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FP7

BEYONDEVEREST Report Summary

Project ID: 286205
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Bulgaria

Final Report Summary - BEYONDEVEREST (Development of the research potential of the Faculty of Chemistry, Sofia University, in the area of advanced functional materials for successful participation in world-class research at EU level)

Executive Summary:
The project BeyondEverest aimed to fully develop the research potential of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University with the focus on Advanced Functional Materials and to strengthen its capacity for successful participation in world-class research activities at European Union level. The research focus of the project - Functional Materials were classified in four groups, according to their potential applications: Materials for clean energy; Materials for environment protection; Materials for optics and optoelectronics; Materials with pharmaceutical and medical applications. These types of materials were outlined according to the current research activities of the Faculty researchers. At the same time they are at the cutting edge of the application driven science and lie behind the new technologies development, rapidly transforming our society.
The partnering institutions were the world class research organizations Technical University of Munich (DE), University of Oxford (UK), MPI on polymer research (DE), University of Turin (IT), and ESPCI-Paris (FR).
The project goal was achieved through realization of the following specific tasks and related activities:
• Strengthening the research excellence of the Faculty through transfer of know-how and experience and building of strategic partnerships with European research institutions at the World top level;
• Recruitment of experienced researchers in the Faculty;
• Improvement of the Faculty’s research environment by extending the existing research infrastructure for ensuring a ground for excellent cutting-edge research;
• Promoting the participation of the Faculty researchers in the EU research activities;
• Increasing the visibility of the excellence of the Faculty’s research at European and world level, in the scientific community, industry, and society.
As a result from these activities the research potential of the Faculty has been significantly improved as:
- four new experienced researchers were recruited, enriching the Faculty’s research areas
- the publication activity of the Faculty increased in terms of number of peer-reviewed publications as well as of average impact factor of the journals where the Faculty’s researchers published
- the Faculty’s research environment was improved in terms of newly acquired equipment – nuclear magnetic resonance apparatus, transmission electron microscope and catalytic equipment
- the exchange of knowledge and know how between the Faculty and the partnering as well as other collaborating organizations has been intensified through the realization of short-term mobility, dissemination activities (lectures, conference and workshops presentations), new joint proposal submission and project realization, etc.
- the cooperation with industry was intensified and the Faculty’s strategy for innovations and commercialization of scientific results was developed
- the visibility of the excellence of the Faculty’s research was increased at European and world level, as well as among the scientific community, industry and society.

Project Context and Objectives:
Project objectives
The project BeyondEverest aimed to fully develop the research potential of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University with the focus on Advanced Functional Materials and to strengthen its capacity for successful participation in world-class research activities at European Union level.
The specific objectives of the project included:
• Strengthening the research excellence of the Faculty through transfer of know-how and experience and building of strategic partnerships with European research institutions at the World top level;
• Recruitment of experienced researchers in the Faculty;
• Improvement of the Faculty’s research environment by extending the existing research infrastructure for ensuring a ground for excellent cutting-edge research;
• Promoting the participation of the Faculty’s researchers in the EU research activities;
• Increasing the visibility of the Faculty’s research excellence at European and world level, in the scientific community, industry, and society.
These tasks were planned to be attained through an appropriate mobility of researchers between the Faculty and the partnering organizations, recruitment of experienced researchers, acquisition of new research equipment and upgrade of the available one, and through organization of workshops and conferences in the field of Advanced Functional Materials. The partnering institutions of Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy within this project were five departments of world class research organizations: Technical University of Munich (Germany), University of Oxford (UK), MPI on polymer research (Germany), University of Turin (Italy), and ESPCI-Paris (France).
In the project BeyondEverest a wide spectrum of materials was addressed, divided according their potential applications in the following groups:
• Materials for clean energy;
• Materials for environment protection;
• Materials for optics and optoelectronics;
• Materials with pharmaceutical and medical applications.
These types of materials fall within the thematic priorities of FP7 (NMP - Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies) and within the Bulgarian national priority Materials science and nanotechnology, and reflect some of the major challenges of the modern society and economy. All these types of materials are vital for the development of new technologies, which are rapidly transforming our society. The Faculty has already long-term traditions in the synthesis and properties characterization of different materials (metals, polymers, ceramics), but the project BeyondEverest was the platform to boost the formation of new research groups structure of the Faculty and to elaborate a common research strategy in Materials science of the Faculty.
Main results achieved by the project
The key results obtained during the project lifetime could be summarized as follows:
• Regular meetings of the established Faculty’s Seminar on Functional materials were carried out during the project where visiting scientists presented their research. Discussions of the Faculty’s research groups with the guest-researchers were used as a tool to increase the efficiency of the interactions between the Faculty and visiting scientists/partnering institutions.
• Many outgoing visits of Faculty’s researchers to partnering organizations were realized and they were used to exchange ideas and know-how. Thus, new collaborations were established and joint publications were submitted. The initiated new joint research between the guest-researchers and Faculty’s experienced researchers resulted into joint projects/proposals (National Science Foundation of Bulgaria, Bilateral projects, H2020, etc.) that were were started/submitted.
• The intensive collaboration of the Faculty’s researchers with partnering organization (Technical University of Munich, University of Oxford, MPI on polymer research, University of Turin, and ESPCI-Paris) was realized through short term visits of the Faculty’s resarchers as well as visits of researchers from partnering organizations to the Faculty. These visits were a tool for raising up the level of the Faculty’s research in Materials Science to that of the leading European and globally recognized scientific centers.
• Two laboratories – for TEM and NMR - were established and are successfully functioning now. Their real research capacity is developed and it strongly impacted the research of all groups in the Faculty. They became an important part of the Faculty’s instrumentarium being in an active use by most of the research groups in the Faculty. The catalytic equipment acquired within the project was installed and work properly. Thus, the new catalytic laboratory was also successfully established.
• The contacts with Industry (Actavis, BIOVET, AMG Technology, Unilever) continued in a friendly manner for mutual benefit. The capacity of the Faculty researchers in this activity was proved by the numerous projects with big international companies like BASF, Unilever, Dow Corning, Kraft Foods, Molecular Probes, etc.
• Regular communication with Bulgarian government and municipal institutions (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of education and science, Sofia Municipality) was established. The project had significant impact on the regional and national initiatives for supporting the innovative research and technology transfer where Faculty’s scientists were actively involved. As a result, some of the Faculty’s most prominent scientists, and also project MC members, are acting now in new positions: Prof. N. Denkov (WP2 Leader) became Deputy Minister of Education and Science; Prof. G. Vayssilov (WP4 Leader) became Director of the Bulgarian National Science Foundation and Prof. T. Spassov, Project Coordinator and WP1 Leader, is a candidate for the position of Rector of the biggest and the most renown University in Bulgaria – Sofia University. Prof. T. Spassov is also deeply involved in the establishment of Sofia Tech Park - the biggest national initiative for technology transfer. In the last initiative many Faculty’s researchers are also actively involved and take part as experts. Another very important for Bulgaria initiative is the Operational program “Education and science for intelligent growth”, where Prof. Denkov is the responsible person taking care of its organization and successful start-up.
The Faculty is now recognized as strategic for Bulgaria Research center in Materials Science, able to contribute substantially to the Bulgaria’s RIS3, which puts emphasis on Clean Technologies (storage and saving Energy) and Health life and Biotechnology (nano-technologies in favour of medicine, medical substances and products, Bulgarian specific food and cosmetic (bio)products), all these areas being strongly related to the project topic – Advanced Functional Materials.
• The Strategy of the Faculty for innovations and commercialization was developed and updated at the end of the project
• The project has also impacted the Faculty’s staff achievements in education of highly qualified graduates and researchers in Chemistry and Materials Science, as it supported their ability to perform research at first class level. In this way the project made more visible the Faculty as an excellent place for education for society.
• The three independent evaluators, appointed by the European Commission, confirmed the excellent human potential that the Faculty has and fully recognized the quality of the Facutly’s researchers as the main driving force for the Faculty further development as national and regional center of Excellence in Advanced Functional Materials. The project impacted significantly the research staff of the Faculty as it provided many opportunities to them for mobility, conference and workshops participations, opportunities to meet many first class researchers who visited the Faculty and the organized within the project conferences and workshops.
• Very successful 2 Conference and 5 Workshops were organized within the project, where all research groups from the Faculty, guest-researchers recruited within the project and industry representatives actively participated.
• Long-term recruitments were also beneficial for the Faculty. The experienced researchers recruited thankfully to the project are already part of the Faculty staff and have the opportunity to further develop their research activities within the Faculty. These recruitments were accomplished although some difficulties arose during this task realization. A lot of efforts have been put to find experienced researchers with high level of expertise in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), but this activity was not successful. Thus with the agreement of the Commission two Bulgarian top-specialists in TEM and in NMR were recruited and in fact strongly helped in establishing these new for the Faculty laboratories.
• The positive effect of all these activities on the Faculty’s research in the field of Materials Science is clearly seen by the increased number of publications from the Faculty in journals with higher impact factor as compared to the period before the project.
In conclusion, the project objectives were successfully accomplished in time. The Faculty is already strongly experiencing the stimulating effect of the project implementation on the research work of the groups with activities in the synthesis and properties characterization of Functional materials. At the end of the project BeyondEverest, the Faculty has well collaborating research groups, joined in research clusters with common research interests, able to design and develop new functional materials with various potential applications. These achievements are the solid ground for the further successful participation of the Faculty in world-class research activities at European Union level in the field of Advanced Functional Materials.

Project Results:
The project objectives as stated in Annex I to the Grant Agreement were successfully achieved. The accomplishment of the main project tasks is in agreement with the final goals of the project. Although some obstacles have been met during the project realization due to the special measures and related activities taken on time all project tasks were accomplished successfully.
In the following part of the report, the objectives for each work package and their accomplishment are discussed in details and in line with the Annex I to the Grant Agreement.
Report on WP1 Project Management
The main objectives of the WP1 Project Management were:
• To provide the overall legal, ethical, financial and administrative management of the project
• To ensure smooth, precise, and efficient implementation of the work plan and coordination of different activities and preparation of the reports
• To provide coherent joint activities between the applicant and the partner organization and functioning the Steering and Management committees
• To ensure synergies of the project with local, regional or national programmes and to increase the sustainability of the research capacity of the Faculty
• To allow proper and timely assessment of the progress and results of the project, and acceptance of contingency measures (if necessary).
In order to attain these objectives the following tasks were defined:
Task 1.1. Establishment, regular meetings and functioning of the Steering Committee (SC)
Task 1.2. Establishment and regular meetings of the Management Committee (MC)
Task 1.3. Administrative management of the project
Task 1.4. Efficient financial management and accounting
Task 1.5. Preparation of the reports of the project.
The first Task 1.1 of the project management according to the work plan was to establish the Steering Committee (SC) and to organize its efficient work. The SC was established during the kick-off meeting of the project held in Sofia, on 14 – 15 November 2011 (Appendix 1). The meeting attended the members of the Management Committee, representatives of the partnering organizations, representatives of Bulgarian companies, representatives of other scientific institutions in Bulgaria, etc. At this meeting Prof. Tony Spassov (Coordinator of the project) was elected to be Chair of SC while Prof. Georgi Vayssilov was elected for vice-coordinator of the Steering Committee. It was decided also that the membership in the Steering Committee will be variable according to the possibility of the partnering organizations representatives to take part in the SC meetings. At the first SC meeting were discussed the starting steps within each WP and SC members gave some recommendations in relation to the specific tasks of the project WPs, e.g. new equipment acquisition, the call for available positions for experienced researchers, etc.
The 2nd Meeting of the Steering committee was held during the 1st general conference organized within the project in Varna on the 8th of September, 2012. During the discussions it became clear that the allocation for outgoing and incoming short visits was not sufficiently used due to two main reasons – on the one side the large amount teaching hours that everyone from the Faculty staff has to do during the year and the large amount of work that is done for the project to start – planning all the activities and arranging the management in each work package.
At the end of the meeting a decision was made, supported by all members of the Steering Committee, that a permission will be asked for transfer of the money saved from experienced researchers recruitments to be used for the NMR and TEM equipment acquisition.
Details about both SC meetings could be found in Deliverable 1.1.
The 3rd SC meeting was held on the 5th of September 2014, at Nessebar, Bulgaria after the 2nd general conference and in accordance with the project work plan. The SC meeting was dedicated to the strategic for the project implementation objectives and tasks. The meeting attended the members of the Management Committee, representatives of the partnering organizations, representative of industry. Details about the SC meeting discussions and decisions could be found in Deliverable 1.2.
The final SC meeting has been organized in September 2015, according to the project work plan. It was dedicated to the assessment of the results on the project and to discussion and approval of the plan for the future sustainable development of the Faculty after completion of the project.
The main conclusions drawn at the SC meeting are summarized below:
• All of the representatives from the partnering organizations accepted the report on the project activities.
• They appreciated the work done and the good results – the increased publication activity, the intensified interactions within the faculty and with external partners.
• They also sharply criticized the lack of national funding for research in Bulgaria.
• They have recommended that the next step after the project BeyondEverest should be application for Center of Excellence in the local operational program.
Within Task 1.2. establishment and regular meetings of the Management Committee (MC) were carried out. The initial meeting in month 1 was mainly devoted for planning the starting activities on the project and organization of the kick-off meeting of the SC. Regular meetings of MC were held nearly every month with the following main functions: legal decisions concerning the administration of the project; monitoring the progress of the project in its technical, financial and planning aspects, adopting corrective measures whenever necessary; synchronization of the work on different work packages; analysis and discussions on the implementation of the priority tasks on the project. Some of the MC meetings were organized together with the research groups leaders discussing mainly the upgrade of the research strategy of the Faculty.
The MC meetings during the final project period were used for evaluation the results of the project, preparation of the final report and the plan for the future sustainable development of the Faculty after completion of the project. During the last 6 months of the project implementation the focus of the Faculty activities were mainly the tasks of WP6.
Under Task 1.3. the administrative management of the project took place. It consisted in coordination of the work on each work package by the corresponding WP leader. Then coordination between different work packages and activities and communications between the Faculty and the partner organizations were also managed. These activities were accomplished and synchronized by the project coordinator and WP leader of WP1 with the assistance of the leaders of the other work packages. Regular communication and consultancy with the Project Officers (Ms. R. Atanasova) was also of importance for solving different issues out of our full competence. The contact persons from the partnering institutions were also informed by the project coordinator about the progress of the project activities.
Task 1.4 Efficient financial management and accounting.
Financial management of the project was accomplished according to the regulations of the EC and the Bulgarian national law. The entire financial management and accounting was realized by the university accounting department (NIS at SU “St Kl. Ohridski”) in close collaboration with the project coordinator and WP1 manager prof. Tony Spassov. Financial audits for the 1st and 2nd reporting periods were organized as planned. Financial audit for the third period (months 43-48) is not required, because the sum spent during the period is below 375 000 Euro.
Legal and financial consultancy with university Financial and Law departments were carried out by the project Coordinator in order to ensure the synchronization between Bulgarian and EC legislation, concerning different project issues, namely the new equipment tender procedure and financial management of the scientific events organized within the project.
Task 1.5 To prepare the final report proper organization of the MC members engagements was created. Special MC meeting devoted to the project final report preparation was carried out and the tasks related to the report preparation were allocated.
In time with the project activities progress the project website was updated and developed. Actual information about the scientific events, guest researchers visits, dissemination activities, etc. can be found on http://beyondeverest.org/.

Report on Work package 2. Exchange of know-how and experience
Workpackage 2 was devoted to exchange of know-how and experience between the Faculty researchers and the partnering and other organizations. WP2 had the following objectives:
• To enhance the capacity and capability of the experienced researchers in the Faculty to successfully participate in cutting edge research activities at EU level and to increase the abilities/chances for participation of the Faculty in FP7/H2020 projects
• To ensure the networking and setting-up of long-lasting strategic partnerships of the Faculty with European world class research players and industry
• To contribute to the integration of the research staff of the Faculty in larger interdisciplinary communities and in thematic networks across Europe supporting high quality research, exchange of know-how, experiences and technology transfer
• To assure returning of the trained research staff in the Faculty
• To provide specialized training for specific use of the new equipment, acquired within the project.
The work in WP2 was divided in the following tasks:
Task 2.1 Incoming visits of top scientists from the partnering and other organizations.
Task 2.2 Incoming visits of experts in innovations and IP management.
Task 2.3 Outgoing visits of researchers from the Faculty to the partnering organizations.
Task 2.4 Networking and joint activities between the Faculty, partnering organizations and other relevant stakeholders.
The activities within WP2 were funded to June, 2015, i.e. WP2 lasted 42 months.
Within Task 2.1 incoming visits of top scientists from the partnering and other organizations to the Faculty were envisaged. These visits are listed in Table 2.1, Appendix 2. As one can see from the table, the number of the leading scientists from both the partner organizations as well as from other organizations that visited the Faculty is quite high – 21 visits were realized for 42 months, the total amount of person months within this task being 3.1. That means that every two months a leading scientist was visiting the Faculty within the framework of the project. All these leading researchers presented lectures, exchanged know how and/or started collaboration with Faculty researchers. The field of expertise of these scientists was very broad as the research interests of the Faculty researchers is also broad. Through these visits the Faculty scientists had the opportunity to become acquainted with cutting edge research activities and also to exchange knowledge, experience and ideas with the leading scientists visiting the Faculty.
Here one should mention that the short term visits of scientists within WP3 (see WP3report, Table 3.1, Appendix 3), are also contributing to Task 2.1 as many of the Bulgarian scientists working abroad and visiting the Faculty within WP3 are leading scientists in their research fields. In this way, their visits contributed for enhancing the capacity and capability of the experienced researchers in the Faculty to successfully participate in cutting edge research activities at EU level. Also their visits contributed for the integration of the research staff of the Faculty in larger interdisciplinary communities supporting high quality research and in thematic networks across Europe, i.e., they also contributed for attaining the aims of WP2.
In Table 2.2, Appendix 2, are listed the guest-researchers coming from companies and centers with high innovation activity. Their visits are related to Task 2.2. Incoming visits of experts in innovations and IP management. This task was realized through 13 visits and 8.2 person months in total (Table 2.2, Appendix 2). However in addition to this time purely related to Task 2.2, part of the efforts ascribed to Task 2.1. activities should be also added to Task 2.2. as many of the leading researchers are active innovators as well. In this way the project benefitted from their know-how shared during their visits, thus covering Tasks 2.1 and 2.2 simultaneously.
In relation to Task 2.2., during the second reporting period of the project a special seminar devoted to the innovation potential of the Faculty has been realized (see WP5 report) where Faculty’s scientists have discussed their innovation related activities and opportunities with representatives of industry from abroad as well as from Bulgaria but also with world known scientists with proved innovation experience. Moreover, special efforts have been put in the evaluation of the innovation capacity of the Faculty (Deliverable 2.3 and the WP5 report). As a result of these intensive activities, the Faculty researchers had the opportunity to be more closely acquainted in general with the IPR protection as well as with the successful IP management.
Again, a strong interaction between WP2 and WP3 activities should be mentioned here, as all researchers visiting the Faculty within WP3 contributed also to Task 2.2. They not only had exchanged ideas, knowledge and know-how with the Faculty scientists but also had shared their experience in innovations and IP protection in their presentations at the Faculty seminar and also during their face-to-face meetings with the Faculty researchers. Thus the project benefitted strongly both in terms of scientific excellence as well as of innovation related experience that these visits have brought.
From the incoming visits within Task 2.2, one should especially acknowledge those of Dr. Simeon Stoyanov (Table 2.2, Appendix 2) and Dr. Veselin Petrov (Table 3.2, Appendix 3) who were deeply involved as experts in the preparation of the Business Plan of the Scientific and Technology Park of Sofia University (Kampus “Lozenets”). This plan was recently proposed to the Academic Council of the University of Sofia. Kampus Lozenets is located in the neighborhood of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy and is expected to be funded as a public-private partnership. The main topic of the research in Kampus Lozenets is the area of Materials Science and related industrial applications, thus this project is very close to the research topic of the project BeyondEverest.
The outgoing visits of Faculty scientists to the partner organizations, related to Task 2.3 are presented in Table 2.3, Appendix 2. In total 53 outgoing visits related to Task 2.3 were realized, with total duration of 54.8 person months. In the 1st reporting period this activity was with very low performance and it has been explained by the very high teaching load of the Faculty scientists which kept them in the Faculty long time and they could not find the time enough to realize mobility. In order to solve this problem, special organizational efforts had been made in order to enhance the intensity of the outgoing visits, especially those of young experienced researchers who could had used these visits to acquire unique experience in world-class research institutions. This was achieved not only through encouragement but also by taking appropriate measures to make it easier for the Faculty scientists to realize their visits to the partnering institutions. As a result, in the next two reporting periods this activity has blossomed. For example, during the 2nd reporting period 5 times higher number of outgoing visits as well as of person months as compared to the 1st reporting period have been realized. Finally this task could be reported as very successful and thus Task 2.3 was completed as planned.
It should be mentioned that most of the outgoing visits were to Max Plank Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz. This partnering organization is recognized as the most active one in the collaboration with the Faculty, a trend observed for the whole project duration.
The visits related to Task 2.4 which aimed at networking and joint activities between the Faculty, partnering organizations and other relevant stakeholders are presented in Table 2.4, Appendix 2. In total 29 outgoing visits related to networking were realized, with total duration of 12.2 person-months. Again, these networking visits of group leaders from Faculty were intensified during the 2nd reporting period. They were also behind the successful performance of Task 2.3. as through the networking visits a good partnership was established between many groups from the Faculty and the partnering institutions and the number of outgoing visits of Faculty researchers increased.
All activities in WP 2 were realized according to the plan. The Deliverables related to WP2 were timely submitted. The realized incoming and outgoing visits have ensured progress towards attaining the objectives of WP2, namely:
• Participating in cutting-edge research, networking with world-class researchers and industry
• Exchange of know-how and gaining of technology transfer experience
• Several of the incoming visitors with Bulgarian origin were later recruited within the WP3
• Several visits were used to collect information about the new equipment.

Report on WP3. Recruitment of experienced researchers
The WP3 aimed at the following objectives:
• To enhance the capacity of the Faculty by recruitment of experienced researchers that will complement the ongoing research activities in the field of advanced functional materials with new (for the Faculty) synthetic or characterisation approaches and methods or types of materials;
• To attract and retain the best research professionals to be recruited in the Faculty, to assist in their integration in the local research community, building of research group and the access to local research funds;
• To assure coherence between the recruitment of experienced researchers and the new equipment of the Faculty, acquired by the project;
• To improve the research capacity of the Faculty for increased contribution to regional economic and social development.
The work on the WP was divided into the following tasks:
Task 3.1 Recruitment of experienced researchers
Task 3.2 Recruitment of experienced researchers for short period
Task 3.3 Recruitment of highly qualified technical staff for the new equipment

The activities of this workpackage were funded during the 1st and 2nd reporting periods, i.e. they were realized within the first 42 monts of the project
The work on Task 3.1 aimed to recruit within the project with an option to become later permanent staff five experienced researchers with expertise in materials science, new equipment areas and pharmacy. That is why the WP3 started with defining the desired profiles of the experienced researchers to be recruited taking into account the specific needs of the Faculty. The announcements of the available positions were disseminated and several strong applications have been received (Table 3.1, Appendix 3)
As a result of the call four of the applicants were recruited for short term stays in the Faculty - Dr. P. Georgiev, Dr. T. Dudev, Dr. V. Gelev and Dr. V. Petrov. Dr. P. Georgiev was long-term recruited within the project immediately after his short visit (on 01.04.2012). His experience in scattering methods for materials characterization was evaluated as unique for the Faculty.
Dr. T. Dudev showed strong interest for returning to Bulgaria and continuing his academic carrier in the research environment of the Faculty. As a result, a full Professorship was offered to him and starting from February 2013, Dr. Dudev has a permanent position as professor at the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Sofia.
Dr. V. Gelev was invited twice in the Faculty within the project, for 1 month and later on for 6 months respectively. His experience corresponded partially to the profile of the researcher with scientific expertise in NMR, but also he has experience in the organic synthesis and pharmacy. His skills in technology transfer were also valuable for the Faculty. He was appointed as an experienced researchers within the project, but during the second half of the project an opportunity for e permanent position appeared and Dr. Gelev became an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Applied Organic Chemistry of the Faculty.
Dr. V. Petrov was also recruited twice for short term visits. He is currently on a contemporary position at the Faculty with an option to become a permanent Associate Professor.
Thus, the short term visits (Task 3.2.) were used as testing periods for the candidates for the long term recruitments and this is a demonstration of the intertwining of the activities realized under the different tasks within WP3.
As a result, 3 out of these 4 strong applicants have been recruited in permanent positions at the Faculty after the project end, the forth one being with an option to also become a permanent staff.
Two positions for experienced researchers were available within the project “BeyondEverest” in relation to both apparatuses, transmission electron microscope (TEM) and nuclear magnetic resonance apparatus (NMR) that have been acquired within the project.
An obstacle related to Task 3.3 realiization was that the Faculty experienced the competition of other research organizations from abroad in attracting experienced reseacrhers. A strong researcher with NMR expertise (Prof. Galya Ivanova) has applied for the available within the project position for experienced researcher with expertise in NMR. However when she announced her willingness to move from Portugal to Bulgaria her employer stimulated her to stay in Portugal. Thus she withdrew her application. This was a clear illustration of the strong competition that the Faculty experienced when trying to return well qualified Bulgarian researchers working abroad to Bulgaria. This case resulted into a letter from the Project Coordinator Prof. T. Spassov to the Project Officer Ms. Ralitsa Atanasova from April, 2012 asking the Commission for the possibility to recruit Bulgarian researchers working currently in Bulgaria, for the positions related to both apparatuses – NMR and TEM. The answer was positive and it was for the best of the project as it ensured the smooth realization of the project in regard to the services of the new equipment.
Thus the Commission allowed to recruit two experience researchers who were at this time working in Bulgaria in order to ensure smooth start of both laboratories.
The first experienced researcher Prof. Dr. Diana Nihtianova, who has strong experience in TEM was recruited since 15.07.2013 until the end of the project. She was in charge of the TEM laboratory and had supervised the equipment installation and the establishment of proper working conditions for the new apparatus.
The second experienced researcher Prof. Dr. Svetla Simova, who is leading the strongest in Bulgaria NMR spectroscopy Lab in BAS was recruited from 01.09.2013 to the end of the project. She has been actively involved in the preparatory work and realization of the tender for the NMR equipment followed in time the TEM acquirement.
Thus, the work planned within Task 3.1. was successfully completed. Two deliverables related to Task 3.1. – Deliverables 3.1. and 3.2. were submitted on time reporting the progress made within Task 3.1.
The work on Task 3.2 Recruitment of experienced researchers for short period was performed complementary to Task 3.1. as it was already demonstrated above. The idea of the short term visits was to share experience and initiate new or intensify old collaborations between the visiting scientists and the Faculty staff. The work within this task was very intensive and a high number of Bulgarian researchers working abroad came to the Faculty for short visits. The short mobility realization is fully presented in Table 3.2, Appendix 3 but also in the Deliverables related to the task - Deliverables 3.3 and 3.4 where more details about the short recruitments are presented.
The high number of incoming short term visits is also related with many new collaborations establishment as well as joint proposals preparation. In Table 3.2, Appendix 3, a column with the names of the group leaders from the Faculty with whom the visiting researchers cooperated more intensively is added. Moreover, in Table 3.3 the joint submitted proposals as well as the running projects between scientists form the Faculty and the Bulgarian researchers who stayed for short term visits as well scientists from the partnering organizations are shown. This table in fact demonstrates the fruitful work within Task 3.2 and is one of the measurable results from the related to this task activities.
Again it will be underlined that the short term visits were also related to other project activities. For example, they were related to WP2 as the researchers coming from industry were also very valuable in sharing their experience and knowledge about the technology transfer, IP protection issues, etc. Some of the visiting scientists have also took part in the scientific events organized within the project BeyondEverest and their visits in this way are also related to WP5. More details and the full impact of the short term recruitments are described in Deliverables 3.3. and 3.4.
The work on the last task of WP3 Task 3.3 Recruitment of highly qualified technical staff for the new equipment was initially lagging behind the schedule (after the 1st reporting period). The reason was the delay in the purchase of the equipment (WP4), which affected also the recruitment of experienced researchers and technical staff to work with it.
As a first step within this task, a technician for TEM Laboratory was recruited since 01.09.2013. This was Dr. Luben Mihaylov who was responsible for the technical maintenance of the TEM apparatus. Dr. Mihaylov is currently the person in charge of the Laboratory as Prof. Nihtianova is back to her position at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS).
MC of the project decided to appoint in part-time two technicians for the NMR apparatus - Dr. N. Petkova and Dr. N. Burdjiev starting from 01.07.2014 till the end of the project. These two young researchers are currently taking care and are responsible for the NMR Lab established in the Faculty within the project BeyondEverest.
In conclusion, we can report that all three tasks of WP3 were successfully realized during the project. In spite of several obstacles such as the strong competition that the Faculty experienced during the search of experienced researchers with defined research profile from other research institutions abroad, as well as the delay of the equipment acquirement, all tasks were completed as it was planned.
The benefits for the Faculty from the WP3 successful realization could be summarized as follows:
• Introducing of new scientific ideas, know-how and research topics in the most advanced areas of Functional Materials
• Increasing the expertise in the instrumental methods and techniques for materials synthesis and complex properties characterization available in the Faculty
• Preparation and submission of many new research proposals.

Report on WP4. Upgrading and acquisition of research equipment
The WP 4 had the following objectives:
• To improve the scientific equipment of the Faculty in order to increase its research performance and further enhance the quality of research and to strengthen the leading position of the Faculty as a specialized research Centre for Advanced Functional Materials in Bulgaria
• To assist in better integration of the Faculty in the European Research Area as a whole (long lasting partnership with world class research groups elsewhere in Europe)
• To increase the abilities/chances for successful participation of the research groups of the Faculty in FP7/H2020 projects.

The work on the WP was divided into four tasks, two of which were planned to be accomplished within the first 18 months of the project:
Task 4.1 Acquisition of new NMR spectrometer.
Task 4.2 Acquisition of new TEM.
Task 4.3 Acquisition of new equipment for heterogeneous catalytic studies.
Task 4.4 Evaluation of the efficient use of the equipment and measures for its improvement.

The work on these tasks started at the first Management Committee meeting, where two groups were selected to participate in the discussions and selection of the two main apparatuses:
For NMR spectrometer: Prof. G. Vayssilov (leader of WP 4), Assoc. Prof. R. Nikolova (leader of WP 5), Assoc. Prof. O. Petrov, Assoc. Prof. I. Pancheva, and Prof. S. Simova (external expert).
For TEM apparatus: Prof. T. Spassov (Project coordinator and leader of WP 1), Prof. N. Denkov (leader of WP 2), Assoc. Prof. E. Vassileva (leader of WP 6), Assoc. Prof. Stoyan Gutzov, and Assoc. Prof. D. Nihtyanova (external expert).
In order to define the expected performance of the new apparatuses to better serve to the Faculty researchers’ needs several activities were carried out. These activities started with discussions with the research group leaders from the Faculty to define the necessary characteristics of the NMR and TEM taking into account the requirements of all groups with interest in using the equipment. These discussions took place also after the meetings with the producers of the equipment in order to distribute the new technical information and discuss the different options.
The next stage was to discuss the new equipment characteristics and related issues with the Steering Committee (SC) members. Thus these issues were part of the agendas of the kick-off meeting of the Steering Committee in November 2011 as well as of the second SC meeting in September 2012.
In addition, the appropriate technical features of both aparatusses as well as the offers received from the different producers were consulted with external national experts. These consultations were also regularly done at the different stages of the discussions with the producers. The national experts that have been involved in NMR related consultations were Prof. Svetlana Simova, Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Vasilev, Assoc Prof. Pavletta Shestakova (all from the Institute of Organic Chemistry, BAS). Related to the TEM equipment, Assoc. Prof. Diana Nihtyanova from the Institute of Mineralogy and Crystallography, BAS, is one of the leading specialists in Bulgaria for this method and she had been actively involved in all stages of TEM acquisition.
Another way to collect more information about the equipment characteristics was through several visits and meetings with highly qualified experts from the partnering organizations (MPI for Polymer research, Mainz, Germany, TU Munich) and other research institutions (Garching, Germany, IMEC, Heverlee, Belgium).
In November 2011, the representatives of several producers of NMR and TEM apparatuses were invited to preliminary meetings, namely:
• for NMR spectrometer: Bruker Biospin, Agilent Technologies, JEOL Resonance
• for TEM: JEOL, Hitachi, FEI Tecnai, Zeiss-TEM
Following these invitations, several meetings with representatives of the producers have been carried out in Sofia:
• for NMR: 2 meetings with Bruker Biospin, 2 meetings with JEOL Resonance
• for TEM: 3 meetings with JEOL, 1 meeting with Hitachi
In addition, researchers from the Faculty visited the demonstration centers for NMR of Bruker Biospin, Agilent Technologies, JEOL Resonance and arranged additional meetings with their representatives for discussion of the technical details of their offers and the needs of the Faculty research groups. In the demonstration labs samples from Faculty’s groups were provided and the obtained results were compared and evaluated by both the external experts and the Faculty researchers.
All these activities allowed us to compare the advantages and the specific features of the different apparatuses. As a result we were able to select the most appropriate and modern equipment to serve in the best way to the needs of the Faculty research groups, assuring also its proper maintaining by the producers. Since different producers offered different attractive novel components and improvements of the equipment and the Faculty research groups have various research interests, the discussions were very complex and have taken longer time that was planned during the preparation of the proposal.
Due to the importance of the decision for the selection of the equipment based on the available financial resources, the Management board decided to discuss it with the Steering Committee at its second meeting in September 2012 in Varna. There the results from the search of the appropriate equipment, discussions with the producers and experts were presented. After extensive discussion the SC decided that the most appropriate way will be to ask the European Commission for re-directing of some fund from other work packages that were not utilized during the first year of the project, to purchase a better performing equipment. In this way we were able to purchase apparatus for NMR and TEM with optimal for the Faculty’s needs specifications. After the SC meeting, the Project Coordinator informed the Project Officer about this recommendation of the SC and an appropriate modification of the financial plan was allowed. Subsequently new series of meetings with the producers and experts took place and the final specifications for the public tenders were prepared.
The specification for the tender for TEM was ready in January, 2013 and the tender was officially announced in March, 2013. The specification of the NMR was ready in March, 2013 and announcement of the tender followed shortly.
In the meantime the rooms for the equipment have been modified and renovated following the recommendations of experts from the producer.
Under the Task 4.1 the acquisition of the new NMR apparatus was accomplished in the 2nd reporting period. The NMR instrument Avance III 500 MHz Bruker spectrometer was delivered and installed at Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy in April/May 2014 (Figure 1, Appendix 4). It is capable of running 1D and 2D NMR spectra with nuclei that are used for routine measurements – 1H and 13C, as well as the frequency range from 31Р to 15N nuclei. The instrument is equipped with three probe heads. Two of them are for measurement in solution with characteristics of broadband observations (SMART BBO probe) moreover triple resonance broadband probe (TBI probe) is also available. The third probe head is for structure elucidation in solid state (CP/MAS probe).
During the first year of exploitation, some adjustments were indispensable concerning defects on the electronics. In the case of Solid state probe principal and important parts had to be fixed.
The NMR instrument is now used for measurements of different types of samples: small molecule samples and substances with potential biological activity; light-sensitive compounds and dyes; metal complexes; polymer samples; cyclodextrins complexes, etc.
Following the WP4 objectives as well as in relation to WP2 an WP3, two young researchers from the Faculty, later recruited as technical staff in the established NMR Lab, have been trained in one of the partner institutions, namely Central Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford by a leading scientist in NMR Spectroscopy - Prof. Tim Claridge. To this purpose, three visits to this partner laboratory were accomplished. These visits resulted into establishing of a collaboration and good relations with the leading scientists in the field of NMR spectroscopy Prof. Tim Claridge and Dr. Nick Rees. Prof. Claridge also took part in the training school in NMR in Sofia, organized within WP5 of the project (see WP5 report). Within this training course NMR leading scientists as the already mentioned colleagues from Oxford; Prof. Teodor Parella, Director of SeRMN (Servei de Ressonancia Magnetica Nuclear, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) and colleagues from Bulgarian NMR Center of the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Center of Phytochemistry of the Bulgarian Academy of Science shared their experience and made introductory lectures for various NMR methods in order to fully present the opportunities that NMR provides for solving different scientific problems.
Under Task 4.2 a training course was organized in order to introduce the capabilities of the method to the Faculty staff. The course was prepared and presented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nihtyanova and Dr. Mihaylov. The transmission electron microscope JEM-2100 was delivered to the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy in December 2013 and was installed and fully prepared for exploitation in March 2014 (Figure 2, Appendix 4). Within the next few months some technical defects that occurred in the working process have been repaired.
After the installation of the microscope and the training course, the equipment started to work properly and samples from Bulgaria and abroad with interesting properties and potential application in batteries, catalysis, medicine and vehicle tires were investigated. Part of the results has already been published in journals with impact factor. Various types of materials have been investigated by the new TEM in the period 2014-2015: materials with potential application in batteries (TiO2 (anatase) nanotube array, iron oxides or hydroxides on graphene, alkaline-transition metal oxides, etc.); materials with potential application in catalysis (porous materials, mechanically activated nanopowders, Au nanoparticles, etc.); materials with potential application in pharmacy and medicine (hydrogels and nanogels of interpenetrating polymer network as drug delivery systems, nanocrystalline hydroxyapatites, composite materials, etc.); materials with potential application in vehicle tires (carbon silica hybrid fillers, etc.).
Both researchers responsible for the TEM and hired within the project as TEM expert and technical operator, also visited one of the partner institutions, namely the Center for electron microscopy in Max Plank Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. Here they had been trained by a leading specialist in TEM, shared experience and gained new knowledge related to the so many and different applications that the methods provides.
In 2014 two training courses for the personnel of the new TEM laboratory were conducted by specialists from the company producer of the equipment JEOL.
Under Task 4.3 the selection of the catalytic equipment was done going through a set of discussions. The tender was announced in December 2014, the offers received were considered and the selection was made in February-March 2015. After the decision for selection of the provider of the equipment, which was taken on March 18th, 2015, in the 3rd reporting period the delivery contracts were signed. The equipment was delivered, installed and tested in June 2015, and is now smoothly functioning (Figure 3, Appendix 4).
Under Task 4.4 for both TEM and NMR laboratories regulation documents for organization of the work and efficient use of the equipment have been accepted. They provide opportunity for the Faculty staff to use the equipment and regulate the way of using of the equipment by external users.
The purchase of the equipment was behind the planned schedule because during the project duration the Bulgarian law related to big purchases changed and thus unexpectedly the procedures took longer than it was preliminary expected. However in spite of this delay WP4 was successfully accomplished, although this delay affected the recruitment of experienced researchers and technical staff to work with the new equipment as mentioned in the WP3 report.
In summary within the WP4 of the project BeyondEverest new TEM, NMR and catalytic laboratories were established in the Faculty and work successfully and smoothly. In addition these laboratories have already established a set of rules for efficient use of the newly acquired equipment and also an access for all Faculty researchers to the new equipment is ensured.

Report on WP5. Organisation of conferences and dissemination
WP5 aimed at the following objectives:
• To demonstrate the research achievements and increase the recognition of the Faculty in the area of advanced functional materials in the national and international scientific community;
• To promote personal scientific contacts of the research staff of the Faculty with leading researches and experts, and to facilitate staff integration in the thematic networks across Europe;
• To allow immediate access of the local research community to highest quality research, exchange of know-how and technology transfer;
• To increase the visibility of excellence of the Faculty research and its strong contributions in the area of advanced functional materials;
• To enhance the responsiveness of the Faculty and its research staff to society and regional/European development concerns. To improve contacts with the society, policymakers and journalists;
• To promote the co-operation of the Faculty with industrial partners (both large companies and SMEs) and to support the intellectual properties management.
The work on the WP was divided into nine tasks:
Task 5.1 Organization of two general conferences of the project
Task 5.3 Organization of two training events
Task 5.4 Dissemination of the scientific results of the Faculty
Task 5.5 Increasing the visibility of the Faculty in the society
Task 5.6 Presentation of the results and contacts with industry
Task 5.7 Events for increasing the innovation capacity and IP management
Task 5.8 Synchronization of the activities within the project with local, regional or national programmes including
Task 5.9 Preparation of project web site and improvement of the web site of the Faculty.

Within the Task 5.1 two general conferences of the project were organized. The 1st general Conference took place from the 5th to 8th of September, 2012 in Varna, Bulgaria. The 2nd General Conference of the project took place from the 3rd to 6th of September, 2014 in Nessebar, Bulgaria. Both conferences were devoted the Advanced Functional Materials, thus including the four types of materials in the project, namely:
➢ Materials for clean energy
➢ Materials for environment protection
➢ Materials for optics and optoelectronics
➢ Materials with pharmaceutical and medical applications.
Both conferences were attended by researchers from the Faculty, participants from the 5 partnering organizations, as well as by invited scientists from other Bulgarian and foreign institutions. There were also representatives from industry, e.g. from the largest pharmaceutical company in Bulgaria - Actavis. The conferences were a successful and very useful attempt in establishing closer contacts between scientists from the Faculty and the partnering organizations.
The total number of participants in the 1st conference was 112 (7 plenary and 7 keynote lectures, 17 oral presentations and 47 posters). More details about the 1st Conference “Advanced Functional Materials” are presented in Deliverable 5.1.
In the 2nd conference there were 100 participants (2 plenary and 8 keynote lectures, 32 oral presentations, 6 short oral presentations presented by young scientists from the Faculty and 52 posters). More details about the 2nd Conference “Advanced Functional Materials” are presented in Deliverable 5.2.
At both conferences a friendly atmosphere for scientific discussions and new collaborations initiation was provided. As it was expected the presentations were at the forefront of the materials science and were a fruitful way for exchange of new knowledge and ideas.
The Conferences’ Programs are presented in the project webpage (http://beyondeverest.org).
Under the Task 5.2 one thematic workshop with topic “Materials for Medicine and Pharmacy” was organized within the 1st reporting period. It was carried out from the 9th to 12th May, 2012 in Velingrad, Bulgaria. There were 17 oral and 11 short oral presentations presented by researchers from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy and also from one of the partnering organizations - University of Turin, Italy. As it was planned, the 1st thematic workshop gathered together the scientists from the Faculty working in the area of biomaterials and pharmacy. The workshop demonstrated that this topic is common for many researchers and groups in the Faculty (http://beyondeverest.org/?p=1686).
During the 2nd reporting period four thematic workshops with different topics were organized within this task.
The 2nd workshop within “BeyondEverest” project was devoted to “Materials for Clean Energy and Optics”. The workshop was held from 4th to 7th of April, 2013 in Pravets, Bulgaria. The workshop was attended by researchers from the Faculty, from two of the partners institutions – University of Torino and Technical University of Munich as well as from guest researchers being at short term visits at the Faculty at this time. There were 5 keynote lectures, 14 oral presentations and 11 short oral presentations and in total 57 participants (http://beyondeverest.org/?cat=15 ).
The 3rd workshop within “BeyondEverest” project was about “Materials for Environmental Protection”. The workshop was held from 22nd to 25th of June, 2013 in Varna, Bulgaria. The workshop was attended by researchers from the Faculty, from two of the partners institutions – University of Torino and Technical University of Munich as well as from guest researchers being at short term visits at the Faculty. There were 5 keynote lectures, 10 oral presentations and 11 short oral presentations and about 40 participants. (http://beyondeverest.org/?cat=15 ).
The 4th Workshop “Synthesis and Characterization of Nano-materials” took place from 3rd to 6th of April, 2014 in Borovets, Bulgaria. The Workshop aimed at sharing experience and knowledge between scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, partnering organizations and other experts in the field of nanomaterilas. The Workshop provided friendly environment to encourage the interaction and discussions between participants, fostering new ideas and collaborations. There were 5 keynote lectures, 15 oral presentations and 7 short oral presentations and about 52 participants (http://beyondeverest.org/?cat=15 ).
In addition to the planned 4 workshops within Task 5.2., a special workshop devoted to the applied research performed at the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharamcy, Sofia University was organized. Its topic was “Applied Research on Functional Materials” and was held in Velingrad, Bulgaria from 11th to 14th December, 2014. Here also representatives of industrial companies such as Actavis (Dupnitsa), AMG technology (Botevgrad), Unilever (Netherlands), presented their own activities, and also participated in the discussions about the achievements of the Faculty researchers in the field of applied research. There were 16 oral presentations and 8 short oral presentations and about 54 participants (http://beyondeverest.org/?cat=15).
All these workshops being devoted to different types of materials and related applications significantly contributed for establishing new fruitful collaboration between researchers from the Faculty and partnering institutions as well as were a friendly place to exchange ideas, knowledge and know how.
The work on Task 5.3 Organization of two training events did not started within the first 18 months of the project because of the already described delay of the equipment acquisition. The work on this task started with a seminar on TEM principles, equipment and applications held during the 2nd reporting period. This seminar was prepared from Prof. Dr. D. Nihtiyanova and Dr. L. Mihaylov – both researchers recruited within the project in order to ensure the smooth installation and exploitation of TEM equipment. The seminar was held once per week in the period 22.05-19.06.2014. In total 5 lectures (each one 3 hours) were presented. The lectures were attended from Faculty staff as well as from students interested in the opportunities that this methods provides.
The training course on NMR “NMR spectroscopy – principles and applications” was held on the 16th of March, 2015 at the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University. The course was based on lectures of NMR experts from Bulgaria and abroad, including one of the partnering institutions – Oxford University, who presented the principles of different NMR techniques along with their applications in materials science.
Under the Task 5.4 Dissemination of the scientific results of the Faculty two main activities were planned:
- Participation of the Faculty staff in scientific conferences and events.
The full list of the Faculty staff participations in scientific conferences and events funded by the project within the 1st reporting period is presented in Deliverable 5.5 List of publications and conference participations. In addition, the reports and some more details about these conference participations are presented in Deliverable 5.7 Reports on the participation in scientific events. During the first period in total 13 participations of the Faculty staff in scientific conferences and workshops were funded by the project. Many of the Faculty scientists who attended these conferences were also members of the Scientific and Organizing Committees, International Advisory Board, chaired sessions, etc. (Prof. P. Kralchevsky, Prof. N. Denkov, Prof. G. Vayssilov, Prof. A. Tadjer). The conferences were very useful for making new contacts between the scientist form the Faculty and other researchers as it was revealed in most of the reports presented in Deliverable 5.7.
The number of conference participations significantly increased during the 2nd reporting period. It is listed in Deliverable 5.6 List of publications and conference participations. Several of the reports that the researchers, who attended a scientific event with the BeyondEverest project financial support delivered, are presented in Deliverable 5.8. In total 63 participations of the Faculty staff in scientific conferences and workshops were funded by the project within the 2nd reporting period. This number is almost 5 times higher than the number of participations during the 1st period. Thus the activity of the Faculty researchers in dissemination of their research increased 5 fold times in a similar way to their outgoing visits number increase (see WP3 report). Through this activity a very effective dissemination of the research performed at the Faculty in the field of Advanced Functional Materials among the scientific community was achieved.
- Stimulating the dissemination of Faculty knowledge through publications into high quality scientific journals.
This action aimed to stimulate the dissemination of Faculty knowledge through publications into high quality scientific journals. This activity was detailed described in Deliverable 5.5. In total 33 publications during the first 12 months of the project were published by the Faculty researchers in journals with Impact Factor (IF)>3, the highest IF being 9.907 (in JACS). The full list of these 33 papers is enclosed as Appendix 1 in Deliverable 5.5. With a specially designed formula (presented in Deliverable 5.5) the authors of these papers were financially awarded depending on their contribution to the papers.
For the 2nd reporting period, this activity was detailed presented in Deliverable 5.6. and it appeared very successful. In total 169 publications during the period 01.04.2013-31.03.2015 were published by the Faculty researchers in different scientific journals which is a much higher number than the papers published during the 1st reporting period. The full list of these 169 papers is enclosed to the final report. With a specially designed formula the authors of the papers with IF>3 were financially awarded depending on their contribution to the papers.
The final statistic is presented in Table 5.1, Appendix 5.

Table 5.1. Publication activity of the Faculty’s researchers during the project life time.
Topic Materials for clean energy Materials for environment protection Materials for optical electronics Materials for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications
Reporting period 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
No of papers in journals with IF>3 8 14 9 20 5 12 12 36
average IF 4.29 4.80 4.69 5.31 4.33 4.46 4.66 7.49
Highest IF 5.925 11.261 7.286 7.776 8.12 7.776 9.907 46.568

The following trends could be outlined from the Table 5.1:
• The number of papers in journals with IF>3 increased for all types of materials when comparing the 1st with the 2nd reporting period
• The average impact factor of the journals where Faculty’s researchers published increase for all four types of materials developed in the Faculty
• The highest IF of a journal where research done in the Faculty was published significantly increased when comparing the 1st with the 2nd reporting period.
All these results demonstrate an increased quality of the research performed in the Faculty as well as a tendency of the Faculty researchers to publish in journals with high IF.
The work on Task 5.5 Increasing the visibility of the Faculty in the society was divided in several directions depending on the target group.
- Popular publications and publications in magazines;
There were several publications in popular magazines, journals, newspapers, etc. where scientists form the Faculty described their research and the perspectives for future developments based on it bringing the research subjects closer to the society. These activities are presented in a table to the final report.
- Organization of 3 promotional events
The aim of the promotional events was to make closer contacts with journalists and find “common language” in order to make easier the communication between both parties. As a result of consultations with professional journalists on the efficiency of the project results dissemination among broader audience, we accepted a different approach for realizing this task – direct communication with journalists from different media and publishing popular articles, describing project results and achievements. Moreover, we used other initiatives that have been carried out within the project BeyondEverest as workshops, meetings with industry, etc. to meet and speak with journalists. These events were used because a better benefit for the project was expected in this way – to relate the project activities and the establishing of closer relations with journalists. In this respect the PR company hired within the project was very helpful and actively supported these initiatives. The good results from this approach are seen in the high number of media related events. A good coverage of the project activities by different Bulgarian TVs was ensured during the whole project duration.
- Meetings with policymakers with special accent on demonstration of responsiveness to society and European development concerns.
During all events organized within the project as well as with all performed activities the contact with policymakers was sought and whenever realized it was used for making dialog and achieving an agreement on the significance of science for the Bulgarian society. All the efforts of the Faculty staff were directed to change the understanding that the policymakers have for the role of science (traditionally underestimated during last 20 years) and pointing out the importance of knowledge and scientific achievements for the Bulgarian society development. The first 18 months of the project coincided with very important events that took place within the Bulgarian National Science Foundation and Bulgarian Ministry of Education, Youth and Science. The scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Sofia actively participated into the fight against the improper distribution of the money for science that took place during the call for proposals organized by the Bulgarian National Science Foundation in 2012. Due to this activities of the Faculty staff, after the Managing Committee of the Bulgarian National Science Foundation change, scientists form the Faculty were active involved in the preparation of the next programmes for science in Bulgaria related to the EU Programme Horizon 2020 (Prof. Denkov), the start of the Sofia Tech Park (Prof. Spassov) and in defining the next work programme and priorities of the Bulgarian National Science Foundation (Prof. Vayssilov is currently Director of Bulgaria National Science Foundation). The scientists from the Faculty were very highly evaluated for their scientific achievements, but also for the demonstrated responsibility to society by standing up behind the right principles of science funding.
Scientists from the Faculty (Prof. N. Denkov, Prof. T. Spassov, Prof. G. Vayssilov) were one of the most active participants in the preparation of the very important for the Bulgarian research community Operational program “Education and science for intelligent growth”. This program is already a fact and Prof. N. Denkov is responsible for it as a Deputy Minister of the Education and Science in Bulgaria (since 2014).
Two proposals (Teaming and Twinning programs of Horizon 2020) with the Faculty as a coordinator were submitted in 2014-2015. Although the first one could not succeed it was an excellent experience for the Faculty to prepare a joint project with the highly knowledgeable colleagues from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, learning from their outstanding skills in raising money for research. The Twinning proposal (Horizon 2020) of the Faculty was prepared with partners from Cambridge University (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy), Max-Plank Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz and University of Barcelona (Department of Chemistry).
Other project activities directed to dissemination of the activities and achievements of the Faculty among policymakers, stakeholders, public institutions in the field of science and education include:
- The university authorities have been regularly informed about the project activities development; they were also invited to some project events.
- The ministry of education and science of Bulgaria (MES) was informed about the project achievements and as a result it was evaluated by MES as one of the most successful projects for 2013.
- The planned activities of Sofia Tech Park (largest national science and technology park) include areas of research, which are also focus areas of the project Beyond Everest.
- Information about the project objectives and achievements was discussed with the representatives of the Bulgarian President institution.
- During the visit of the European Commissioner Johanes Hahn in the Faculty (2013) the Coordinator of the project (prof. T. Spassov) presented the goals and key results of the project. The Faculty was one of the 3 places that the Commissioner has visited in Bulgaria. The Deputy Minister in Economics has sent a special letter to Prof. Spassov in order to thank for the excellent organization of the visit (Appendix 5).
- Presentation by the project Coordinator of the project achievements at the European Entrepreneurs day “Innovation and Entrepreneurship – growth for Europe” (2014)
- The Coordinator of the project Prof. T. Spassov explained the project goals and attained results during his visit at Hebrew university Jerusalem (2014) as a part of the Sofia University authorities, discussing a joint Teaming project (Horizon 2020).
Thus the involvement of the Faculty’s scientists in the dialog with policymakers and authorities resulted into a significant enhancement of the role of the Faculty as a leading scientific center in Bulgaria.
- Events for science communication in front of high school and undergraduate students for raising their awareness of science and its role for the society.
To increase the visibility of the Faculty in the society regular visits of pupils from different schools in Sofia were organized to the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy. Here, supervised by students and researchers from the Faculty, the pupils were able to perform by themselves interesting experiments. These visit are now traditional for the Faculty and there are very close relationships between the teachers in chemistry in the high schools and researchers from the Faculty acting together into rising the pupils’ interests in science and in particular in chemistry. Part of these visits are included in the list with dissemination activities related to the proposal. As well as presented at the project website (http://beyondeverest.org/?p=1739).
The Faculty has established a team for science communication consisting of students and researchers from the Faculty. They have already vast experience in working with the pupils allowing them to perform by themselves interesting experiments. These activities are now tradition in the Faculty, thankfully also to the project “BeyondEverest” which was a stimulus for further developing of this team.
Also traditional for the Faculty is the participation of researchers and students from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Sofia Science Festival – an event for science communication held during the spring every year.
In all events and actions aiming at achieving a good visibility of the Faculty in the society the project was supported by a specially hired PR company “Ancor Agente” (www.ancoragente.com/home.html) which was actively involved in the organization and popularization of all these events.
The work on Task 5.6 Presentation of the results and contacts with industry was concentrated in creating closer contacts with industrial partners from Bulgaria and from abroad. Within the project was initiated Seminar with Industry. The first seminar was organized on the 12th of January, 2012. The first lecture was delivered by Mr. Ivan Urumov, Executive Manager of “Actavis Operations”, the biggest pharmaceutical company in Bulgaria. After this lecture the contacts between the company and the Faculty researchers become very close and the cooperation is very intensive now. Representatives from the company have attended both dissemination events organized within the project during the first 18 months - the 1st General conference “Advanced Functional Materials” and the 1st Workshop “Materials for Medicine and Pharmacy “. The Director of the Research and Development unit of the company Mr. Philip Svetoslavov became a member of the SC of the project and actively participated in the 2nd SC meeting. On the other hand, the scientists form the Faculty started a series of lectures aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of employees form the company.
During the 2nd reporting period 4 workshops were organized within the project and there representatives of industry – local and international - were always invited. Moreover during this period was organized a special seminar entitled „Fundamental and applied research, innovations and commercialization of the scientific results”. The Seminar took place on July 24th, 2014 in Sofia (http://beyondeverest.org/?p=2001&lang=bg). Lecturers of the Seminar were Mrs. Sasha Bezuhanova, founder of the civil platform for democracy, public discussions and debates on the national policies for modern development of Bulgaria - MoveBG, Mrs. Elitsa Panayotova, Executive Director of Sofia Tech Park, Professor Plamen Atanassov, University of New Mexico, USA, Professor Simeon Stoyanov, Unilever R&D and Wageningen University, NL and University College London, UK, Professor Nikolai Denkov, Head of the Department on Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University, etc.
The lecturers shared their experience and views in innovations development as well as in the transfer of science-generated knowledge into real application solutions. The seminar aimed to find ways for encouraging the innovations and innovative thinking in Bulgarian research institutions and particularly in the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy as beneficent of the FP7 Project “BeyondEverest”.
The contacts with industrial partners were also developed through the short term visits of scientists coming within WP3. Several scientists coming for short visits were from companies and their lectures continued successfully the Seminar with Industry.
For the 1st reporting period these were as follows:
Dr. Vladimir Gelev FB Reagents, Boston, USA
Prof. Dr. Simeon Stoyanov Research & Development, Unilever, Vlaardingen, Netherlands (2 visits)
Dr. Ranko Bontchev Cabot Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Dr. Tsvetelina Lazarova MedChem Partners, Medford, MA, USA
Dr. Dimitar Prodanov Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC), Leuven, Belgium
Dr. Nikoleta Simeonova LifeTEC Network, LESA Project, Maastricht, Netherlands
Between the Faculty staff and these scientists started some new collaborations and continued old ones, as described in WP3 Report.
For the 2nd reporting period these guest scientists were as follows:
Prof. Dr. Simeon Stoyanov Research & Development, Unilever, Vlaardingen, Netherlands (5 visits)
Dr. Georgi Mihov DSM Ahead Materials Sciences R&D, Galeen, Holland
Dr. Tatyana Dimitrova Dow Corning (Europe), Seneffe, Belgium ((2 visits)
Prof. Dr. Jordan Petkov Research & Development, Unilever, Port Sunlight, UK
Dr. Metodi Bozukov AlphaFit GmbH, Wertheim, Germany
Dr. Evgeny Kolev Universal Oil Products (Honeywell), Des Plaines, Illinois, USA
Dr. Krassimir Velikov Research & Development, Unilever, Vlaardingen, Holland
Between the Faculty staff and these scientists started some new collaborations and continued old ones, as described in WP3 Report.
Thus, the meetings with industry have become something usual for most of the Faculty researchers and these were the first steps in starting friendly dialog and trying to define topics of mutual interest with industrial partners. As a proof, new joint projects between Faculty researchers and industry representatives have already started (WP3 Report, Application 3).

Task 5.7 Events for increasing the innovation capacity and IP management
One of the forms to increase the innovation and IP management culture of the Faculty staff was to use the experience of some of our project-guests (some of them especially invited with this purpose, e.g. Prof. Simeon Stoyanov, Prof. Plamen Atanassov), who shared their rich experience in the commercialization of research and IPR related issues and who gave valuable directions for improvement of these important for the Faculty concerns. These colleagues had lectures of the above mentioned specially organized seminar for innovations held in July 2014 in Sofia.
Another, very important source of knowledge in this matter was the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the University of Sofia (located in the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy). The cooperation with the TTO was very fruitful for the implementation of the project tasks on innovations and IP management due to the accumulated experience of this Office and already achieved close personal collaboration with the Faculty researchers. 2 days seminar on IP management and technology transfer was organized by the specialists of TTO. Additionally, Ms. Zlatina Karova (chair of the TTO) attended the Workshop in Velingrad (December 2014), where a round table on the commercialization and innovation capacity of the Faculty was organized.
Only because of these activities directed to increasing the innovation capacity of the Faculty we were able to create a first version of our Research Strategy for innovations, which could be considered as a program-document, acknowledged by the whole Faculty as a key instrument to raise the money for research.
We have used very fruitfully the experience of the visiting scientists. For example two of the short visits guests Dr. Tsvetelina Lazarova and Dr. Nikoleta Simeonova shared their rich experience in the IPR related issues and gave valuable directions for improvement of the IP management in the Faculty.
Under the Task 5.8 Synchronization of the activities within the project with local, regional or national programmes the activities of the Faculty staff were directed onto the exploitation of the possibilities and organization of the preparation of proposals for improvement of the research capacity of the Faculty with financial support from structural and cohesion funds of EU. In this direction a proposal for creating of Centre for science and technology transfer – SU “St. Kl. Ohridski” was prepared by the project MC members Prof. Spassov and Prof. Denkov in collaboration with the visiting researchers Prof. S. Stoyanov and Dr. V. Petrov. The first draft of the project “Centre for science and technology transfer – Sofia University” including Business plan was already developed. The aim of this new project is to build a new campus of Sofia University by using the financial support of external investors. The new campus will provide University of Sofia with scientific technology transfer and innovation center, which is a way to direct more effectively the research in the University towards practical applications. The center is planned to have both complete (comprehensive) analytic laboratories and offices for starting innovative companies. This will give additional possibilities to the scientists and students from Sofia University to participate in real applied scientific research projects.
Concerning the preparation of joint proposals between the research groups in the Faculty and incoming visitors, already some research projects submitted to e.g. the National Science Fund were prepared as demonstrated (WP3 Report, Appendix 3).
The second large project initiated by the Faculty in continuation of the activities for reaching the aims of the present project BeyondEverest is directed to establishment of center of excellence for interdisciplinary research at Sofia University (CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IN INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH “St. Kliment Ohridski” (CINTES), BG Operational program Education and research for intelligent growth). The main research areas in this project cover to a large extent the field of Functional materials, which is the focus of the project BeyondEverest.
Task 5.9 Preparation of project web site and improvement of the web site of the Faculty.
The web site of the project was prepared (http://beyondeverest.org/) and is running since December 2011. It includes information divided in 3 sections: project overview, project activities and the four different types of materials related to the project where the groups from the Faculty working on them are presented. The materials are updated regularly. The website development is well described in Deliverables 5.3 and 5.4.

Report on WP6. Evaluation of the research potential
The main objectives arof WP6 were:
• Evaluation of the research quality and capability of the Faculty by international independent experts in view of the strategic development of the Faculty as regional flagship in the field of Advanced functional materials;
• Orientation of the plan towards increasing contribution to regional economic and social development, for benefit of the national industry and the society.
Workpackage 6 was the last workpackage with the project “BeyondEverest” which took place in the last six months of the project, i.e. within months 43-48.
The WP activities realized under the WP tasks are presented below.
Task 6.1 Preliminary visits of the evaluators in the Faculty during the project.
The first step was to select the evaluators which had to perform the main activities within WP6, namely to evaluate the Faculty’s research potential. In month 47 list of six possible evaluators was provided by the Project Officer and the Coordinator of the project BeyondEverest Prof. Tony Spassov started negotiations about their availability to carry out the evaluation procedure in Sofia. Three of the experts were unavailable for the evaluation period (September, 2015; month 48). Thus finally the following three experts were invited to carry out the evaluation:
1. Prof. Marko Anderluh, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
2. Prof. Jose Farinha, Department of Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon
3. Dr. Miguel Ares, Department in Optical Engineering, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Prof. Anderluh was chosen to be the Chair of the evaluation team. Thus at month 47, the evaluation team was established and ready for the evaluation procedure.
Due to the shortness of time a preliminary visit of the evaluators in the Faculty was not realized, but the communication with the three evaluators was very intensive and they have put their requirements for preliminary data/information/etc. needed for the start of their work via e-mail.
Task 6.2 Preparation of the Faculty for evaluation.
The preparation of the Faculty for the evaluation started even before the evaluators were appointed. Information from the group leaders was collected concerning all activities of the groups that took place during the project duration, e.g. publication activity, conference participations, proposals submitted and project funded, etc.
The information was collected and put together by the Mc members. Thus at month 47, several documents were prepared that have been further submitted to evaluators, namely:
• List of publications of the Faculty researchers, participating in the project, for the whole duration of the project.
• List of conference participation during the project
• List of networking visits of scientists from the Faculty
• List of guests scientists who visited the Faculty with topics of their visits and research interests
• List of proposals submitted by the Faculty’s researchers, in which the joined proposals with collaborators from the partnering organizations as well as with guests scientists were explicitly pointed out, etc.
This information, together with both periodoic reports was submitted to the evaluators and thus their preliminary acquaintance with the Faculty and its research activities started.
In the meantime, the technical preparation of evaluators’ visit was also running in terms of accommodation and traveling arrangements, adjusting the Agenda of their visit, etc.
Contracts of the evaluators were send to them in order to be preliminary acquainted with their exact responsibilities and the deadlines for their activities.
Task 6.3 Visit of the evaluators in the Faculty
The first visit of evaluators in the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University took place from 1st to 3rd of September, 2015, i.e. at the very beginning of the 48th month of the project. The evaluators were acquainted with the project aims by the Project Coordinator and then the objectives of each Workpackage were presented by the respective WP Leader along with the activities that have been realized related to these objectives. During the presentations vivid discussions took place where the evaluators and the Management team of the project have discussed the activities in an open and friendly manner.
The evaluators were also able to see the main Faculty’s Laboratories, paying more attention to the new ones built up especially for the newly acquired equipment – TEM, NMR and catalytic one.
The evaluators had also meetings with policy makers (e.g. the Deputy Minister of the Education and Science in Bulgaria Prof. Nikolaj Denkov, also member of the Management Committee (MC) of the project), industrial representative, group leaders of the research groups from the Faculty participating in the project, collaborators from other Bulgarian scientific institutions, etc.
The evaluators have asked for a meeting with the young people in the Faculty – PhD Students, Assistant Professors, etc. and this meeting was also realized.
During their visit, the evaluators had the opportunity to discuss each topic and detail about the project realization with the members of the MC. Moreover, they had time also to discuss between themselves and started the preparation of the evaluation report.
Task 6.4 Preparation (by evaluators) of the evaluation report, conclusions and recommendations for the future strategic development of the Faculty in the field of advanced functional materials.
The evaluators had prepared and submit their report to the Coordinator of the project BeyondEverest Prof. Tony Spassov. They have successfully obeyed the deadline and were invited to the Faculty at the end of September (28-29.09.2015) to present their evaluation report. During this 2nd visit, the evaluators have presented their views towards the activities which were realized in the Faculty throughout the project. They have outlined the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that they have noticed for the Faculty and these were discussed in detail with Faculty’s researchers, MC members, etc.
Finally the evaluators have summarized their comments and recommendations and the evaluation report has been prepared. This one was also submitted as Deliverable 6.1.
Task 6.5 Update of the Research strategy for innovation according to the experts’ recommendations
The evaluators have also pointed out some important, according to them, issues and made them as recommendations to be added to the existing research strategy for innovation of the faculty (Deliverable 5.9) These include:
Infrastructure
• Space. The infrastructure offers enough space for research, but most laboratories need
refurbishing and modernization.
• Research equipment. Some of the research equipment available in the Faculty is outdated, so a long-term strategic plan should be created to improve the access to large equipment.
• Funding strategy. The Faculty should coin a large plan with detailed strategy to compete for the Operational Programme and similar calls.
Human resources
The evaluators agree that the FCP greatest value is its human potential.
• Teaching load reduction. The current teaching load is quite high compared to the average in western universities. This strongly limits the faculty ability to dedicate their time to research activities. Research should be better recognized by the university as one of the fundamental missions of faculty members, on equal terms to teaching.
• Reinforcing the technical staff for large equipment.
• Appointing a Research Manager to coordinate research groups and their interaction with stakeholders and external partners, procure new project calls, support the faculty in preparing proposals, etc.
• Side funds for PhD grants. University PhD grants provide only the stipend of recruited PhD students. A small increase in the value of the PhD grants is advisable, in order to cover the costs for a minimum of visits to foreign laboratories and conferences, and to cover the cost for basic materials and consumables of the PhD project.
• Attract experienced researchers. Post-doc positions should also be implemented, since these are usually an important driving force for successful research teams.
• Increase faculty international experience. A program to allow short-term or postdoctoral stays abroad of Bulgarian young scientists should be organized.
Research activity
• Periodic research evaluation.
• Rewards for excellent research. We recommend to keep financial bonus to groups with excellent peer-reviewed publications (papers) but also extend it to IPR publications (patents).
• Collaboration with industry. Allow the Faculty to retain part of the IP, which eventually could lead to royalties. For this a common IP policy should be defined and put in effect.
• International collaboration. These collaborations should be used to maintain the high quality scientific production and to be able to prepare join proposals for financing research.
Faculty structuring
• Formation of Focused Research Clusters.
• Analytical Counsel and Materials Characterization Counsel.
• Sofia Science and Technology Park. The good relations and involvement of the Faculty in the newly established Sofia Science and Technology Park should be used to reach otential customers of the Chemical Analysis and Materials Characterization facilities.
• Faculty Webpage should be updated with better and more userfriendly information on the research groups.
Funding
• Sustainable funding of the research work.
• Increase of overheads.
• Academia-Private initiative.
• Centre of Excellence / Centre of Competence.
• Visibility of the faculty.
• Project Office.
The Research strategy for innovation of the Faculty has been updated according to the above mentioned evaluators’ recommendations.

Potential Impact:
The potential impact
The project aimed to fully develop the research potential of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sofia University with focus on Advanced Functional Materials and to strengthen its capacity for successful participation in world-class research activities at European Union level. The impact of the project Beyond Everest was as expected very high in relation to both – the increase of the research capacity of the Faculty staff as well as increased visibility of the Faculty as a leading research center in Bulgaria and the region for both scientific community and society.
The impact of the project onto the research capacity of the Faculty is illustrated by:
• Increase in the publication activity of the Faculty as the Project BeyondEverest has helped to keep the number of publications during the last three years, when the Bulgarian National Science Fund did not work properly. Besides the Faculty’s researcher now publish in journals with higher impact factor as compared to the period before the project
• Improvement of the Faculty’s research environment by extending the existing research infrastructure for ensuring a ground for excellent cutting-edge research. In this respect the project contributed in enriching the main facilities available in the Faculty with the new equipment bought in the frame of the project – TEM, NMR, catalytic equipment
• Reinforcing the human resources of the Faculty through the realized recruitment of experienced researchers
• Strengthening the research excellence of the Faculty through transfer of know-how and experience and building of strategic partnerships with European research institutions at the world top level as revealed by the number of joint research projects (e.g. National Science Foundation – Bulgaria; Bilateral projects; Horizon 2020, Teaming project, Twinning project; Centre of excellence)
• Strengthening the interaction between the research groups within the Faculty as a result of the numerous seminars, discussions with visiting researchers from abroad, workshops, conferences, clusters formation, etc.
• Intensive exchange of ideas, “know-how”, scientific results realized through a high number of short-term visits of Bulgarian researchers working abroad, intensively running of the Faculty’s Seminar on Functional materials, etc.
• Upgraded research strategy of the Faculty.
The impact of the project on the visibility of the Faculty among scientific community was attained via:
• The scientific events, organized by the Faculty within the frame of the project BeyondEverest. These include two general conferences and 5 workshops organized within the project
• The Faculty’s forums and scientific events supported by the project as e.g. the Scientific Conference of the Faculty organized yearly since 2008, the National conference for young researchers organized yearly since 2000, etc.
• The increased participation of Faculty’s researchers at high level scientific events as proved by the high number of conference participation for the project lifetime
• The encouragement of the publication in high imact factor (IF) journals which resulted in both increase in the average IF as well of the highest IF of the journals where the research staff of the Faculty now publishes.

The impact of the project on the visibility of the excellence of the Faculty’s research for industry as revealed by:
• Intensifying the cooperation with industry through increasing the number of meetings with industry representatives, e.g. intensified contacts with Actavis, BIOVET, AMG Technology, Unilever, etc.
• Developing an Innovation and commercialization strategy of the Faculty. The innovation potential of the Faculty was assessed by external experts, working for the World Bank. This assessment includes analysis of the human capital, research infrastructure, collaborations, comparison with other international institutions, etc.
• Active participation of Faculty researchers in nationaly important projects like Sofia Tech Park, Operative Programme for Science, etc.
• Developing the Plan for Campus Lozenetz where the 4 Faculties of natural sciences from Sofia University are situated and offer a unique opportunity for creation of modern University Campus. This Campus aims to provide improvement in quality of education thus helping to attract and retain talented students and create a modern Uni Tech Park also in favour of industry. Faculty’s scientists initiated and actively participated in the project proposal and business plan development. The project was accepted by the University Council and now an investor has been looked for.
The impact of the project on the visibility of the excellence of the Faculty’s research at European and world level for society is illustrated by:
• Enhanced interaction of the Faculty with Bulgarian government institutions – Ministry of Economy, Ministry of education and science, Sofia Municipality, etc.
• Efforts form the Faculty researchers to change the National Innovation and Science Policies and related laws and to create incentives for innovative research. As a result of these efforts, three members from the project MC became popular in the public space. The project coordinator Prof. Tony Spassov who is a candidate for Rector of Sofia University and is also deeply involved in the Sofia Tech Park establishment and development. Prof. N. Denkov (Leader of WP2) who is the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education and Science and responsible for the Operative Programme for Science. Prof. G. Vayssilov (Leader of WP4) who is now the Director of the Bulgarian National Science Fund. These positions are a recognition for the Faculty’s leading role in Bulgarian science and its authority with not only the scientific community in Bulgaria but also with society in general.
In summary, the impact from the project successful realization is as high as expected. The good results – the increased publication activity, the intensified interactions within the Faculty and with external partners in fact paved the way of the Faculty as a first class player in science at the national and regional level. The project was a way for the Faculty not only to overcome the lack of national funding for research but also to increase significantly its human resources potential, its networking with world class research institutions as well as the quality and the high standard of the research performed here. The next step after the project BeyondEverest was defined by the SC members at their last meeting, and also was agreed with the EU appointed evaluators,t will be the application for Center of Excellence within the Operational program for Science as well as applications to other EU funded programs.
Main dissemination activities and exploitation of results
The dissemination activities realized within the project were many and different in nature. They could be divided into the following categories:
Dissemination activities towards the scientific community:
• Project website (beyondeverest.org)
• Project conferences and workshops
• Participations at scientific conferences and workshops
• Publications
• Training courses
Dissemination activities towards society:
• Press releases
• Publications in popular magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.
• Making live shows for pupils
• Presenting Faculty and project activities at exhibitions, fairs, etc.
• Participations at Sofia Science Festival.
These activities are detailed explained and described in the project reports, including the final one (see WP5 report).

Exploitation of results
The project outcomes will be disseminated beyond the project duration from all participants. The project activities resulted in many new ideas generation as well as in new collaborations establishment. Thus research proposals and plans to start/continue collaborations between researchers from the Faculty and partnering organizations are under way. Moreover, the attained through the project BeyondEverest results paved the way of the Faculty for transforming into a leading research institution in the field of Advanced Materials at national and regional level. The next step being the application for funding as Center for Excellence within the Operative Programme thus attaining sustainable development and further increasing of the Faculty’s research excellence.

List of Websites:
www.beyondeverest.org

Contact

Tony Spassov, (Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry)
Tel.: +359 2 81 61 236
Fax: +359 2 962 54 38
E-mail
Record Number: 187935 / Last updated on: 2016-08-12