Dr. Nikoleta Kircheva and Dr. Rosita Kokotanekova from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences were awarded among more than 30 candidates who participated in the competition of the national programme “For Women in Science”. The awards were presented at a ceremony at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

Dr. Nikoleta Kircheva is a senior assistant professor at the Institute of Optical Materials and Technologies (IOMT) and a member of the Computational Chemistry and Molecular Modelling group. Her winning project is in the field of chemistry and is entitled “Development of alternative antibiotic therapy with a focus on metals with antibacterial activity: Ag+/Ga3+/Ga-PPIX as an innovative treatment”. Her research focuses on the study of competition between metals in biological and biomimetic systems, with applications in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Dr. Rosita Kokotanekova is a senior assistant at the Institute of Astronomy with the National Astronomical Observatory at BAS (IA with NAO). Her winning project is in the field of physics – “Participation in the Comet Interceptor/Cometary Nuclei Evolution Mission”. Dr Kokotanekova has a long experience in the study of celestial bodies, and the International Astronomical Union celebrates her contribution to the study of asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter by giving one of them her name.

Vice President Iliana Iotova welcomed the laureates and stressed, “We, women, come to this world to create, we carry deep within us the code of life. But women are also discoverers, explorers. This is what life shows.” She pointed out that of the nearly 900 Nobel Prize winners since 1901, only 60 have been women.

The National Scholarship Programme “For Women in Science” is a partnership between Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the National Commission for UNESCO – Bulgaria and L’Oréal Bulgaria. This year, a jury chaired by Academician Nikolay Vitanov from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” selected the three winners who would be awarded with scholarships of 5000 euros. The financial aid is intended to support their research work in Bulgaria and to motivate them to continue their scientific activities.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the leadership of BAS, Vassil Terziev, Mayor of Sofia Municipality; Elena Shekerletova, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO – Bulgaria; Prof. Genka Petrova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science; Ms. Vanya Panayotova, General Manager of L’Oreal for Bulgaria, scientists and media representatives.

More information about Women in Science – on the official website of the programme www.zajenitevnaukata.bg