Ict rt di strategy for the faculty of mathematics and informatics of sofia university
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ICT RT DI Strategy for the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Sofia University. Maria Nisheva, Petko Rouskov, Elissaveta Gourova, Yanka Todorova. Introduction.

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ICT RT DI Strategy for the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Sofia University

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ICT RTDI Strategy for the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Sofia University

Maria Nisheva, Petko Rouskov, Elissaveta Gourova,

Yanka Todorova


  • The main goal of SISTER project is to develop FMI as a Leading Centre in South-East Europe (SEE) in research, innovation and training in the area of ICT.

  • Definition of an ICT Research, Technology, Development and Innovation (RTDI) strategy of FMI: one of the main goals within the project SISTER

  • The most considerable feature of thisstrategy is its scope – there exist a lot of successful ICT RTDI strategies for whole universities but theFMI team did not find any RTDI strategy for a particular faculty.

Three phases of the work:

  • identification of research competencies of FMI, technology trends and ICT research needs;

  • preparation and validation of ICT RTDI strategy for FMI;

  • development of scenarios and elaboration of a detailed action plan for ICT research and trainingwithin SISTER.

  • First phase: analysis of the state-of-the-art in ICT, theneeds and available resources.


    • Environmental scanning: Analysis of European and national reports, web sites, scientific literature,media publications, etc.

  • SWOT analysis: Special attention to the research competences of FMI, the FMI positioningin the area of ICT in Bulgaria and the region, and the opportunities and threats for its furtherdevelopment and integration into ERA and European Higher education area.

  • Issue survey: A web-based survey in a significant number of enterprises, policymakers and local authorities in Bulgaria, among FMI researchers and ICT end-users in order todetermine the large societal and economic needs for research and training in ICT.

  • Second phase: preparation of ICT RTDI strategy for FMI.

    • The first Expert panel meeting: helped to identify the strategic priorities and the relatedactions for RTDI in ICT at FMI

    • The current second Expert panel meeting: will help to validate the RTDI Strategy and will support the definition of an Action plan for ICT development at FMI within SISTER project

  • Third phase:will ensure a framework for implementation of SISTER activities and networking. The strategy and the action plan will provide guidelines for capacitystrengthening in research and innovation. They will also streamline the education activities of FMI teamin ICT in accordance with the industry, economic and societal needs and the best practices.

Formal strategic planning is a relatively new phenomenon at Sofia University. At present, no approved University and Faculty strategic plans exist. Therefore, the FMI team follows the best practice and benchmarking of the university leaders. In particular, the strategy plan is defined following the Kaplan and Norton Strategy Maps methodology.

FMI Objectives and Priorities in the Area of ICT

  • FMI Vision: Create a Faculty community that becomes locally and internationally recognized in research, teaching and service, and recognized nationally for student excellence. This will establish a reputation of being more valuable to all stakeholders.

  • FMI Mission: To provide a flexible, multi-disciplinary environment for high quality informatics research and education using the innovation, latest technologies and world expertise. To achieve excellence in research and teaching within the university, country and international IT communities.

  • FMI Strategic Objectives: The Faculty mission and vision reflect on taking more stakeholders oriented decisions.

The strategy suggests to adopt the following goals:

  • Undertake continuous efforts to progress the quality of Faculty’s education, training, research and information services to gain program competitiveness, high levels of achievement and a knowledgeable community.

  • Ensure that education and research services are relevant to the needs of Bulgarian people, industry and local and state government.

  • Release individuals of all ages and abilities with access to education, training and information services.

  • Ensure greatest benefit from education and research resources through efficient operation and management of the education and research system.

  • Key Priorities for FMI

  • Financial priorities:

    • Ensure revenue growth for all activities

    • Improve the cost structure at the Faculty

    • Increase the foreign financing (EU / non EU)

    • Enhance the industry support

  • Internal processes priorities:

    • Facilitate the administrative operations

    • Ensure support for collaborative activities in the Faculty

    • Improve the collaboration with other SU structures and external organizations

  • Learning and growth priorities:

    • Development of the competences of Faculty members

    • Development of LLL culture

    • Ensure equal access to technology and innovation

Priority Areas for ICT Research in FMI

Having in mind the results of the analysis of EU policy in ICT, the SWOT analysis of FMI and the survey of Bulgarian stakeholders, the FMI team identifies the following areas of priority for ICT research at FMI:

  • Fundamentals of Computer Science

  • Intelligent systems (incl. Intelligent Content and Semantics)

  • Information systems

  • Information security

  • IT services

  • Software intensive systems

  • Bioinformatics

  • Computer graphics

  • e-Learning

  • Focuses of ICT Education and Training in FMI:

    • Curriculum improvement

    • Optimization of existing education processes

Definition of Metrics and Indicators of Success

  • In the FMI draft strategy are defined some practical, meaningful measures which will assess the effectiveness of Faculty management and its support of mission accomplishment. These measures are focused on financial issues, stakeholders, internal processes and learning and growth of FMI.


  • Organizational Framework

    • FMI should initiate a debate aimed at overcoming the lack of flexibility caused by the governmental regulations and procedures.

    • Similar initiatives should be taken up in order to improve considerably the existing heavyadministrative procedures and financial rules at Sofia University in order to increasethe motivation of FMI staff for research and project activities.

  • Better internal cooperation with other faculties of SU and within FMI departments must be established.

  • FMI has to establish a project engineering unit which should support the activity of the corresponding vice-dean by looking for project opportunities.

  • A clear procedure for building flexible research units (project groups, program teams, etc.) has to be defined within SU with the leading role of FMI.

  • Some supporting units (knowledge transfer centers, business support centers, patent offices, project management offices, science parks with support services, etc.) have to be foreseen.

  • The organization of the educational process at FMI should be rearranged and optimized in order to ensure more time for research and innovations in the ICT area for the teaching staff of the Faculty.

  • The scope of the activities of the Laboratory for Computing Services has to be significantly extended. The Laboratory should be re-structured in accordance with its new functions and its staff should be strengthened.

  • Technological Environment and Infrastructure

    • The technology environment of FMI must be considerably improved by increasing the speed of the cable Internet and stabilizing the wireless Internet access as well as providing some additional services, e.g. institutional VoIP.

  • Better access to world-wide publications and scientific databases (e.g. the databases of Springer, Scopus, MathSciNet etc.) should be provided.

  • Significant efforts should be exerted in order to build several first class labs with potentiality for services to companies and public organizations.

  • Human Resources Capacity Building

    • The overall FMI capacity building must be supported by renewal of technology and research environment, obtaining software and books, access to scientific on-line libraries and information resources. Building Research, Innovation and PhD databases of the Faculty should be related to greater transparency of FMI research and innovation for industry and future partners.

  • The human resources capacity building should be achieved through schemes of learning-by-doing for a longer period in leading EU research organisations, as well as through targeted training seminars and short-term visits abroad.

  • Significant efforts should be exerted in order to identify “star” scientists and create clusters around them.

  • Post Docs and more experienced FMI researchers should also benefit from mobility schemes in order to strengthen their research and innovation skills, and focus their future research on European strategic areas. The usage of available funds and grants, e.g. Marie Curie schemes, will help in this direction.

  • The activities of the governing body should be focused on career development and increase of young researchers.

  • A strategic program oriented to the development of “star” students and their sustained training to publish in recognized journals has to be elaborated.

  • Joint supervision of PhD students has to be one of the action lines for developing new research capacity and integrating into EU research streams.

  • A great amount of work should be done in order to satisfy the main needs for further training identified by FMI researchers in the areas of projectmanagement, technology transfer and strategic management.

  • Collaboration and Networking

    • The Faculty should look at the Bulgarian labour market needs and should strengthen its national linkages with industry, other universities, research institutions and public authorities.

    • It is essential to enlarge its networking with other EU universities for exchange of students, teaching staff and researchers.

  • FMI needs to strengthen its research collaboration and build upon the existing results for raising its excellence, ensuring sustainable development and deeper integration into ICT ERA.

  • In order to strengthen its networking, FMI needs to increase its visibility and the transparency of its research, education and innovation achievements.

Funding Opportunities for ICT Activities at FMI

For its successful development FMI should explore the opportunities of a diversified funding:

  • Project financing

  • Provision of training courses and certification

  • Industrial research and development funded by companies provides a third channel of funding

  • A fourth channel of funding, still not explored sufficiently, could come from patents and intellectual property rights

  • The fifth channel of funding is venture capital. Unfortunately this channel is still under-developed at Sofia University

  • Sponsorship is the sixth channel of funding


  • Despite that FMI has strong linkages with the IT cluster and several IT companies in Bulgaria, e.g. IBM, Microsoft, CISCO, etc. the links with industry need a lot of changes in order to meet the needs of the knowledge economy.

  • There should be established more structured contacts for joint projects, exchange of staff, internships and joint supervision of PhD students, knowledge brokerage events, etc.

  • Higher transparency of FMI education and research results might be a first step towards better collaboration with industry.

  • What skills are needed for FMI researchers in order to enhance the dialogue and collaboration with industry and to turn their ideas into innovative products and processes should be also considered.

  • Finally, FMI should widely explore the opportunities for integration into the European Higher education area and the European Research Area and undertake actions for strengthening research collaboration, building attractive universities, and creating a favourable environment for study, work and life.

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