CPSBB exchanged knowledge and experience with a delegation from eight widening countries within the WIDERA Horizon Europe Work Programme

June 12, 2024

A delegation with  representatives of the National Contact Points (NCPs) within the WIDERA Horizon Europe Work Program visited CPSBB as part of the project “Transnational network of NCPs for Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area (NCP_WIDERA.NET)”. National Contact Points (NCPs) are independent organizations of different natures (ministries, academies of science, research agencies, etc.) that act as information providers to ERC applicants in their native language.

The delegates represented eight widening countries (Armenia, Greece, Czechia, Malta, Turkiye, Morocco, Romania, and Albania) and were led by a delegation from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria. Their main goal was to exchange knowledge and experience in establishing Centers of Excellence in their homelands.

Prof. Dr. Tsanko Gechev (Director of CPSBB) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veselin Petrov (Leader of Department “Funding”) welcomed the guests. Prof. Gechev presented the research activities, project management, and structure of CPSBB and also gave details on the whole procedure of establishing the first CoE in plant biology and biotechnology in Bulgaria within the PlantaSYST project. The procedure of establishment started ten years ago, and Prof. Gechev shared experience on the milestones and challenges CPSBB has met during this period. As a unique Bulgarian, fully independent scientific entity, the feedback and guidelines that he gave to the delegates were useful for their future endeavours in establishing Centers of Excellence in their own countries.

The guests were also guided through the CPSBB scientific campus, where they were presented with the building facilities, technical equipment, and ongoing projects (NatGenCrop, BOOSTER, HealthyDiets4Africa, AgroDigiRise, etc.).

Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence actions under Horizon Europe contribute to building research and innovation capacity for countries lagging behind. They will strengthen their potential for successful participation in transnational research and innovation processes, promote networking and access to excellence. Participants in the programme are able to upgrade their research and innovation systems, making them stronger and allowing the EU as a whole to advance together, in line with the policy objectives of the European Research Area. The programme aims at strengthening regional innovation excellence, through innovation ecosystems in Widening countries and beyond, by teaming up and creating robust linkages between academia, businesses, governments and civil society.