Tech-Scene Sofia

How Bulgaria Got Its MIT

Can Eastern Europe’s first-of-its-kind AI Institute bring its brightest minds home?

Martin Vechev at the INSAIT in Sofia.
Martin Vechev at the INSAIT in Sofia.Andrey Andon

Sometimes to make a dream come true, you need to manifest a bold declaration to the world. A personal treaty that keeps you bound to your decision. A young PhD candidate in computer science at Cambridge once wrote down in his application that his long-term goal was to create a world-class research institution in his homeland Bulgaria, just like Cambridge. Twenty years later, he launched The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) in Sofia. Created in partnership with ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, two of the world’s leading technology universities, INSAIT is designed to resemble the architecture of top academic institutions like MIT, ETH, EPFL, and Stanford.

„When you lose some of your most talented people, you will not be able to compete with countries like the U.S.A., Switzerland, Israel.“

Martin Vechev

As the world started writing poetry and business applications with Chat GPT, waking up to the potential of this powerful technology, Eastern Europe’s first-of-its-kind AI Institute made this audacious statement: It aims to compete with the top institutions in the world. Prof. Martin Vechev, INSAIT’s architect, knows that to keep its bold promise of pursuing excellence in the fast-evolving universe of AI, the institute must swiftly turn into an incubator for world-class talent. For a country like Bulgaria, which has lost more than half a million people in the last 30 years after the fall of communism, this sounds like the Labors of Hercules.

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