For 70 years, the Strashimir Dimitrov Geological Institute (GI) is a leading unit in the division of Earth Sciences at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It conducts scientific and applied research on all important aspects of geological science in Bulgaria. In recent years, the institute has been regarded as the largest national geological research and scientific-expert organization that combines both classical geology fields and present-day Earth science priorities.
Maintaining high professionalism and competence of the scientific staff was a prerequisite for the Geological Institute to be a key unit in the implementation of almost all important scientific and applied activities in the field of geology in the country during the second half of the last century:
- Composition of a geological, tectonic, hydrogeological and gravimetric map of Bulgaria in scale 1:200 000;
- Composition of geological, metallogenic, engineering-geological and geological-hazard maps of Bulgaria in scale 1:500 000;
- Strategy and two national programs for prevention and limitation of landslides on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, erosion and abrasion on the Danube and Black Sea coast (1999, 2006 and 2014)
- Analysis, assessment and mapping of the geological risk on the territory of the country (2017)
- Map of the seismic zonation of Bulgaria in scale 1:1 000 000;
- Composition and publishing of a geological map of Bulgaria in 92 sheets with explanatory notes in scale 1:100 000;
- Development and publishing of the multi-volume monograph The Fossils of Bulgaria as well as of a Stratigraphical Codex of Bulgaria;
- Development of the scientific bases for the utilization of the national mineral sources of raw materials; advancing the theory of underground hydrodynamics and regional studies of the underground water characteristics; highly qualified consultancy during the construction of some of the largest dams and other hydro engineering structures (such as Iskar, Golyam Beglik, Belmeken dams, etc.) and many other enterprises important for the national industry: Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, Maritsa-Iztok Thermo Power Plants Complex, Devnya chemical plants, etc.;
- Expert activity on the occurrence of dangerous geological phenomena on the territory of the country – landslides etc., in making important decisions for the construction of national infrastructure projects such as LOT 3.2 of Struma Motorway;
- Studies to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities (NPPs, RAW repositories), etc.
Nowadays, the main research activities of the Institute are related to the study of the terrestrial environment on the territory of Bulgaria with the main purpose of supporting the sustainable development of the contemporary society and the conflict-free limitation of the consequences of natural hazards.
Research is geared to two fundamental scientific priorities that are largely interlinked and complementary:
- Complex regional studies for the acquisition of modern geological knowledge for the territory of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula and the Eastern Mediterranean in the classical geological fields such as palaeontology, stratigraphy and sedimentology; geotectonics and regional geology, geochemistry, mineralogy and petrology;
- geoecological studies, studying and assessing the processes of geological danger for limiting the risk and ensuring the sustainable development of the country. Here are the scientific fields of neotectonics and seismotectonics, hydrogeology, engineering geology, geotechnics and geochemistry of the environment.
GI scientists represent Bulgaria in over 20 international scientific and expert organizations.
Along with the development of scientific themes directly related to the needs of the national economy and society, researchers from the Geological Institute have been carrying out educational activities as early as its establishment. Scientists from the institute have been and are leading university lecturers, supervisors of a significant number of graduates and PhD students. The Institute is accredited by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency to train PhD students in 10 specialties.