Brief historical review of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora

The Union of Scientists in Bulgaria was established in 1944. The Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora in turn was established in 1961. It is an independent, democratic, non-government, and professional organization, being also member of the national Union of Bulgarian Scientists in Sofia. It has been built on a voluntary principle, with the involvement of physical persons: both Bulgarian – born and foreign citizens, who hold some science degree or are at least specialists with major breakthroughs in some scientific field. As of today, the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora has roughly 450 regular members from Stara Zagora and the area who are organized in 11 sections and 2 clubs, covering almost all scientific fields, with veterinary medicine, livestock – breeding, agrobiology, and human medicine being most widely represented. The Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora is the only in the national network which has a foreign member structure, comprising 16 prominent scientific workers from 12 countries worldwide.

Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora first amongst all the scientific community in Bulgaria wrote its history, dedicated to the 40-th anniversary from its foundation. Next were written two more issues - dedicated to the 45-th and 50-th anniversary. In *.pdf - 260 MB you can download the book, dedicated to the 50-th anniversary of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora.
Prof. Vato Gruev    

On July 23, 1961, a branch of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria (USB) was established in Stara Zagora.

The founding people of UBS included: Vato Gruev, Hristo Krastanov, Stoyan Kanev, Bozhan Nikolaev, Vasil Staikov PhD, Blagovesta Chingova, Nikola Astadzhov, George Nikolov, Ivan Karabaliev, Dimitar Nikolov, Mihailov Dipl. Dr., Slavov Dipl. Dr., Penev Dipl. Dr., Lyubomir Kostov Dipl. Dr., Ivan Dzhankov PhD in Medicine, Stephan Nozhchev, Dimitar Sharlanov. Mr. Vato Gruev was elected a chairman of the Union, though at that time he was still working in Plovdiv; Hristo Krastanov was appointed a secretary and in fact used to run the affairs of the union; while Penyu Balev became a member of the union. The number of the union members increased from 16 in 1961 to 75 in 1972.

Between 1972 and 1976 the Stara Zagora UBS became a more active organization. The latter was made possible due to the well-defined vision and mission of the Union adopted at the first nationwide congress of Union of Scientists in Bulgaria in 1971. The union in Stara Zagora keeps close ties with the Bulgarian Union of Science and Technics, The Club of Culture, The Culture Commission at the Stara Zagora Army Garrison.

Throughout the years the Stara Zagora UBS supported and promoted 55 workshops, conferences, and symposia, which were held either in this town, or in other towns in Bulgaria. These workshops and conferences gave priority to livestock-breeding and veterinary research topics, unsurprisingly due to the fact that the fields of veterinary medicine and livestock-breeding dominated R&D in Stara Zagora. The human medical science publicity also developed accordingly. The union in Stara Zagora, along with the Main City Hospital, co-sponsored workshops on health care issues and also actively supported the local Union of Cardiologists.

As of 1976, 92 people from 10 scientific fields had joined as members of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora.

The next five years (1976-1981) were years of considerable improvement and enlargement of scope of activities for the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora. The union members took part in a number of national and international R&D conferences, workshops, symposia. Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora promoted and co-sponsored discussions and lectures, hosted by academic institutions and honored by local and guest speakers, including distinguished scholars from Bulgaria and abroad. In this same period the organizational structure of the union underwent considerable improvement. The first departments of the union were created. These included “Veterinary medicine and Zootechnics”, “Agrobiology”, “Technical sciences”and “Medicine and Dentistry” departments.

Over the 1982-1998, the Stara Zagora region witnessed economic shifts that brought along increased production capacity and technology modernization for the regional industries. New flexible automated and digitally-operated production facilities were set in operation. Many of the members of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora took part in this important technology transformation.

By the end of 1985, the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora involved 180 full members in four departments, compared to 120 members in 1981.

By the beginning of 1989, 393 scientific workers from R&D institutes, universities, and task groups had become members of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora. The official opening of the union building called “The House of the scientific workers” that took place in 1988 has proved significant for the creation of new opportunities to attract a large number of new union members. By the end of February, 1990 this number had increased to reach 523. That fact had led to the creation of new departments within the union: their number also increased accordingly to reach 9. They were as follows:

1. Engineering sciences - 150 members;
2. Veterinary medicine and Engineering - 101;
3. Medicine and Dentistry - 81;
4. Robotics and Mechatronics - 47;
5. Agro-biology - 44;
6. Philosophy and History - 30;
7. Linguistics and Pedagogy - 28;
8. Architecture and Construction - 24;
9. Physics and Mathematics - 18;
10. Young Scientists’ club - 331;
11. The Veterans’ Club - 29.

Out of the total union members, 13 were full professors; 27 were associate professors; senior research associates were 76; junior research associates were 343, etc.; associate PhD Sc were 15 union members, while assistant PhD Sc candidates were 150 union members. After a careful analysis of this statistics we will arrive at the conclusion that the trend set in the preceding years for union being mainly dominated by junior research associates has gone unchanged. Reasons could be found in the fact that those were mainly young people as well as the fact that science workers outside the capital city found it more difficult to make up in the hierarchy. Only a third of the union members had their PhD thesis defended; even some professors and senior research associates had no PhD thesis defended.

In 1988-1989, the Stara Zagora UBS took part in a number of science congresses, conferences, symposia, and workshops. A great number of high-level international guests attended the Tenth Congress of Anatomy, Chistology, and Embryology. Other conferences and workshops also drew a considerable interest from the science people. The international conference on “The present state and trends in the development of food-processing machines and systems” held in Stara Zagora (1988); “Hydraulics and Pneumatics” conference in Kazanlak (1988); the fifth international conference on “Disintegration, separation and technologies” held in Stara Zagora (1988); the third conference on “The transfer of advanced technologies in the construction industry” held in Varna (1989); the international conference on “The basic trends in the development of disc-operating devices and systems (ZUMD)” also in Varna (1989); the international conference on “The optic and solar-magnet spheres in the middle and high atmosphere” which was held in Stara Zagora (1989).

In 1988-1989, the Stara Zagora union of scientists set its first bilateral contacts abroad and concluded contracts for mutual cooperation with R&D institutes and organizations from cities from the former Soviet Union in Moscow, Saint Petersburg (former Leningrad), and Tashkent, as well as with the town of Legnicza in Poland. In the contracts, both parties agreed to exchange research articles and papers, and delegations at conferences, symposia, and workshops. The first mutual conference that resulted from those contracts was held in Varna in 1989, and discussed the issue of “The transfer of advanced technologies in the construction industry” For the first time union members from Stara Zagora took part in presentations at international conferences in Italy, Great Britain, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic, etc. Five of the union members had their international membership fee paid in hard currency.

In 1990-1999 the Stara Zagora UBS turned out one of the leading public organizations of the Stara Zagora intelligentsia. The union strengthened its position of an active structure, quickly adaptive to the new market environment. The Stara Zagora UBS brought together, coordinated, and directed the efforts of other similar nongovernmental organizations and the whole local community of science workers, concerning important issues like the establishment of a Stara Zagora-based university and the physical survival of a great number of local R&D institutes; even the whole field of science and education was at some point at the stake of survival.

As a public organization the Stara Zagora UBS has taken part in environment protection; moral value preservation; health care; and economic development projects.

Over 2000-2005, the union has enlarged significantly its scope of activities. “The Union of Scientists in Stara Zagora” publishing house was established. “Foreign members” section was also set up. The traditional international scientific conferences were launched, being the most attended at home as well as on the Balkans. The Union of Bulgarian Scientists was awarded the highest union appraisal in 2004: Jubilation Statue and diploma for active union involvement. 33 members of the union received a jubilation badge, while associate professor Stancho Chervenkov was given the honourable badge. 2 science workers from the Union in Stara Zagora joined the list of member emeritus of the Union, bringing to 4 their total number. These are Prof. Vato Gruev, Prof. Vidio Videv, Prof. Tsanko Yablanski, Prof. Ivan Bojkov.

Since 2016 Chairman of the Union of Scientists - Stara Zagora is Assoc. Prof. Vasil Hadzhiiliev.