PROJECT CONCEPT BACKGROUND
Sofia University (SU) is the leading research and teaching university of Bulgaria, which is also an important resource bank of researchers for Bulgaria.
The Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (FMI) of SU has been developed as a leading institution in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research and higher education in the last decades. With more than 150 researchers and more than students (BSc, MSc and PhD), FMI is among the largest departments of Sofia university.
The Faculty has been involved in more than 30 ICT related projects under the EC RTD Framework Programmes, several projects funded by national funds, as well as in projects funded by World Bank, PHARE and PHARE TEMPUS, Leonardo, Socrates, etc. These projects aimed at improving the quality of university research and training and to pave the way
towards entering the European Research Area (ERA), the European Space of Higher Education and the European Area of Lifelong Learning . Within these projects FMI has developed as one of the most promising research centres in Bulgaria in the area of ICT. The main achievements of its researchers are in the areas of Technology-Enhanced Learning,
Networked Enterprises, Software and Services, Intelligent Content and Semantics.
CENTER OF INFORMATION SOCIETY TECHNOLOGY
In 1999 a Centre of Information Society Technology
(CIST) associated with FMI was established in the frames of the TEMPUS PHARE
Institutional Building Project. The main role of CIST was to become a centre of
excellence and expertise in the field of Information Society Technology and to consolidate a critical mass of researchers,
innovators and trainers who are able to spread out this expertise at institutional (FMI, SU), national and international level. The case of CIST was presented as a best practice case at the World Bank Knowledge Economy Forum in Helsinki. CIST was chosen also as a best case
in the Annual Report on the National Innovation Policy. CIST has a leading role in promoting innovation, technology transfer and entrepreneurship through participating in EC funded projects and initiatives and several national and regional ones.
The main goal of SISTER project is to develop FMI as a Leading Centre in SEE in research, innovation and training in the area of ICT and more specifically in Software and Services, and Intelligent Content and Semantics. An overall goal of the project is to foster the integration of FMI in the ICT ERA and to contribute to competitiveness and growth of the SEE region and Europe as a whole.
SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME
The SISTER project objectives fully correspond to the FP7 Capacity Programme – Research Potential general objective:
"Stimulating the realisation of the full research potential of the enlarged Union by unlocking and developing existing or emerging research potential in the European Union's convergence regions and outermost regions, and helping to strengthen the capacities of their researchers to successfully
participate in research activities at EU level."