WHAT IS INSAIT?
INSAIT was founded by the Bulgarian government with the goal of creating a world-class, leading AI and computer science research and education institution in the country, that is to operate under the same principles as those underpinning world-renowned universities such as MIT, ETH Zurich, Stanford, EPFL, Technion and others.
INSAIT is established as an autonomous unit of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria’s oldest, largest, and most renowned university, as part of a partnership between Switzerland’s ETH Zurich and EPFL, Sofia University and the Bulgarian government, which was unanimously ratified by the Bulgarian parliament. As part of this partnership, the Bulgarian government committed an initial endowment of nearly 100 million USD for INSAIT for a period of 10 years, mirroring similar long-term commitments towards strategic institutes in other countries.
INSAIT’s sole focus is on scientific excellence: conducting world-class research, attracting outstanding international scientists, and training the next-generation of graduate and undergraduate students. INSAIT is expected to have transformational effects on society and economy at large: attracting high-quality diverse talent to the region, preventing brain drain, creating new state-of-the-art educational programs, pushing towards a more product-driven economy by inventing high-valued intellectual property (IP), enabling deep research-guided technological companies, attracting big technology companies, and many more.
“INSAIT is a pioneering initiative which carries the potential to establish Eastern Europe as a world-class destination for computer science and artificial intelligence research.”
Why work in Sofia?
Bulgaria is part of the European Union (EU), and is strategically located between the West and the East. Regular flights make it easy to visit any major European capital daily, with average flight times of not more than a couple of hours. Being part of the EU also allows INSAIT faculty to apply for all financial instruments (e.g., the coveted ERC grants) associated with Horizon Europe.
European Technological Hub
Further, Bulgaria has a flat rate of 10% personal and corporate income taxes, the lowest within the European Union. The location, comparatively inexpensive costs of living and doing business, and the great IT human capital due to heavy focus on informatics and mathematics in school curricula (Bulgaria founded the International Olympiad in Informatics in 1989), have attracted substantial and increasing foreign investments in the country. For instance, many large foreign IT companies have some of their largest R&D centers in Sofia (e.g., Bosch, VMWare, SAP), providing opportunities for research-industry interactions for INSAIT faculty.
Sofia has a great selection of modern, forward-thinking and, compared to other capitals in Europe, competitively priced international schools. The standard of education on offer is similar to that of the rest of Europe. Several of the international schools in Sofia teach the International Baccalaureate curriculum through English. Curricula from countries across Europe are also available including British, French, and German.
The country provides great healthcare, both publicly, and through numerous private hospitals offering affordable services.
Apart from outstanding working conditions, Bulgaria also offers great opportunities for spending time outside work. Sofia is located at the base of the Vitosha mountain, allowing for skiing during the weekend, or even in the evenings after work. There are internationally recognized ski resorts like Bansko, Borovets, and Pamporovo, situated within a three-hour drive from the capital (some less than an hour). The Bulgarian seaside is a three-hour drive (50 minutes flight) away, and the same goes for the Greek shores. Despite its comparatively small size, Bulgaria has a rich history, culture, and diverse nature, thus, allowing for great weekend getaways.