Metal Science Expert Heads Bulgaria's Education Ministry

Education | January 30, 2013, Wednesday // 11:29|  views

Acad. Stefan Vodenicharov was the only nomination for the post director of Bulgaria's Academy of Sciences (BAS) at the beginning of December. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Academy of Sciences (BAS) newly elected president Acad. Stefan Vodenicharov has been named the country's new education minister, replacing recently dismissed Sergey Ignatov.

Earlier in the day the government's press office announced that Milena Damyanova, who has been serving as Deputy Education Minister, will head the department, only to deny the information minutes later.

Vodenicharov's nomination should be approved by Bulgaria's parliament.

Acad. Stefan Vodenicharov was elected head of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences at the beginning of December. He replaced Acad. Stefan Dodunekov, who passed away in August just two months after being elected head of BAS.

Bulgaria's Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, resigned from the post on Monday.

Ignatov submitted his resignation at the request of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, hours after the resignation of the manager of Bulgaria's embattled and scandal-ridden Scientific Research Fund, Hristo Petrov.

Petrov's resignation was also immediately accepted by Borisov.

The manager deposited his resignation after it emerged that a probe of the Inspectorate at the Council of Ministers had established staggering violations at the Fund such as hiring people without the required qualifications and violations in assessing scientific bids for financing.

At the beginning of December, hundreds of Bulgarian scientists and researchers staged protest rallies in outrage of what they say were Ignatov's attempts to cover-up the scandal at the Fund.

The PM stated Monday that he just learned about the violations and the scandal with financing science and research in Bulgaria and pledged that more heads would roll by the end of the day.

In 2012, 95 out of 1 200 projects have been approved for financing in the total amount of BGN 14.8 M, triggering outrage in the scientific community over what they see as lack of transparency and conflict of interests.

Many insist the money is actually given to companies close to the private New Bulgarian University, NBU, of which Ignatov was President before becoming Minister.

At a hearing before the Parliamentary Education Commission, Ignatov denied any wrongdoing at the Fund.

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Tags: president, Bulgaria, Academy of Sciences, Stefan Vodenicharov, Stefan Dodunekov, Education ministry, Sergey Ignatov


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