The main goal of this project proposal is to build a partnership network between the Association of Young Scientists and Schools of the STEM system on the basis of public-private partnership, encouraging the active participation of young people in democratic processes through civic initiatives, civil dialogue and role-playing. games between stakeholders. It is also planned to implement initiatives that support the career growth of students from STEM educational environments.
Sofia city and Vratsa city
The challenges facing the selected regions are linked with the slow-increasing levels of of innovation, research and applied science, especially in the North-West. This in turn leads to low interest from investors and the so-called “Business Angels”. We seek to address these specific challenges by creating a civic participation mechanism for young researchers, who will significantly improve the research potential of the target group, by creating an ecosystem of innovation and build confidence in the target group for practical implementation. The outcome will be seen as a developed start-up ecosystem that might host and pilot various quality ideas through a real business model.
Our target group are the young researchers from the educational STEM system from Vratsa and Sofia Municipalities.
Activity 1: Taking stock and mapping other schools that are implementing the STEM methodology and providing the necessary infrastructure for that. This will ensure building the network of young researchers between the different municipalities;
Activity 2: Need assessment among young researchers:
o This activity will aim to gather information about the desires related to the personal and professional development of young researchers. The instruments for that activity will include open lectures in the schools and collecting feedback through questionnaires (questionnaires) prepared by the project team members. The topics will be related to the innovation and the skills of the future;
Activity 3: Young Research Competition, “Ideas Incubator” and Hackathon:
o As part of the open lectures at schools, there will be a Young Research Competition announcement where young people can submit their narrative idea for a research project and after a selection process might be selected to take part in the next stage of the project - “Ideas Incubator”. This activity will be organized as a Hackathon - "From education to StartUp" focusing on the entire process from identifying the research idea to problem solving and finally establishing a start-up business;
Activity 4: The final stage will be involving various stakeholders and decision-makers showcasing the outcome of the Hackathon.
The outcomes are aiming to result in improving the civic participation mechanism through establishing the first network of young researchers - a platform for generating ideas and the opportunity to solve a problem. In that way, young people will acquire new skills and will be more skilled to be able to identify problems, seek solutions through science and knowledge, and realize their ideas through knowledge, and search for other like-minded people via strategic partnership.
Adapting to the new realities and taking various actions are key for local organizations. In recent years, Municipalitys has its own financial instruments to support projects aimed at social integration, including personal and professional growth. This project proposals can be seen as an additional element for sustainability for the community – as the focus on science was missing by far. We will integrate the civic education element, showcasing good practices of the structured dialogue - civil society, young researchers, local municipalities and educational institutions. The basis of this dialogue will be the debate for the skills of the future. The key will be to encourage young people to take action in order to realize their ideas and contribute to the development of local communities.
This is the main team that will build the network of young researchers:
Mihaela Ivanova, PhD, is a former municipal councillor in Sofia Municipality, currently an economic development consultant;
Vadim Roshmanov has over 10 years of experience in managing and leading projects funded by various donors;
Ivan Stankov is a chief assistant and associate professor at the Technical University,Sofia. He has gained very specific experience in coordinating activities related to the development of intellectual products, incl. artificial intelligence and robotics
Petar Mladenov is the Youth-led advocacy,digital technologies Analyst at the United Nation Population Fund, UNFPA. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of youth policy and engagement, public administration.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
o Human resources and project management (staff, trainers, local leaders): 15 000 EUR
o Activities (travel costs, accommodation, catering, materials): 8 800 EUR
o Advocacy efforts (media materials): 2 000 EUR
o Structured dialogue – final event (travel costs, room rental, catering, materials, streaming): 6 000 EUR
o Indirect costs (office, print, overheads): 1 630 EUR
o Total: 33 430 EUR
As so far there is no data for a previous network of young researchers on the territory of Bulgaria. We would like to know about others from Bulgaria or Europe who bring together young researchers and how they work to improve our ideas for inclusion?