The National Centre of Agricultural Sciences of R. Bulgaria is an organization for scientific and applied research works, extension service and subsidiary activities in agriculture and food industry, the successor of the former Agricultural Academy of R. Bulgaria. Its activities are carried out according to the state agricultural policy and comprise the organization and accomplishment of fundamental strategic and applied research in priority areas. The National Centre of Agricultural Sciences consists of 37 units, of which 21 research institutes, 13 regional centers for extension service, one Center for Scientific and Technical Information and one National Agricultural Museum. In 2003 a National AgroBioTech Park was established, which coordinates the action of six Regional AgroTech parks.
• Sustainable agriculture and development of rural areas
• Production of qualitative and safe food
• Environment protection and quality of life
• Up-dating and increasing the role of agricultural research for higher competitiveness of the agricultural sector, achievement of sustainable development and successful integration into the European structures.
• Establishment of an active relation and coordination between the elements of the ‘science-technology transfer-application into practice’ system.
NATIONAL CENTRE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES CARRIES
OUT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN THE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS:
• Breeding and biotechnological research in crop husbandry, preservation and management of plant genetic resources
• Breeding and biotechnological research in livestock husbandry, preservation and management of animal genetic resources
• Cryobiology and food technology
• Land reclamation and agricultural engineering
• Agricultural economics
Breeding and biotechnological research in crop husbandry, preservation and management of plant genetic resources;
• Study and enrichment of plant genetic fund with wild species, local varieties and populations, introduced and native breeding forms;
• Identification, analysis and mapping of genetic locuses;
• Preservation and management of plant genetic resources;
• Increasing the competitive power ?f Bulgarian varieties;
• Creation of varieties of higher productivity, improved quality and resistant to biotic and abiotic stress factors.
• Plant biotechnology: Investigation of structural and functional organization of the plant genome (genomics);
• Development and application of biochemical and molecular markers to improve the efficiency of breeding plant forms possessing valuable traits.
Breeding and biotechnological research in livestock husbandry, preservation and management of animal genetic resources
• Study, preservation and management of animal genetic resources;
• Creation of new high productive lines and hybrids of farm animals;
• New technological decisions in animal and fish production, suitable for the agro-ecological zones, for the size and the type of farms and corresponding to the relevant European standards for quality and safety.
Cryobiology and food technology
• Cryobiology and cryogenic technology: elaboration of specific methods and technological decisions for cryogenic conservation of biological materials;
• Establishment and maintenance of specialized cryo-banks and information data-base;
• Experimentation and introduction of bio-preparations for medical purposes, etc.
• Development of technologies for the production of various lyophilized food concentrates according to their type, composition, energy contents and functional use;
• Development of functional foods, beverages and food additives designed for children, teenagers and adults.
Soil science, farming systems and environment preservation
• Sustainable management of soil resources.
• Development of new agro-ecological approaches for evaluation, use and preservation of soil resources and for soil fertility improvement;
• New environment friendly, resource-saving production technologies for agricultural products of high quality and safety. Management of soil contamination risk assessment, etc.
Land reclamation and agricultural engineering
• Optimization of the equipment and the irrigation technologies under the conditions of water deficiency and raising the water use efficiency;
• Investigations on the possibilities for use of waste waters;
• Energy-saving technologies and systems for mechanized plant and animal production, for preservation of soil fertility, environment, human health and safety working conditions.
• Decision – making for solving the economic problems of agricultural and food-industry sectors, of rural development, etc.
The National Centre of Agricultural Sciences holds various events to make the achievements of agricultural science popular, such as open days, publication of articles in the periodic press, consultancy for farmers and producers.
At the end of 2005 the research entities of the National Centre of Agricultural Sciences own 308 certificates of new plant varieties and animal breeds, issued by the Patent Office of R. Bulgaria, incl.: 39 wheat varieties; 19 barley varieties; 32 maize varieties; 46 varieties of vegetable crops; 20 forage crops; 20 vine grapes; 25 fruit and small fruit varieties; 31 tobacco varieties; 14 animal breeds, etc.
RESEARCH STAFF CAPACITY
There is a highly qualified research staff engaged at the National Centre of Agricultural Sciences, representing six scientific areas and capable to carry out interdisciplinary scientific research.
The qualification structure of the research staff with regard to their scientific rank is as follows: 42 professors, incl. 2 academicians; 357 assoc. professors and 327 research associates. Most of them have obtained the educational and scientific degrees “Philosophy Doctor” (Ph.D.) and “Doctor of Sciences” (D.Sc.), respectively 493 and 30. The share of the young scientists, up to 35 years of age, is 13.6 %.
4 institutes of NCAS are accredited to educate doctoral students in 34 scientific subjects. At present more than 185 Ph.D. students are enrolled, of which 86 on a full-time basis.
BREAKDOWN OF THE RESEARCH STAFF BY AREAS
Total number of 726 at the end of 2005
QUALIFICATION STRUCTURE OF THE STAFF at the end of 2005
INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS OF THE NATIONAL CENTRE
OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES at the end of March 2006 – total number of 153
INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS UNDER PROGRAMMES of EU, IAEA, NATO, FAO,
Int. Centres and others / at the end of March 2006 – total number 52/
The National Centre of Agricultural Sciences (NCAS) actively contributes to the integration of Bulgarian agricultural science with the European Research Area. It maintains direct contacts with leading research centres and similar organizations. NCAS and its institutes are members of a number of international organizations and actively participate in the development of projects within the EU framework and COST programs, as well as in the research programs of NATO, IAEA; FAO, UNEP and the UNDP of the UN, ICGEB, IPGRI, CIMMYT, ICARDA, ect.
NCAS provides assistance for scientists’ participation in international training courses and fellowships, in the organization of foreign scientists’ visits and the accomplishment of international scientific sessions, conferences and seminars on current issues.