us “Space – present and future of humanity”. It was its XXIV edition last year. The competition was included in the National calendar plan for extracurricular activities of the Ministry of Education and Science.   It enjoys the support of Bulgarian scientists working in the field of space exploration and exploitation. We must all give credit to the success of this competition to the personal commitment of the first Bulgarian cosmonaut General Georgi Ivanov. We are positive he acts as a magnet for children just by his presence and the fascinating stories of what happened in the preparation and execution of his flight. To his stories we must add Associate Professor Tanya Ivanova, from whom the participants in this competition learned about the achievements of Bulgarian science, about some new experiments and specific achievements of Bulgarian space science. As the president of the jury, she even used the defences to suggest ideas for the development of the projects or to direct them to even more significant objectivism, combined with new knowledge about the Cosmos and the stars.

1,559 students participated in the competition in 2022 – from 8 to 18 years old with1,540 projects in five thematic directions. The merits of the teachers, who worked all year round with the students to prepare the projects of the participants in all directions, were also extremely great. We are grateful for the help of our media partner – the newspaper “Az buki”, with the help of which we popularized the results of the competition.

After a painful two years subjected to the Covid Pandemic, we managed to return with full force to the organization and holding of an official celebration on the Day of the People’s Awakeners at the National Polytechnic Museum for the awarding of prizes to the laureates of the XXIV National Competition “Cosmos – Present and Future of humanity”. The patron of the competition, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut General Georgi Ivanov welcomed the participants in the celebration and presented the awards to the laureates and their scientific supervisors. Krassimir Stoyanov, the understudy of the second Bulgarian cosmonaut, welcomed the participants in the celebration.

Some of the competitions for the expression of student creativity in science, technics and technology were competitions that we hold along with the National Children’s Palace. Through our joint activity with the National Children’s Palace, we are successfully implementing our policy of preparing children and students in the forms of science and technology in their free time from school. The national scientific and technical performances with students from grades 5 to 7 were from June 16 to 21, 2022 in the village of Kranevo. 86 students from the Ivan Vazov Elementary School, the Debnevo village, the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski, town of Troyan, Secondary School (SU) Vassil Levski, town of Troyan, Ivan Hadzhiyski Elementary School, town of Troyan, the Elementary School in Belovo, the Pazardzhik municipality, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Kyustendil, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Sliven, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Shumen, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Krumovgrad, the Municipal Children’s Complex in the city of Plovdiv, the ‘Ivan Vazov’ Language School in the city of Plovdiv, the National Children’s Palace, the 18th Secondary School of Sofia, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Kazanlak, the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Veliko Tarnovo and the Support Centre for Personal Development in the city of Varna. For the first time, a student from the city of Bratislava, Slovakia. In the same period of the month of June 2022, the National Science and Technology Competitions with students from the 8th to 12th grade were held again in Kranevo. After the preliminary selection, 67 participants from Sevlievo, Sliven, Plovdiv, Shumen, Sofia, Krumovgrad, Varna, Troyan, Ruse, Pernik, Vratsa and Pleven were admitted to the competitions for electrical appliances; devices and communication tools, software products; business projects; chemistry; food industry; ecology; Physics and Astronomy; farming; energy efficiency. In parallel with the scientific and technical competitions, an exhibition with demonstrations of student creativity took place. Thanks to the good cooperation with the National Children’s Palace, as well as with the Bulgarian Federation of Modelling Sports, the Bulgarian Federation of Modelling Sports, the Bulgarian Federation of Aircraft Modelling, we were able to successfully organize and hold the National Student’s Modelling Competitions.

Beautiful models and attractive competitions were offered by the starts of the National School Aircraft Modelling Competition, which was held from May 12 to May 15, 2022 in the town of Lovech. 21 teams in two age groups competed in it. At the same time, again with the kind hosting of the municipality of Lovech and the Support Centre for Personal Development in the town of Lovech, the national school model rocket competitions were held. 144 children and students participated in them.

From June 5 to June 7, 2022, the national school model car and ship model competitions were held in the city of Pazardzhik. More than 102 children and students took part in them.

For another year, we supported the organization and holding of the Competition for non-standard aircraft made by students  – IKAR ‘2022, which took place within the airshow OSOGOVO in the town of Kyustendil. This is an initiative of the Municipal Children’s Complex in the town of Kyustendil and the ZODIAK Aerospace Technologies Club. Students from the 1st grade to the 12th grade from Kyustendil, Zemen, Pernik, Sofia and Sevlievo took part in the competition.

More than 400 children and students from all over the country took part in the XXXI International Ecological Forum Srebarna’2022. Within its framework, a competition for student projects on ecology and environmental protection “Silver 2022” and an International competition for drawing, essay, poem, story on the topic “Planet Earth – a priceless gift” were held. We received over 250 drawings and 80 literary works. 27 projects from 14 residential places in our country were also presented, as well as two projects from the Romanian cities of Constanta and Calarasi, Romania. The forum was dedicated to the World’s Environment Day and the Green Week.

In the month of April 2022, the final performances of the National Student Competition “Nature – Our Home” took place. More than 330 students from the 1st to the 12th grade took place, from the National Children’s Palace of Sofia, from many cities in the country, as well as two teams from abroad. The work in the long-term projects with the “Vale” Computer School of the Exemplary People’s Community Centre Zarya-1858 in the town of Haskovo and the National Polytechnic Museum is ongoing.

The common goals for the development of students’ creativity very often unite us in joint projects with the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria. Traditionally, the two organizations are co-organizers of the National Conference on Physics Education. The theme of the 50th Anniversary Conference was “Climate Change and Physics Education”. It was held in June 2022 in the city of Varna. The traditional Youth Science Session for schoolchildren and students on “Physics, Environment and Climate Change”, the National Essay Competition on “Physics, Physicists and the Environment” and the National Photo Competition “Physics and Climate” were held within the framework of the Forum. 45 projects were presented with 80 participants in two age groups from 30 schools, one observatory, the Nikola Tesla Academy of Sofia and the STEALM ACADEMY. A special brochure from the Youth Science Session was issued.

Again, for the first year, we were co-organizers of the Astroparty Varshets, along with the physicists, along with Ivan Vazov Secondary School in the town of Varshets. The event caused great interest from all over the country. We are happy to have managed to attract the best astronomers and promoters of astronomy in the country as guest speakers, who introduced the audience to the latest discoveries in the world of astronomy and to the Bulgarian contribution through popular lectures, practical activities and observations. Approximately 100 students, teachers and guests from Sofia, Knezha, Pernik, Vratsa, Byala Slatina, Lovech, Popovo, Svoge, Smolyan, Dupnitsa, Ruse and Varna took part in Astroparty Varshets.

With good organization through the ZOOM platform and in partnership with the Association “Territorial Organization of Scientific and Technical Unions with the House of Science and Technology of Plovdiv”, the two sessions of the Youth Forum “Science, Technologies, Innovations, business’2022. 72 pupils, students, doctoral students, young professors from the higher schools/Universities, young specialists from practice and their scientific supervisors took part in above events. A total of 57 papers were given and scientific developments were presented in the fields of aviation, engineering, computer technology, agriculture, food technology, business and entrepreneurship.

For many years, the Evrika Foundation has been among the organizers of the National Student Olympiad in Mathematics (NSOM). It was held in Ravda in May 2022. At this national event, 67 students from 12 Higher schools/Universities took part in three separate groups depending on the chorarium in mathematics in the first year. Gold medals in the respective competition groups were won by students from the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski, the Plovdiv University of P. Hilendarski, the Technical University of Gabrovo, the Naval Academy of Nikola J. Vaptsarov in the city of Varna, the Rousse University of Angel Kanchev, the University of National and World Economy, the Technical University of Varna and the Varna University of Economy. We continue to be among the organizers of events that have been going on for several years, of which we were co-organizers or direct participants in previous years. Following is a list of some of these events: a competition for the award named after Dr. Emil Benatov for inventors; the Fifth Banking and Finance Forum “The Future of Money”; the third edition of the National Forum for Advanced Space Studies with three sessions: “The Cosmos and Business”; “Science and the Cosmos”; “Education and the Cosmos’; a follow-up event to the International Science on Stage Festival; the European Night of Scientists’ 2022; the Tenth Annual National Science Olympiad Meeting; the Spring Open Day of the Faculty of Physics of the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski”; The opening of a new school laboratory on design automation in electronics with the active support of two of the world’s giants in the semiconductor industry and microelectronics – Global Foundries, a manufacturer of semiconductor integrated circuits and Gadence Systems, a manufacturer of a wide range of software tools for electronic design systems; the exhibition “Inventions, Transfer, Innovations”, etc.  We also participated in the campaign and nominations for the “John Atanasov” awards of President Rumen Radev.

We remain true to our principles, meaning that when we make a commitment, we always try to fulfil it, and in 2022 we managed to realize the National Student Conference “PHYSICS-ENGINEERING-TECHNOLOGIES”, which was postponed due to the Covid Pandemic, along with the Faculty of Physics and Technology at the Paisiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv. 49 students from different schools in the country took part in it.

During the reporting year, we continued the fruitful cooperation with the Scientific and Technical Union for Construction in Bulgaria and jointly held the 12th International Conference “Design and Construction of Buildings and Facilities” DCB’2022 in person and online. The traditional Student Session was also held during the framework of the conference, and the students from the University of Architecture, Construction and Geodetics in Sofia made their best performance. A collection of reports from the conference was published as well. The people we worked for last year are the young innovators. We continue to be partners of the Union of Inventors in Bulgaria not only in the contest for young inventors. We participated in the organization of the thirteenth edition of the Exhibition for Inventions, Technologies and Innovations “ITI’2022”. Partners of the project were and still are the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Agricultural Academy and the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions. The exhibition was held from the 19th to the 24th of September 2022 within the framework of the International Technical Fair in the city of Plovdiv. Round tables, seminars and workshops were organized during the exhibition, where problematic issues related to the successful participation of inventors, innovators and breeders in the OP “Innovations and Competitiveness” programs were examined and discussed, as well as the new amendments to the regulations related to the protection of objects of industrial property.

Among the contests, those for the “Evrika” awards continue to be popular. They are for achievements in science, for young managers, inventors and farmers. Their history is no longer years, but tens of years. We presented the Young Manager Award for the thirty-third consecutive time, the Young Inventor and Young Farmer Award for the thirty-second consecutive time, and the Science Achievement Award for the twenty-seventh consecutive time. There are few events and awards of this long a history.

We were able to make a ceremonial presentation of the awards at the same time as the presentation of the certificates of the scholarship holders of the foundation for the academic year 2022/2023. This was also an expression of our policy of connecting training with the subsequent implementation, stimulating а development into a future modern and high-tech implementation based on their increased abilities and knowledge. Representatives of state and public organizations, university leaders, members of the Foundation Council, members of specialized juries, scientists, previous laureates of the “Evrika” award, former and current scholarship holders were present to pay well-deserved respect to what was achieved. Greetings were given by Academician Yulian Revalski – chairman of BAS, Vassil Velev – chairman of the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, Professor Diana Petkova – Chairman of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria and Academician Nikolay Vitanov – Deputy Rector of the Sofia University of St. Kliment Ohridski. Greetings were read by the Vice-President Iliyana Yotova, the Bulgarian European Commissioner – Maria Gabriel, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) and the Bulgarian Teachers’ Union.

For the year 2022, the Evrika Award for Achievements in Science was awarded to Dr. Alexander Sirakov. He received the joint award of the Evrika Foundation and the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria for the excellent defence of his thesis work “TEMPORARY STENT-ASSISTED COILING”. It is dedicated to the study of the possibilities of application in clinical practice of temporary Stent-assisted Coiling in the Treatment of Unruptured Wide-necked Intracranial Aneurysms in the conditions of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

The winner of the “Evrika” award for young inventor of the year 2022 was Elitsa Petkucheva, as a co-author in the invention “Method for the synthesis of an electrode for use as an electrocatalyst in oxygen evolution reaction”. She is the co-author of two more inventions.

Maria Todorova, co-author of five inventions, was awarded an honorary diploma for excellent performance in the competition for young inventors.

Hristo Peev received the “Evrika” award for young managers. He is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience. An initiator of several start-up companies and an active promoter of the idea of flexible remote work to ensure a balance between your career and personal life. The specialized jury awarded the “Evrika” award for the best young manager of 2022 to Hristo Peev for: His global vision and approach in business development and significant business results; his innovative management approach in the search, experimentation and implementation of working management ideas and practices; his outstanding business leadership.

Dimitar Platov – as co-founder and owner of “Bazonada” OOD – was awarded for excellent performance in the competition for young managers with an honorary diploma – for creating and developing a serious business based on traditional Bulgarian tastes and natural resources; for his determination, flexibility and achieved results in the production activity and realization of the products.

The 2022 Evrika award for young farmers was given to Tihomir Tachev. He graduated from the Trakia University of Stara Zagora. His business is beekeeping, he is registered as a farmer in the village of Asenovets, Nova Zagora municipality.  He started this business as a hobby with 7 bee colonies, and now he has 270 of them. He has taken up beekeeping as a profession and is doing his best to be successful.

The Evrika Awards and their recipients are role models. We try to make popular their achievements, work style and visions of development. We monitor their development so that we can provide them with help and support if needed. To this effect, we also use the expertise of consulting offices for the protection of intellectual property, on some legal issues of the organization and functioning of companies and non-governmental organizations, for the opportunities for even more complete use of new equipment and computer technologies. In the past year alone, the Office for the Protection of Intellectual Property provided, according to its report, more than 140 free consultations on its protection.

The legal offices of the foundation continue to be our one assistant in the implementation of daily tasks and increasingly become a major component of our targeted efforts to develop and present to national and international donors competitive financing projects. We also use them optimally in solving emerging legal disputes for the protection of copyrights and solving problems arising in disputes with external contractors of various types of services that the foundation needs.

            The consulting office on information technology and technology continued to function successfully in 2022. Through this office and with the participation of a member of our Executive Bureau, we have maintained and use the website of the foundation to inform about events and competitions. We also have a foundation page on Facebook. We publish on a regular basis information about all our events and those in which we participate as co-organizers.

 

 To support the spread of natural-scientific, technical and economic knowledge and information

Another scope of our activity is spreading scientific and technical knowledge.

Until recently, we relied on our libraries and publishing, on lectures and other forms, which were displaced by television, radio and other visual media, above all by computer technologies on the Internet with their huge information flows.

We have been working in close cooperation with the National Polytechnic Museum for years. Together, we have been publishing the children’s scientific and technical newspaper “Technitarche” for thirty-one years. The newspaper, with its accessible language and popular form of exhibition, is a tribune for the most up-to-date information, about the activities of the museum and on what is happening in the world of science and technology. In the 6 issues, published in 2022, we covered the most interesting and significant events at the National Polytechnical Museum. The “Technitarche” newspaper is available to everyone who has access to the Internet.

The new circumstances also changed the situation of the creation of Bulgarian scientific periodicals. The existing library funds have already been digitized and the old paper-based libraries are no longer functioning. To compensate for that, albeit partially, along with the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria (UFB), we launched a new joint project “Young Researchers”, which will maintain the column “Young Researchers” in the publishing body of the Union of Physicists in Bulgaria (UFB) – the magazine “The World of Physics”. By this column, we would like the magazine to become a forum for the appearance of young authors – young scientists, doctoral students, students and schoolchildren. The magazine has been published since 1991, 4 books a year, yet in a small circulation – 250 copies.

We also relied on the newspaper “Az Buki” for the achievement of results in this activity. Thanks to the fact that it is also an official publication of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES), the newspaper reaches every school and university.

One of our best-result successful projects is the project with the National Radio – the Programme Hristo Botev. We consider this joint project to be very successful. In 2022, twenty-four editions of the column “Evrika! Successful Bulgarians” in the Programme line “Efir Znanie”, twice a month for twelve months for ten minutes each. We presented scientists and specialists, teachers, farmers, entrepreneurs and students – winners and nominees for the foundation’s awards, as well as its scholarship recipients.

 

  1. Participation in international educational, natural & scientific and technical programs and projects for international youth scientific & technical cooperation.

 Following the world-wide globalization recently, we have been making good attempts to promote international scientific and technical cooperation, and youth cooperation in particular.

To everyone’s joy in 2022, the noose of the Covid Pandemic gradually began to loosen and many of the international appearances could be realized in person again. Many of the performances in 2022 were dedicated to the European Year of Youth, which emphasized the importance of young people in building a better future – greener, more inclusive and digital, with many opportunities to learn, share opinions, meeting people and participating in activities across Europe. More than 90 initiatives were implemented, distributed in 8 thematic areas: education and mobility; green transition and environmental protection; digitization; jobs and inclusion; culture; sport and healthy lifestyle; European youth and foreign policy; civil dialogues with young Europeans.

After the painful two years of the pandemic, we finally had the opportunity to send Bulgarian representatives to the European Youth Science Exhibition ESE’2022. This event took place from July 24 to July 30, 2022 in the city of Suceava, Romania and aimed to give a platform for young people to present their research ideas and projects. Using the already established practice from past participation in similar events, the Bulgarian group was formed by laureates of the National Competition “Young Talents” and included the students Gabriela Chavgova from the School of Mathematics ‘Academician Kiril Popov’ in the city of Plovdiv, Mohammad-Murad Rashad Halvani from the United Children’s Complex in the town of Silistra and Georgi Pramatarov – a student at the Sofia University of St. Clement Ohridski. They presented three projects on the following topics: “Mental state recognition using machine learning based on EEG signals”; “Comparative characteristics of the zooplankton communities in the Srebarna lake and the Malak Preslavets swamp; “Comparative assessment of antioxidant characterization and adaptive potential of mussels from Lake Varna in response to environmental stressors”. Using the good cooperation of the Ministry of Education and Science in the implementation of similar projects and considering that the students were laureates of the MES competition, we did the necessary actions and all costs were covered by the ministry. Within the framework of the European Expo in Suceava, we took participation in the annual General Assembly of MILSET – Europe. The winners of the “Young Talents” contest – Steven Ognyanov from the Sofia School of Mathematics “P. Hilendarski”, Radostin Cholakov from the Kiril Popov School of Mathematics in the city of Plovdiv and the scholarship holder of the foundation Petar Zhotev from the Sofia School of Mathematics “P. Hilendarski” represented Bulgaria with honours in the European Competition for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which is part of the European Community’s initiatives to promote scientific creativity in the young generation.

To the best of our ability, we assisted training experts, educators, R&D professionals, students and young scientists to participate in the Summer Science School in Croatia; the flagship International Conference on the Future of Digital Learning in Berlin, Germany, with accompanying hands-on workshops, interactive sessions, discussions and debates, labs and demonstrations, plenary sessions; a Summer School for Interdisciplinary Research in Trento, Italy, organized by the Bruno Kessler Foundation; the 6th ITEMA International Conference on Information Technology, Tourism, Economics, Management and Agriculture at the University of Maribor, Slovenia; the first European Summit for STEAM Educators, which presented a diverse perspective on the state of the art of this educational segment, based on the communications of more than 30 STEAM educators from 17 different nationalities. Following a two-year hiatus, the International Science Summer Camp was resumed in Petnica, Serbia with the theme “Beyond Data” with the objective to learn more about the process of obtaining data – information, facts, knowledge, improving critical thinking and data visualization skills. We provided logistical support for the participation of Bulgarian youth in two more MILSET performances: MILSET Expo-Sciences Vostok in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which is one of the largest STEAM events in the region, promoting the creativity of children and youth from around the world; Inventors Day in Indonesia – a hybrid with two categories of events: The International Young Inventors Awards (IYIA); the World Invention and Technology Exhibition (WINTEX) for students and individual inventors.

For the eighteenth time in a row, MILSET – Europe held the European Science Day for Youth. On the Bulgarian side, students from the Secondary School (SU) of Vassil Levski in the town of Sevlievo and the Dr. Petar Beron Varna School of Mathematics actively participated in this initiative. The scientific photo contest “Where Art Meets Science” was also held for the sixteenth time.

 

  1. Promotion and support of business initiatives and business activities of young people.

            Unfortunately again this year, the “Encouragement of Business Initiatives” Programme remained closed and we did not implement any projects and activities under this programme due to limited resources and an absence of applicant projects.

 

  1. With regard to some activities related to our ideal goals and the place and role of our organization in the development of cooperation with other organizations and institutions in our country.

In our report, we have informed about initiatives and implemented activities with various organizations and structures. This is the essence of the Development Programme.

Cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture is essential to us. The Ministry itself and its units continue to take the first place among our allies, we have their support and understanding. The search for solution in describing and spreading experience and good practices continues to be relevant, therefore the experience of MILSET can be used to create its platform for extracurricular activities and university events, where the role of personal development centres and professional associations of scientists and specialists would come natural. Such role was also assigned to the National Children’s Palace. It has the opportunity to create a methodical unit and to consider uniting efforts with the units of the system for the development of methods and training along with the universities. Our long-standing joint activity with the National Children’s Palace should be the basis for such joint actions. That would be where such platform belongs, therefore we reaffirm our readiness to participate in its implementation.

We have always felt the need for cooperation and support from businesses in our direct work. Businesses are intended to set directions and help with personnel preparation and implementation activities. Apart from thanking them, we need to meet and discuss the possibilities of existing new needs and practices. As before, to the greatest extent we owe businesses the existence of our scholarship Programme. We must thank, once again – “M+S Hydravlik” AD, town of Kazanlak, Velev Invest OOD, ALKI-L EOOD and other donating companies. Most often, donations are directed to scholarships in areas of the greatest need for personnel from certain specialties.

In the past year, we received a donation, which, according to the will of the donor, was used for the implementation of the National campaign for dual and professional education “I KNOW, I CAN, I AM RICH AND I’M HAPPY. PAY IT FORWARD”, which is an initiative of “Radio K2”. The campaign is large-scale in terms of national responsibility, design and scope of participants. Its main idea is to restore the activities of some types of secondary schools in partnership and through them to fill the vacuum of prepared secondary personnel. The condition of the donation was that the funds be used for: production of 10 documentaries and 5-minute audios each for students in vocational schools; production of 10 documentaries and 5-minute audios each for individuals from various professional fields who have graduated from vocational schools; production of 10 documentaries and 5-minute audios each for vocational schools; organizing and holding a round table.

We received a donation for the implementation of a joint project with the Rousse University of Angel Kanchev for the holding of the International Innovative Youth EXPO. At the will of the donor, the funds will be used for: construction of stands for exhibiting projects, prototypes, experimental models, samples and demonstrations; to hold a round table “Together for a better socio-ecological world without discrimination”; for the closing session of the student science conference.

Based on a targeted donation, we started the implementation of a new joint project with the Vale Computer School at the Exemplary People’s Community Centre Zarya-1858 in the town of Haskovo – “I must know to be capable”. The will of the donor is that the funds be used for: creation of a partnership model between the school and primary schools, with the aim of new technologies providing children with skills and motivation to turn learning into a lifelong activity; active training of students through the new art of “Digital Graphics and Painting” to develop key skills such as: creative thinking, critical analysis, teamwork, initiative, communication, mathematical literacy. The project “I must know to be capable” is an innovative idea to create a model for first steps in programming and construction through child’s play and a small amount of knowledge.

We continue our common actions and projects with the BAS. The Programme for work with children and youth is being developed, this explains the relatively easier negotiation of joint work and projects, as is the case with the Institute of Mechanics. The Student Institute of the BAS is also being developed, which uses the experience gained at SIMI.

Thanks to the active support of academicians from the Foundation Council, the base agreement of our joint initiatives with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) and the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria (SBU) is still operational, and we express our gratitude to Academician Revalski, for accepting our joint work and for his continued support.

We are satisfied with the understanding and cooperation we have with the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions. This understanding can be seen in the joint initiatives and projects that we carry out with the territorial organizations, such as the Territorial Organization in Plovdiv, with the Scientific and Technical Council (STC) of Construction and the Union of Standardization, with the Union of Inventors in Bulgaria, etc.

We would also like to put a good word about our participation in the activities of the Bulgarian Donor Forum (BDF) and the National Network for Children, whose full members we have been for many years. We make our best to participate in organized campaigns and contests, such as: the “Golden Apple” awards 2022″; The eighth edition of the annual networking event “VOICE it 2022”, dedicated to the anniversary of the adoption of the (UN) Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) and the International Children’s Day; Webinar on early childhood education, organized by UNICEF and the EC; creation of a national Programme for the prevention of violence and child abuse; presentation of the eleventh edition of the monitoring report of the national children’s network “Notebook’2022”. Authors of “Notebook’2022” were 30 experts from civil organizations and 47 external evaluators.

At a time when we had less and less opportunity to communicate live, we found the necessary information about what was happening in the non-governmental sector from the Information Portal for NGOs in Bulgaria.

Consciously aware that many of the foundation’s activities and programs could not be carried out without the financial support of donors, we have sought the largest group of donors in the business community. This is why the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria (AICB) occupies a special place in that community. That organization is the outstanding partner for support and joint actions. Without their support, we could not have succeeded in achieving many of the goals, and the events would not have taken place. The AICB has always been the bridge between the Foundation and businesses. With their help many years ago we created and run the competition for young managers, on the basis of which we presented one of our annual awards. We have also used quite often their work for studies, attitudes and actions of other organizations in these areas, for they also present business representative in many associations of the state, the businesses and the educational institutions.

Another organization, which shares our ideas and views, not surprisingly being its founder and member, is the “Sofia – City of Knowledge” Cluster.  In it we find understanding, support and the opportunity for new contacts, as it is a voluntary association of leading scientific, development and training organizations and companies from Sofia, therefore we came to be its creators and are still involved in its activities. Through this cluster we could also participate and if necessary – take advantage of the innovation hubs created at the European level.

 

* * * 

We are reporting on an year that was not easy, but it was a successful one, despite the difficulties. We have met our expectations. This gives us reason to make enthusiastic plans for the future development. We were acting in the mids of crises and obstacles, yet they have “tempered” us to a great extent and taught us not to stop and not to give up, to think about the future and to make plans.

Most of all, we learned to be creative and look for non-standard solutions, to be together and look for new opportunities, which will enable new projects and programs.

Achievement is what gives us courage, that feeling inspires faith and very often makes us state “Evrika”!

It’s time to move on with the new and to the new. To be dreamers, but also realistic, thus justifying the hopes of young people and the confidence that the good is ahead of us, that the good is for all young people and children.  Together we can prove it and will prove it with the results on the way up.