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INSAIT Receives a $1.5M Grant From VMware To Create Globally Competitive Talent

Image credit: © VMware
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  • The global cloud computing company VMware supports The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) with a $1.5M grant to stimulate technological innovation in Bulgaria and Europe.


  • With the investment, VMware aims to help INSAIT attract world-class researchers and specialists, and train the next generation of innovators and engineers. 


  • INSAIT is already backed with $100M from the Bulgarian government, $6.5M from SiteGround, $3.75M from Amazon Web Services (AWS), $3M from Google, $550K from Bulgarian entrepreneurs, and $285K from DeepMind, alongside business angels Vassil Terziev, Bogomil Balkansky, Ivan Osmak, Atanas Simeonov, Nedelcho Spasov, Stanimir Vassilev, Svetozar Georgiev, Hristo Hristov, Lubo Minchev, and Ivo Evgeniev. 


The investment comes 5 months after the institute opened its doors in Sofia to grow the Bulgarian scientific community, and attract, develop, and retain local and international research talent. The $1.5M grant will be used to attract both faculty of international scholars and researchers, and Ph.D. students in the fields of computer science, systems engineering, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, storage, and transmission data.

“Innovation is a key element in VMware’s strategy. With this investment, we reinforce our commitment to developing talent in Central and Eastern Europe and building a sustainable environment for research and new technologies,” Diana Stefanova, Vice President of Global Sites Strategy at VMware shares in a press release. 

Raghu Raghuram, CEO at VMware, highlights that innovation and talent are closely related to the culture of VMware. This is especially relevant for their R&D center in Sofia, for which the company needs to attract the best talent in the industry.

Financial support and knowledge exchange

Through its VMware University Research Fund, VMware will be able to secure a 10-year agreement between the Swiss technological universities ETH Zurich, EPFL, and the Bulgarian government. The VMware Academic Program has supported the development of research at universities and institutes in the US and around the world for more than 15 years.

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Besides the financial support, the Bulgarian team of VMware will also share technological know-how and expertise in areas such as cloud technologies, network connectivity, computing, and cyber security. This collaboration aims to result in breakthrough discoveries in critical areas such as security and privacy in artificial intelligence, programmable networks, and the data economy

“As a global technology leader, VMware understands the key role of investing in talent and creating affordable development opportunities. By attracting and developing world-class experts, they enable other processes such as the democratization of science and the resolution of global technological challenges,” Professor Martin Vechev, Chairman of the Board of INSAIT, remarks. 

The AI pioneer in SEE

Being the first AI institute in Southeastern Europe, INSAIT is created in partnership with ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, two of the world’s leading technology universities, and is structured as a special unit of the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.  

As a pioneer, INSAIT will hold a conference on emerging trends in AI and computing to gather world-renowned researchers in Sofia on September 30 – October 1, 2022. The theme is Emerging Trends in AI and Computing Research, and the aim is to present the latest and most exciting research advances, which are about to fundamentally change technology in the coming years

The event will be joined by top researchers from Google Research, AWS, MIT, ETH Zurich, EPFL, and Yale who will give keynotes on machine learning, computer vision, cybersecurity, natural language processing, programming, languages, cryptography, computer architecture, program verification, and more. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.