25th anniversary of the University of Nova Gorica

Sept. 24, 2020

This year, the University of Nova Gorica marks the 25th anniversary since its establishment.

On 24 September 1995, the Contract establishing the School of Environmental Sciences – the first international postgraduate school in Slovenia established by the Municipality of Nova Gorica and the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana – was concluded at Kromberk Castle, Nova Gorica.

As Akad. Prof. Dr. Boštjan Žekš, the first principal of the School, said upon the jubilee, “It all commenced at the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), where the idea of a new higher education and research institution, which we felt was necessary for two reasons, first emerged. The first reason was that many highly qualified IJS scientists did not have access to education work and therefore no opportunity to pass on their knowledge to younger generations. The second reason was that we felt our higher education needed to be renewed and opened and to have its links with the world enhanced. We believed that a new university of the highest possible quality, open to the world, could make a major contribution to the development and renewal of our higher education.”

Within the three first years of operation, it was reorganised and renamed to the Nova Gorica Polytechnic due to the introduction of new study programmes and the expansion of scientific research. The key turning point came on 17 March 2006, when the Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia confirmed the establishment of the fourth Slovenian university – the University of Nova Gorica.

Today, pedagogical activity is carried out within seven schools. The research activities are carried out in six centres and four laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment. So far, 244 doctors of science, 433 masters and 925 graduates have completed their studies.

During the years of its operation, the University of Nova Gorica has developed into a first-class university institution, recognised worldwide primarily for its scientific excellence and international involvement. Our study programmes are increasingly attracting foreign students from all over the world. The number of foreign students increases from year to year; in this academic year, foreign students, from 48 countries in Europe and other continents, represent as much as 54% of the student population. The University is also an attractive environment for foreign scientists and professors – the number of experts from other countries comprises 25% of the total number of employees.

The University of Nova Gorica is unlike any other higher education institution in Slovenia and beyond. “One of the distinctions is certainly our status as a private or rather non-state university, which allows for greater flexibility and dynamism in carrying out our mission. The second is that we are not the result of a political project. The University of Nova Gorica was established, created and built by individuals, employees, external collaborators and students. Therefore, we all, including the students, nurture an extraordinary sense of belonging to it,” said the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik.

This year, the European Union once again recognised the excellence of the University of Nova Gorica, namely the results of the U-Multirank 2020 global international comparison of universities showed that the UNG is ranked among the world’s elite universities in terms of quality. The University of Nova Gorica’s excellence in research, international orientation and regional involvement has been specifically recognised. Moreover, the UNG also shows good results in the field of learning and teaching. Already in 2015, upon the international evaluation by the EUA, a group of external experts considered our university to be “a young and dynamic university with happy and content students.”

The developments to date have shown that the University of Nova Gorica should remain as such in the future. “Therefore, in our strategic orientations, the University remains a small but distinct research and internationally open university that offers first-class education available to everyone. Particularly the latter will require new approaches in the organisation of the University and perhaps even in the ownership or establishment. This will ensure its existence in the international environment and that it continues to contribute to the diversity of higher education in Slovenia,” said Prof. Dr. Zavrtanik.

Upon this important anniversary of the University, Rector Prof. Dr. Zavrtanik congratulates all who have contributed to the successful development of the University, including employees, external collaborators and especially students, who have trusted us and spent good and difficult times with us. He wishes for his colleagues and students that their twenty-five-year-old dream of a university campus comes true as soon as possible, the dream of a university campus where all activities are concentrated, where scientific thought flourishes and where new knowledge will be passed on to younger generations.

Andreja Leban, Public Relations

Photo: Miha Godec