Research center for tourism and creative industries will be open in Varna

World famous research scientists will develop science in the field of tourism and creative industries.

On 13.03.2018, Bulgarian Ministry of Education, Youth and Science published the results with the approved for funding projects evaluated according the procedures for “Creation and Development Centers of Excellence and Competence” and “Science and education for smart growth” operational programme. Among them is “Centre for Competence and Intelligent Solutions for the Creative and Recreational Industries”, which will be one-of-a-kind in Varna. According to the published results, INCREA belongs to Varna University of Management (founded more than 20 years ago). Varna University of Management (VUM) is the only one listed in “New technologies in creative and recreational industries” component with 92.14 points. The success of the initiator and the leading coordinating organization (Varna University of Management) is not accidental given the fact that, according to the official Ministry of educations and science rating, this university is ranked first in Bulgaria on some of the most important criteria for scientific research (quoted in world databases of science) in the fields of Tourism, Economy, Business Administration and management. The project costs approx. 7 million EUR and it is developed by VUM, together with 7 science and education institutions: Technical University and Institute of Oceanology “Fridtjof Nansen”- Varna, University of Rousse “Angel Kanchev“, National art academy, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum at BAS, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge BAS in Sofia.

INCREA Research Center is the only one in this program to be developed in Eastern Bulgaria with so many partners and the only one with such a wide geographic coverage. Last but not least, it covers most of the fields of science, including technical, humanitarian and social sciences, as well as sociology, anthropology and cultural studies. The project will be funded by “Science and education for smart growth” operational programme.

According to VUM the main goal of the project is to develop and increase the research and innovation capacity for the creative and recreational industries. Interdisciplinary market-oriented research will be conducted. The project aims for the development of scientific products with added value for the economy in active partnership and cooperation with the business.

INCREA focus is on:

  • cultural and creative industries, cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, stage and visual arts, publishing, radio;
  • computer and mobile applications and educational, marketing and / or entertainment games;
  • production of goods and equipment directly applicable in these spheres;
  • alternative (rural, eco-, cultural and festival) and extreme tourism.

The lead organization (VUM) has students from over 50 countries in IT, Tourism, Business and Management. Because of its high international orientation, it ranks first among nearly 1,500 universities in the U-Multirank global rating, launched five years ago by the European Commission. It is no accident that the focus of the project includes activities aimed at the field of alternative tourism and social science research. One of the scientists from VUM is Professor Minkov, who is one of the world’s most quoted scholar in the field of social sciences – according to Scopus (the largest global online science database), as well as Google Scholar. He is co-author of a book for Intercultural Differences, which is best-seller in Amazon in 2010. VUM publishes three scientific journals in English. One of them (European Journal of Tourism Research) is ranked first in Central and Eastern Europe, according to Scopus. Its chief editor and deputy rector of VUM (Prof. Stanislav Ivanov) is the most quoted bulgarian scientist in tourism in the global database Scopus. According to the Global education ranking list Best-Masters.com, VUM`s Master Programme in International Tourism is ranked among the first top 20 in the world. In the same ranking, VUM`s MBA is ranked among the first top ten in Central and Eastern Europe.

Following this project, Simulation-Experimental Center will be set up in Varna  for development, testing and market-orientation of mobile applications and games; Scientific Incubator; Information resource center and publishing center, Experimental-tasting center with a laboratory; Co-working science space for scientists from different countries – involving over 50 scientists from the partners and another 20 international researchers. At the same time, the partner institutions of VUM in Sofia and Rousse will set up experimental laboratories. All of them will be open for scientists, PhD students, and students.

INCREA will contribute for the inclusion of Varna in the National Roadmap for Scientific Research and, most importantly, for popularizing the destination among world famous scientists , research networks and young people willing to develop science in the field of creative and recreational industries.

Many  services and products will be developed and offered as benefit of the business, more than 30 projects are planned and also the opening of four spin-off and a start-up companies. It will be worked on the development of modern science and will be made an open group with potential scientists to help the business. There are 15 well-established scientific conferences planned with topics related to the creative and recreational industries, specializations abroad for part of the team of scientists. There will be at least 8 strategic partnerships with leading technology research organizations in Europe in the field of innovation for the creative and recreational industries.