The National Scientific Program “Excellent Research and People for the Development of European Science” — 2021 (VIHREN-2021) of the Ministry of Education and Science is the leading grant scheme for individual researchers in Bulgaria. The programme was created following the model of the European Science Council (https://erc.europa.eu/), with the quality of the applicant’s scientific output being the single most important evaluation criterion. In the 2021 call for proposals, the project of Dr. Vinciguerra, ERA Chair in Translational Stem Cell Biology at the Research Institute of MU-Varna was ranked first in the field “Life Sciences” – Leading Researcher. The duration of the project is 60 months and the total amount of funding is BGN 1 322 750.
The National Scientific Programme “VIHREN” awards grants for “established researcher” and “leading researcher” in three scientific fields: “Physical Sciences & Engineering”, “Life Sciences” and “Social Sciences & Humanities”. Traditionally, two grants are awarded in each of the three scientific fields, for a duration of 5 years. The objective of the program is to attract and support leading scientists with major scientific achievements and to improve the research environment in higher education institutions and scientific organisations in Bulgaria. The program is funded by the Ministry of Education and Science through the Bulgarian National Science Fund.
Dr. Manlio Vinciguerra has extensive professional experience and publication track record of publications in biomedicine. The range of his scientific interests covers areas from cancer epigenetics to cell signalling in aging and obesity. Since November 2020, Dr. Vinciguerra is the first for Bulgaria ERA Chair in the field of translational stem cell biology at the Research Institute at MU-Varna, within the framework of the TRANSTEM project of the European Commission. He leads an international team of researchers focusing on research, development and innovation activities in stem cell research and therapies and regenerative drugs. The project proposal of Dr. Vinciguerra under the VIHREN programme is entitled “CHiP-BiD: Circulating Histone Proteins as Biomarkers of Disease”. The project focuses on histones — key regulators of DNA in the cells — and their use as innovative markers in oncological and cardiovascular diseases. The VIHREN grant demonstrates the innovative potential of the ERA Chair Dr. Vinciguerra and his team for performing high-quality research in Bulgaria and contributing to the overall level of science in the country.