The Order for Merits bestowed upon the University of Nova Gorica
On Thursday, 15 October, 2015 at the solemn academy ceremony marking the twentieth anniversary of the University of Nova Gorica, the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor bestowed the Order for Merits upon the University of Nova Gorica for its remarkably successful development and its achievements enriching the Slovenian higher education area.
On behalf of the University of Nova Gorica, the award was received by the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, who thanked President Borut Pahor for honouring the university with the award.
“We perceive this award as an acknowledgment of our different nature, in terms of our contribution to the Slovenian university area, as a result of to our openness, international orientation and intercultural networking,” the Rector stated. On this occasion, he also made a reference to all those who the award is dedicated to. “The University of Nova Gorica is a result of the strong desire and will of a small number of individuals, scientists, university’s employees and students who believed and still believe in the University of Nova Gorica and continue to create its story,” the Rector expressed his gratitude to all those who have contributed to the founding and operating of the university.
For the past two decades, the University of Nova Gorica has witnessed rapid development. It was founded as the School of Environmental Sciences and was the first Slovenian higher education institution offering an international postgraduate study programme in Slovenia. It further developed into the Nova Gorica Polytechnic, and thus established even stronger links between its teaching and research activities. In 2006 it was transformed into a research university, where research and teaching represent two equally important foundations and thus shaped a new paradigm within Slovenia. The prerequisite for teaching contemporary study matter at study programmes of all levels is the scientific excellence of the university’s academic staff.
In 2011, the European Commission acknowledged the University of Nova Gorica as an intitution holding the largest development potential in the region in the field of materials science by including it in a large-scale research project. The scientific publications of the university’s academic staff cover a surprisingly wide spectrum of research areas, from natural sciences and life sciences to humanities and engineering. Moreover, according to the latest data of the Slovenian Research Agency, the academic staff of the University of Nova Gorica are in the very top on the nationl level in terms of their citations. The university has also contributed significantly to the cross-border cooperation with various research institutes and universities and thus enhanced research infrastructure and the development of the Slovenian border area along Slovenia’s western border.
The University of Nova Gorica offers modern study programmes, high applicative nature of the knowledge taught and strong links with the industry. This also contributes to the above-the-average employment rates of the graduates of all three levels. Another characteristic of the university is the high number of international academic staff members, which represents an important novelty in Slovenia and enables students and staff to gain invaluable international experience and great opportunities for mobilities with European universities. It is also essential to mention the Chair of Karstology at the University of Nova Gorica, the first Unesco Chair in Slovenia.
The University of Nova Gorica represents a new milestone also in terms of its legal status. It is a non-state university. The university is a result of the extremely successful cooperation between local communities and leading research institutions – the City Municipality of Nova Gorica, the Municipality of Ajdovščina, the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Research Centre of the Slovenian Scademy of Sciences and Arts.
Andreja Leban, Public Relations