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Models and instruments for transforming higher education systems through transnational multi-sector

Horizon Europe is the EU's flagship initiative for the period 2021-2027 to support research and innovation, which complements national and regional research and innovation funding to support it and increase its potential. The first pillar of Horizon Europe strengthens the EU's leadership in science by promoting the development of high-quality knowledge and skills by supporting cutting-edge research projects and stimulating investment in research infrastructures.

The HORIZON-MSCA-2022-SE-01 project with No. 101131544 "Models and instruments for transforming higher education systems through transnational multi-sector links" (STUDIES-DIG) will be coordinated by UNSS and will be implemented for a period of 4 years in within the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, the EU's flagship program for funding under Horizon Europe. The consortium partners in this project are united in a program of exchange of researchers and experts to research, design and implement innovative and context-sensitive solutions to transform higher education systems. The total amount of financial support from the EC for the project is 1,196,000 euros.

The UNSS research team for this project is composed of: Prof. Polya Katsamunska from the Department of Public Administration, Associate Professor Ekaterina Tosheva from the Department of Statistics and Econometrics, Prof. Lyuben Boyanov, doctoral student Ivona Velkova and doctoral student Mariana Kovacheva from the Department of Information technologies and communications", Prof. Zhivko Draganov from the Department of "International Law and EU Law", Associate Professor Plamen Ralchev from the Department of "International Relations", Prof. Daniela Koch-Kozhuharova and Senior Prof. Dr. Georgi Dimitrov from the Department of " Foreign Languages and Applied Linguistics". On the Bulgarian side, non-academic partners in the project are the municipality of Rudozem and the Employment Agency. During the preparation and processing of the documents for submitting the project proposal, the UNSS team received enormous administrative and technical assistance from Mrs. Janet Kalcheva, head expert at the Center for Research and Educational Projects of the UNSS.

As project partners, the UNSS team attracted universities from Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Morocco and Egypt, as well as non-academic organizations from these countries. The universities included in the consortium are: Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey; Universitatea Babes Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Ibn Tofail University – Kenitra, Morocco; Université Abdelmalek Essaadi, Morocco; and Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Cairo, Egypt.

It is an international, cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary consortium of partners, created as a platform for collaboration and united by the principles of innovation, partnership and solidarity with the aim of exploring and identifying successful contemporary models and tools that can help transform higher education and support the sustainable and effective adaptation of the higher education systems of the consortium partners to the digital age.

The aim of the project is to study and research the digitization process in various organizations and to propose solutions for the improvement and development of digitization processes. The consortium includes researchers from various scientific fields and experts from various spheres of public life from Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Morocco and Egypt, which enables a broad and in-depth approach to the digitization and transformation of higher education. Based on the identified weaknesses in the digitization process, the project will propose approaches and methodologies that will be implemented as different disciplines for the academic partners in order to build sustainable competences for knowledge and skills transfer.


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