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Project DiSSCo-BG


Upgrade of the Research Infrastructure Distributed System of Scientific Collections – Bulgaria (DiSSCo-BG): Phase 1 (2020-2023)

Application for joining the National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures of the Republic of Bulgaria


1. Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IBER-BAS)
2 Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia
Contact person: Prof. Boyko B. Georgiev
Phone: +359899285317, E-mail: or

2. National Museum of Natural History, Sofia – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NMNHS-BAS)
1 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd., 1000 Sofia
Contact person: Assoc. Prof. Borislav Guéorguiev
Phone: +359886129564, E-mail:

Project Summary

The Research Infrastructure Distributed System of Scientific Collections – Bulgaria (DiSSCo-BG) is the Bulgarian node of the pan-European Distributed Research Infrastructure DiSSCo recognised in October 2018 as a distributed research infrastructure of European importance and included in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018.
The national node (i.e. the consortium DiSSCo-BG) consists of the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IBER-BAS) and the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NMNHS-BAS). These two institutions maintain research biodiversity collections that have been accumulated during the last 130 years (since the foundation pf the Royal Prince’s Natural History Museum – Sofia, 1889). They are the main Bulgarian research centres carrying out collection-based studies and providing multi-faceted biodiversity-associated services to the society with national, regional and international reach.
Substantial improvement of research infrastructure (both physical and digital) associated with scientific collections of the members of this consortium was achieved by the project "Development of National Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (CEBDER)", 2009-2012, funded by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science (National Science Fund). However, further efforts are needed in order to increase the quality of the collection maintenance and to reach the level of the international standards adopted by the European DiSSCo network.

Project Objectives

The general objective of this proposal is to upgrade the technological, digital and human capacity level of the major biodiversity and geodiversity collections in Bulgaria maintained by IBER-BAS (Herbarium, Mycological, Palaeobotanical and Palynological Collections, Collection of Living Plants, Zoological Collections) and NMNHS-BAS (Invertebrate, Vertebrate, Palaeontological Collections) in order to: (i) increase the capacity of collections and collection-based research to meet the needs of the society of modern biodiversity science in line with the existing international standards and (ii) support the efficient Bulgarian participation in the development of the pan-European Research Infrastructure DiSSCo. This project is the first phase of the upgrade, which is envisaged for 2020-2023.

The specific objectives include:
1. Technical capacity development: upgrade of the physical infrastructures for long-term storage of the botanical, mycological, zoological and palaeontological collections and associated laboratory facilities of IBER-BAS and NMNHS-BAS as well as their capacity for long-term storage and management of digital data associated with collections.
2. Human capacity development: providing specialised training of staff members of IBER-BAS and NMNHS-BAS in view of the physical and digital development of collections, with special emphasis on training in collection digitisation.

3. Digital development: digitisation of substantial part of the collections (c. 50% of their entities) of IBER-BAS and NMNHS-BAS and publication of the digital collection databases.

4. Policy development: unification and standardisation of the regulations, especially those for access to the collections as well as to their databases in line with the best practices of leading institutions.

5. Society-engagement development: wide dissemination of project results and development of specific plans for better integration with stakeholders of public and private sectors (academia, industry, health sector, environmental organizations, education, etc.) and citizen formations (e.g. citizen science).

Expected outputs

1. Reached level of the long-term storage and digitisation of the main Bulgarian biodiversity and geodiversity collections corresponding to the international standards.

2. Provided complete and detailed information on the richness and the scientific capacity of the main Bulgarian biodiversity and geodiversity collections for the needs of the national and international research community as well as for the needs of the society.
3. Increased accessibility of information to be used for research and for various applied activities in areas such as biodiversity conservation, environmental quality assessment and management, pest control, pathogen and disease-vector control, use of biological resources, development of tourism, education, as well as for development of better collaboration with stakeholders and end users.

4. Exhaustive implementation of the tasks of the Bulgarian consortium in the development of the pan-European DiSSCo RI and better integration in further European and global research initiatives.
Work packages
WP1: Project management
WP2: Upgrade of collection facilities
WP3: Collections digitisation
WP4: Staff capacity: training and specialisation
WP5: Dissemination

  • DiSSCo - pan-European Research Infrastructure
  • CETAF - Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities