Velina Tchakarova studied Political Science and International Relations at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg in Germany and at the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in political science and a Bachelor Degree in International Relations. Since March 2010 Velina is a Research Fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security policy (AIES).
During her studies she worked as a student assistant for the Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg and as a tutor for the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute. Between 2003 and 2009 Velina was a volunteer assistant at the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research with focus on the conflict of Chechnya until 2009. During her study in Heidelberg, she was a scholarship holder of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Germany. Over the past seven years, Velina has obtained various training certificates – ranging from soft skills training courses and the Stanford Game Theory Coursera class to the EU Trainer Certificate with focus on the EU enlargement process towards the Western Balkans.
Her fields of research cover the Black sea area with regard to geopolitical and security-related issues in this region and with special focus on the role of the regional key players Russia and Turkey. Her other main research topic refers to the approach of the EU towards Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.