"Science meets Entrepreneurship"

Aneliya Karadzhinova-Ferrer: the Physicist that Aims to Recreate the Spirit of CERN in Bulgaria

Aneliya Karadzhinova-Ferrer, ©Karoll
Aneliya Karadzhinova-Ferrer, ©Karoll

“Sci-Novator of the Week” is our brand new series of short stories that will feature the successful people from the Southeastern European startup ecosystem who have dared to remove the gap between science and entrepreneurship. We will tell you about researchers with notable achievements that aim to bring innovation to the region and are not afraid to set the trend in the tech sector.

Aneliya Karadzhinova-Ferrer prides herself on her extensive scientific work in the sphere of Physics and Engineering. “I have had the great opportunity to be part of the teams that are writing the contemporary history of physics, and who design and create equipment that facilitates the most precise studies in the most notable experiments in the sphere of elementary particles,” she says. 

The researcher, who is one of the participants in the Entrepreneurs in Science program established by the Karoll Knowledge Foundation, plans to create the first laboratory in Bulgaria that will be at the level of CERN. This business idea of hers reflects on her goal to maximize the favorable business environment comprised of internationally-oriented companies that exist in Bulgaria. According to Ferrer, her laboratory will provide the market with innovative decisions, professional knowledge, and experience while featuring top-class experimental equipment that no one currently offers in Bulgaria. Her story was originally featured in the Karoll Knowledge Portfolio for 2020, along with her plan to develop her business idea.

How Scientific Work provokes Business Ideas

Ferrer contributes significantly to the sphere of Physics and Engineering. She is currently a member of the CMS Experiment, a participant in the Innovative Detector for Electron-positron Accelerators, and works on the PaRaDeSEC “Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia”, which is a part of Horizon 2020 ERA. Apart from that, the scientist has also dedicated herself to educating young scientists – both as a member of the Snowmass Consultative group and the CMS Committee of young researchers where she facilitates the development of promising scientists, and as a university professor in the Chinese Ludong University. 

Her work on thе PaRaDeSEC program and her experience in developing detectors and next-generation sensors for CERN have helped her shape the idea of creating a laboratory in Bulgaria that is competitive to CERN. She believes that Sofia is one of the most attractive markets for achieving her company’s business goals as the capital has highly qualified talents, a flourishing startup community, and the benefit of low corporate taxes. 

The Karoll Knowledge Program

With that in mind, the scientist applied (and got approved for) for the Karoll Knowledge program “Entrepreneurs in Science”, which aims to support young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. The program has two stages – educational, during which participants have to scale their entrepreneurial and business skills with the help of lecturers that will provide them with insights on how to develop their project/company. The second stage of the program is a competition between the participants who have successfully completed the educational training. The ultimate prize for the winner is the funding of BGN30K that he can use to fulfill his project idea.

Bulgaria as a Hub for Next-generation Detectors and Sensors

Ferrer’s company – Thrace DSI Engineering Group – will be focused on the research, development, and provision of next-generation sensors, detectors, and electronic equipment, as well the construction of laboratories where these technologies will be created. “Practically, I will continue doing what I love, my vocation, the thing that has developed me as a scientist and engineer,” Ferrer shares.

Ferrer also announced that data from her initial research showed that although there is a big number of technological players in the Bulgarian market, the majority of them are focused on the sphere of information technology. In this sense, Thrace DSI Engineering Group will create a new technological niche that offers services aimed at scientific research and development, thus diversifying the Bulgarian technological ecosystem. 

“What makes my project unique are my skills, knowledge, and experience, as well as the international cooperation network with leading experts that I’ve created in the sphere of instrumental technologies (sensors, detectors, electronics),”  the scientist shares. She also adds that the long-term work of her team on CERN’s projects will give them a competitive advantage and the know-how required to provide companies worldwide with innovative solutions. 

According to the initial project, the tools and expertise of Thrace DSI Engineering Groups are of interest to companies developing technologies used for radiation detection, precise medical imaging, robotics, IoT, nuclear safety, photovoltaic solar panels, electric and fuel vehicle engines, and others.

The Development Strategy

Ferrer has developed a plan for the progress of her company. The administrative and legal work around the establishment of Thrace DSI Engineering Group is planned for the beginning of 2021. From that point, until the end of the year, the team will be focused on developing their first laboratory – the so-called “Grey Room” for which purpose the experts need to build a reliable electricity network and a special filter system for reducing the number of fine particles in the workplace. In 2022, the company will build a second laboratory, while simultaneously developing their Omnidirectional Radiation Detector, which will be detecting radiation for the purpose of protecting national borderline checkpoints, medical institutions, embassies, and governmental institutions. Last, but not least, Thrace DSI Engineering Group will be also concentrating efforts on the popularization of its services across Europe, North America, and Asia.

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