Bulgaria to Replace Management of Embattled Research Fund

December 7, 2012, Friday // 02:21
Bulgaria to Replace Management of Embattled Research Fund: Bulgaria to Replace Management of Embattled Research Fund
Bulgaria's Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, is firmly behind the management of the Scientific Research Fund, which has been accused of criminal misuse of resources. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Education Ministry has already prepared new rules for the work of the country's embattled Scientific Research Fund and its management would be replaced.

Speaking for bTV, Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, informed Friday that the rules will become effective by March 2013.

He further confirmed he will appear for a hearing before the Parliamentary Education Committee along with the current management of the Fund.

Earlier, President Rosen Plevneliev stated that Ignatov owes explanations to the MPs about the scandal.

"It is good to believe both in God and the rule of law. I have never pressured the Fund to give grants to New Bulgarian University, NBU. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, has received 40 grants, the Sofia University – 10 and NBU -6," said he in a reply to a question from the host whom the media and society should believe – one minister or 1 200 researchers.

Ignatov, however, failed to explain how many companies have registered their business just days before becoming winning bidders.

He backed once again the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Fund, Rangel Gyurov, who is accused of being appointed illegally at the post without having the required habilitation, explaining Guyrov had been a "visiting professor" at NBU before Ignatov was its President.

The Minister blasted Bulgarian researchers, who staged a protest rally Wednesday against what they see as illegal siphoning of the scarce money for science from the Fund, for them saying the rally would not be peaceful. He compared this with a recent statement of the leader of the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, of the Party of European Socialists, PES, and former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Sergey Stanishev, who stressed politicians who have lost the trust of the people should leave, and if they refuse to do it peacefully and in a democratic manner, there were "other ways."

Ignatov called on researchers to read the reviews for the projects that applied for financing in 2012 and file objections if they see a need to do so. The reviews will be available from January 10 to 20, 2013 from the Fund's archives, he reminded.


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