Digital repository


December 25, 2009


Conference on Materials and Technology,
November 16-18, 2009, PortoroŽ, Slovenia


Profs. Monika Jenko and Franc Vodopivec at the opening ceremony

Prof. Dr. Dragan Uskoković


Posters exhibited in the hotell hall


Cocktail at the Grand Hotel Bernardin in Portorož


Awarding committee with the awarded young researchers

Between November 16 and November 18, 2009, I took part in the 17th Conference on Materials and Technology, held at the Congress Centre GH Bernardin in Portorož, Slovenia (https://www.imt.si/portoroz/index.html). It was organized by the Slovenian Materials Research Society, i.e. by the Institute of Metals and Technology, Institute of Chemistry, Jožef Stefan Institute and Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.
The Conference included 30-minute invited lectures, poster presentations and a special session dedicated to the competition of young researchers. It was attended by about one hundred participants from a dozen European countries and one participant coming from Argentina. Seventeen invited lectures, given by researchers who have been cooperating with Slovenian research institutions for quite a long period of time, covered a wide variety of issues. The poster session included about 40 poster presentations, mostly by Slovenian authors.

During the first day of the Conference, I gave an invited lecture titled “The Design of Fine Particles with Control at the Nano Scale“, which aroused significant interest among conference participants, resulting in a lively discussion, which was resumed during the break after the session. Cooperation opportunities were one of the topics discussed.

The session dedicated to the competition of young researchers was particularly interesting. Twenty-eight participants, two of whom came from the Czech Republic, were given an opportunity to speak about their results during eight-minute presentations and two-minute discussions. The presentations covered the following topics:

  • Nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • Advanced materials
  • Polymers
  • Metallic materials
  • Vacuum techniques.

The award decisions were made by a four-member committee. Each of the four awarded participants were given a diploma and a monetary prize of 500 EUR.

The presentations were in English. They were all very well prepared. A great deal of young researchers who took part in the competition had had an opportunity to spend a certain period of time during their postgraduate and doctoral studies in English-speaking countries. Another thing that has to be pointed out is excellent equipment available at laboratories in which those young researchers are working. In 2009, the government funding reached 180 million euros, which makes an 11% increase compared to 2008 (160 million euros). Moreover, eight projects were allocated grants under the annual call for proposals for centres of excellence; during the next three years, 80 million euros will be invested into equipment. What is also important is that young researchers are supervised by tutors who bear full responsibility for their development. On the other hand, researchers are obliged to complete their doctoral studies within a four-year period. After that, the best of them continue to work at research institutes, whereas others find employment in industrial development centres. Practically all of them manage to find job in Slovenia and have no desire to leave it.

In a series of conversations with conference participants my attention was drawn to the fact that in 2009 Slovenia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology launched a programme aimed at stimulating WO patent applications by providing financial support (up to 5,000 EUR), which completely covers the cost of a two-year patent protection period. During that period, the applicants decide whether they will continue to protect their intellectual property (usually in cooperation with a strategic partner), or simply give it up.

The Conference was concluded by a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Institute of Metals and Technology and the 40th anniversary of the research in electronic microanalysis. It was a great pleasure to hear Profs. Monika Jenko and Franc Vodopivec, who tried to highlight the key moments in the formation of the Institute and recall the memories of its most successful periods.

On my way back from Portorož, I visited the Department of Advanced Materials (headed by Prof. Dr. Danilo Suvorov) of the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, where Dr. Smilja Marković and Marija Vukomanović, MSc, members of my team, are currently doing their research. What I could see was their full dedication to research yielding excellent results.



Prof. Dr. Dragan Uskoković
President of MRS-Serbia and
Director of the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA
Phone: +381 11 2636 994
e-mail: dragan.uskokovic@itn.sanu.ac.rs


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