Тhe project Bringing the «hidden integration of Europe» in studying and teaching EU: an optimistic account (BRIHIEU) aims to transform the specific disciplinarian and thematic synergy into specific vision of the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at Plovdiv University. It includes 1) Rising the level of teaching in the field of European integration by introducing new and updating existing courses in the B.A. curriculas administered by the Department of Sociology of Law, Economics and Innovation and Geography, technology, and entrepreneurship; introducing new courses in the training of PhD students and admission of PhD students in the project areas; 2) Developing and networking the research program with European and Bulgarian Jean Monnet centers, as well as other advanced research centers and experienced scholars working in the areas of interest; 3) Bridging activities at two levels: a) internally expanding teaching and research activities and the promoting the european studies among other disciplines and departments at University of Plovdiv; and b) outwardly, through promotional initiatives and collaborating to policy makers, stakeholders and civil society, with NGOs and think-thanks such as the European Institute in Sofia, the Center for the Study of Democracy, the Center for Liberal Strategies, the Institute for European Policies, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, etc. We consider special collaboration with Plovdiv based Institute for Technology Transfer and Innovation and Bauersax Foundation on these outwar activities with focus on the region of Plovdiv and Central & South-East Bulgaria.

The project is an expression of a strong will to further develop and expand our education and research capacities in the areas of interest mentioned above, as well as to significantly improve our efforts in wider dissemination of EU-related issues among local and regional stakeholders and civil society. Currently the Department of Applied and Institutional Sociology, the initiators of the project are affiliated with, administers three B.A. programs – “Sociology of Law, Economics and Innovation”, “Geography, Technology and Entrepreneurship”, and “European Studies”, a M.A. program on  “Innovation and Research Management”, and a PhD program in Sociology.

The expect results of the implementation of the project for Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at PU are:

  • Raising the level of education in EU studies and increasing the number of PhD students trained and studying EU topics and problems;
  • Implementing research initiatives and building collaborative networks with other research centers;
  • Dissemination of the results of the center’s work among policy makers, experts and citizens.

The project aims to boost the research and teaching in the field of EU studies at the “Paisii Hilendarski” University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. More specifically the project aims to strengthen the Plovdiv University capacity to teach and study the hidden integration/fragmentation processes in the constitution of Europe (www.makingeurope.eu). This will be achieved by building competence and knowledge, as well as teaching excellence and research capacity, on three specific areas of EU studies – 1) science, technology and innovation; 2) rule of law and democracy; 3) social policy. We believe that in the current efforts in standing up and further developing the European Union the integration/fragmentation mechanisms in these three areas are among the most important pillars of the European community and, at the same time, its drivers for social prosperity and the economic change.

By creating a Jean Monnet Center project we strive to expand our teaching and research opportunities precisely on the three deeper processes of European integration: 1) research and technology transfer in Europe, and building common infrastructures, industry standards and rules; 2) the reception of the high standards and principles of European law into national laws as part of the process of modernization and the establishment of normative, political, and social institutions of power; 3) the creation and development of the welfare state model in Europe, its evolution and challenges, with a focus on social policy and practice in relation to young people and vulnerable social groups.