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Through this independent fellowships programme CAS ensures possibilities for conducting independent research in an international, interdisciplinary environment, without restrictions in the selected areas of study - an approach intended to stimulate excellent scholarship at the highest international level. The programme is closely in tune with CAS institutional philosophy which upholds that the freedom of research and the responsibility of the researcher are crucial for creating important new knowledge. At the same time, the research at CAS aims not only to cross, but to question disciplinary boundaries, national scholarly traditions and conventional approaches, thus allowing for innovative and challenging intellectual creativity at the highest level. The value of the independent research fellowships rests on the assumption that the Fellows receive a chance to focus on their individual projects for the duration of the fellowship, and that their inclusion in an interdisciplinary international intellectual milieu provides them with unique opportunities to exchange - and thus perfect and enrich - ideas across national, disciplinary and cultural borders. The invited Fellows actively participate in the intellectual life and the scholarly community of CAS and profit from the Centre's wide international networks, seminar- and guest-lecturer programmes.
The project is organized in three modules:
1) Independent Fellowships for Bulgarian Scholars - funded by the America for Bulgaria Foundation - AFB (2009-2016). This module will provide a total of 50 fellowships to young and established scholars within a seven-year period. ABF assists in the development and growth of a vibrant private sector for the benefit of a free and democratic Bulgaria. Founded in 2008, the ABF is a successor to the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created by the U.S. government acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grants provided by ABF will build on the legacy of goodwill and friendship that exists between the American people and the citizens of Bulgaria.
2) Independent Fellowships for International Scholars (2011-2016) enables CAS to invite outstanding non-Bulgarian scholars (Senior and Junior) to pursue their individual research projects in residence in Sofia. The module is supported by a donator within the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation .
3) Gerda-Henkel Fellowships (2016-2018) are aimed at scholars in the field of the Humanities and Social Sciences that come from the countries of the former Soviet Union. There are no thematic restrictions as regards the proposed project topics. The selection of fellows is carried out by the CAS Academic Advisory Council in coordination with the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Information about the call is disseminated by the Gerda Henkel foundation; and by CAS Sofia via the established contacts and network of the institute.
Selection is carried out by the CAS Academic Advisory Council - a special committee comprising internationally renowned scholars in different academic fields.