The University of Food Technologies is situated in Plovdiv - the second biggest city in Bulgaria. The University is a well-respected national centre of food and biotechnology science and education in Bulgaria. Education is organized in a three-level structure - Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degree, with about 4000 students enrolling annually. 

Every year, about 50 Bachelor, 20 Master and 3-5 Doctoral students study at the Department of Biotechnology following accredited curricula.The mission of the Department is to educate highly competitive specialists in the field of biotechnology, to develop its research and teaching potential, to build collaborations with national and international universities and other institutions.

In 1963, for the first time in Bulgaria prof. Milen Beshkov and prof. Yana Popova initiated the establishment of  biotechnology education at UFT. The first 11 graduates received their diplomas in 1966, and at that time the major was called "Technology of biopreparations, vitamins and yeasts". In 1973, the majors at UFT were reorganized and the name of our major changed to "Technology of microbial and fermented products".

In 1984, new curricula were established according to the new higher education regulations for majors in Bulgaria,and a new section, Biotechnology, was established, which included a new major for UFT - "Technology of bioproduction".

The importance of biotechnologies for the development of the state economy and the role of qualified specialists in this field, the new Department of Biotechnology was established at UFT with decision of the UFT Academic Council and Rector’s Order No. 177/ 5th February, 1991. The first Head of Department was prof. Stoyanka Gargova.

In 1992, a new structure of majors was introduced at UFT and our major was called "Technology of Bioproducts". Since 1997, the major is named "Biotechnologies".

In 2002, the two educational degrees - Bachelor and Master were introduced at the Department in compliance with the Law of Higher Education of 1995.

Throughout all these years, education at the Department was carried out by highly qualified faculty: prof. M. Beshkov, prof. Y. Popova, prof. S.Chaga, prof. M. Ilieva, prof. E. Karova, prof. L. Kupenov, prof. I. Murgov, assoc. prof. Roshkova-Rajcheva and others.

More than 700 students studied in our lecture halls and laboratories and graduated with a diploma in biotechnology. Also, over50 foreign students from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America received their education at our Department.

During the past years, more than 50 Doctoral students have successfully completed their studies at the Department, and 17 lecturers were promoted to higher academic positions.

Academic teaching at the Department is closely related to the ongoing research activities at the Department, which contributes to the continuous improvement of student education. The main research fields at the Department are:

  • Microbial protein products for food and feed;
  • Biosynthesis of enzymes, amino acids, antibiotics, vitamins , organic acids and other biologically active substances;
  • Application of immobilized enzymes and microbial cells in the biotechnology and food industries;
  • Selection of industrial microbial strains producing biologically active substances ;
  •  Processes design and optimization;
  • Development of functional foods and ingredients;
  • Biotechnology methods for food and drink development;
  • Biotechnological approaches in food quality and safety;

Research results are published in numerous scientific papers and are presented at national and international scientific forums.
Since its establishment, the Department is actively involved in international collaboration with foreign universities. The Department has established collaborative contacts with universities from UK, Germany, USA, Japan, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, France, Greece, Macedonia and other countries.

Since 1994, the Department of Biotechnology participates in the educational activities funded by the EC under the TEMPUS programme. All faculty of the Department together with our colleagues from UCTM, Sofia, UMIST, UK, University of Granada and University of Crete were involved in the development of a national curriculum for education in biotechnology for the Bachelor degree. Under the same program, more than 10 students carried out part of their education at EU universities. Each year, 3-5 students from our Department study abroad for a few months within the SOCRATES/ ERASMUS programme of the EU.

The active participation in international research and educational programmes of the Department generates significant financial resources to ensure high-quality and innovative education of our students.
Most of our graduates find jobs related to their background. They hold positions mainly as technologists in biotechnology and food companies, division heads, specialists in trade companies, food quality and safety managers, researchers and managers of scientific and control laboratories. The knowledge and skills obtained are the basis for many of them to establish their own businesses. Some of our colleagues have successful carriers abroad, which is a high acknowledgment of our efforts and expertise.

Looking at the future of biotechnology education at UFT and the realisation of our graduates, we are confident that the Department will continue to be an important part of our university’s structure. The present position of biotechnology as a priority branch of the economy world-wide opens new perspectives for education and science in this field.

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