Massive FRAUD and RIGGING in Bulgarian National Science Foundation's Call for Projects 2012
NATURE, Nov. 28, 2012 - "Funding protest hits Bulgarian research agency"
Bulgarian scientists have never had much faith in their research ministry, but the outcome of this year's grant competition has provoked a unprecedented storm of outrage. (local PDF-copy of Nature article)
NEWS (Jan. 2013): Official Report of the Chief Inspectorate Office of the Council of Minsiters of Bulgaria confirming all criminal mismanagements in Bulgarian National Science Foundation systematically covered up by the (in the mean time resigned) Minister of Education, Youth and Science
See also Legal appeal to the Attorney General of Bulgaria
Report by the Bulgarian State Agency of Financial Inspection on the official financial audit of Bulgarian National Science Foundation in April, 2012, uncovering a plethora of cheating, tampering with, and outright stealing of Bulgarian taxpayer's money destined for quality science research:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 (PDF scans, in Bulgarian)
[MS Word format (OCR-version)]
A New HUGE SCANDAL of MASS CORRUPTION and FRAUD
committed by the (in the mean time resigned) administration of Bulgarian National Science Foundation in the evaluation and grant awarding process during the recent Call for Fundamental Science and Applied Research Projects in the Principal Priority Areas of National Science Strategy 2012 is still boiling among Bulgarian Scientific Community:
(1) Principal areas of modern fundamental science were systematically ignored and replaced by pseudo-scientific "research";
(2) Internationally recognized research teams, instrumental in promoting the scientific and intellectual image of Bulgaria, were disqualified without clear motives;
(3) Several non-scientific entities (private corporations and foundations, "non-governmental" "think-tanks" and unions) lacking their own proper science research infrastructure and without any noticeable academic accomplishments were getting plentiful grants which do not serve recognizable scientific merits;
(4) Private enterprises and personalities, well known for their previous mismanagement of science research funds, once again were awarded ample grant money.
Among the first to protest were the Faculty of the Physics Department of Sofia University and the Scientific Concil of the Institute of Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Declaration by the Scientific Board of the Institute of Electronics of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences addressed to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and to the Education, Science, Children, Youth & Sports Committee of Bulgarian Parliament, demanding an ABROGATION of BNSF's Call for projects 2012 and an immediate resignation of Minister of Education, Youth and Science for systematically conducting incompetent and pro-corruption policies in science research administration (in Bulgarian)
- Official Address of the General Assembly of Scientists of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (English translation here) to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, the Minister of Education, Youth and Science, to the Education, Science, Children, Youth & Sports Committee of Bulgarian Parliament and to the Chairman of the Executive Board of BNSF, demanding ABROGATION of BNSF's Call for projects 2012 and complete publicity in all BNSF actions
- Official Appeal to the Attornery General of Bulgaria endorsed by broad circles of Bulgarian scientific community demanding legal investigation of the illegal acts of corruption, criminal conduct and negligence in violation of basic European Commision regulations by the BNSF managenent during the last Call for projects 2012
Pattern of "Efficient" Project Rejections under the (in the mean time resigned) BNSF Administration:
After the successful completion of our previous large project, the new project of our group under the Project Call 2012 (detailed description here (in Bulgarian)) has been rejected as was the case with the vast majority of projects submitted by the leading academic institutions in Bulgaria.
It took whole two and a half months since the official announcement of the short list of successfully passed projects (withholding ALL relevant details about number of scores in the pertinent referee reports, information about the threshold for entitlement to project financing, keeping the names and the affiliation of the members of the Scientific boards organizing the evaluation of the submitted projects as super secret "classified information") that the (in the mean time already forced to resign) BNSF staff send us the two official referee reports (in Bulgarian) about our own project.
A quick expert study of these referee reports reveals a curious pattern devised by the former BNSF management for "efficient" rejection of projects which do not originated from the "politically correct" academic circles and/or institutions regardless of their scientific merits. Already at first glance it becomes evident to a professional in the scientific area of the project that:
both referees are NOT experts in the relevant field (assessing their written comments);
Nevertheless, the scores given by these referees are relatively very high - 96 and 95 points, respectively, out of the maximal 100 points.
In normal countries such scores so close to the maximal ones usually grant project financing, but not in our lands. Judging by our own experience and the experience of several other colleagues of ours (one of them with a project scoring 99 points out of 100 still did not get a grant !!!) one can uncover the following pattern of rejection in former BNSF:
appoint referees regardless of their qualification and/or relation of their expertise to the scientific topics of the refereed projects;
instruct the referees to assign the maximal score of 100 points to a secretly selected small subset of projects by "politically correct" applicants again regardless of the scientific merits and quality of these projects;
instruct the referees to assign relatively high score to the rest of the projects but just below the engineered in advance threshold of 100 points for grant entitlement.
On top of the above criminal manipulations a significant quantity of submitted "politically incorrect" projects have been illegally disqualified by former BNSF due to various ficticious ostensible administrative reasons!
As a result, a huge number of quality project proposals from the leading scientific institutions and groups have been rejected with scores extremely close to the maximal ones while:
(a) whole bunch of microscopic pennyless! private companies, registered just hours before the deadline of grant proposal submission and lacking both highly qualified own scientific staff and an appropriate science research infrastructure, and
(b) low academic rank personnel from post-communist private university creations with less than modest scientific achievements and, accordingly, hardly detectable on the international scientific landscape,
have been amply awarded millions of taxpayer's grant money.
Naturally, one has to assume that all the latter bright shining scientific "stars" have received from their referees the generous maximal scores of 100 points (or may be more :):):)).
Here is our Official Letter of Rebuttal (in Bulgarian) of the BNSF management's denial of financing our new project.
In the mean time the Official Report of the Chief Inspectorate Office of the Council of Minsiters of Bulgaria investigating charges of massive fraud, corruption and illegal appropriation of funds allocated for science research by the (in the mean time forced to resign) administration of Bulgarian National Science Foundation has appeared. The report confirmed the whole criminal mismanagement in BNSF systematically covered up by the (in the mean time resigned) Minister of Education, Youth and Science. Among other things, the report published the names of the members of the various subcommittees for evaluation of the submitted projects in the various priority scientific areas of the Call for Projects 2012. These subcommittees were appointed by the (in the mean time resigned) Chairman of the Executive Board of BNSF (see below a funny example of his scientific "competence"). Here is the list of members of one of these subcommittees responsible for the priority scientific area "Fundamental Science Research with Applications in Education", where our own new project entitled "Quantum Field Theory and Gravitation - Fundamentals of Relativistic Quantum Information and Studies of the Structure of Nuclear Matter" was submitted:
All of the five listed academics are representatives solely and only of humanities and social sciences !!!
While we don't contest their expertise in their own areas of knowledge, one would very hardly imagine that they could have any clue about evaluating scientific projects at the forefront of modern theoretical physics and mathematics !!!