The Dr. Ana Mayer Kansky Award for outstanding doctoral thesis is awarded to doctoral theses that meet the criteria of excellence in their field and whose content represents a cutting-edge achievement and breakthrough in the scientific and/or artistic field.

The prizes are awarded annually to University of Ljubljana doctoral students for outstanding doctoral theses in the following fields: 

  • Natural Sciences,
  • Engineering,
  • Biomedicine and Biotechnology,
  • Humanities and Education,
  • Social Sciences, and
  • Arts. 

Candidates for the award are Doctors of Philosophy who have obtained their doctoral degree at the University of Ljubljana. A maximum of one prize in each field may be awarded in any one year. The first prizes were awarded in 2023.

About Ana Mayer Kansky

On 15 July 1920, Ana Mayer from Lo┼że pri Vipavi, married name Kansky, became the first person to be promoted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at University of Ljubljana, the first of the Slovenian universities and the only at that time. Between 1914 and 1918, she studied chemistry and physics at the Faculty of Philosophy in Vienna. Due to the events that were already foreshadowing the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the University of Vienna decreed after the end of World War I that students of Slavic nationalities had to leave the university, so in 1918 Ana left her studies in Vienna and returned to Ljubljana. The following year, she resumed her studies at the newly founded University of Ljubljana, where she began researching the chemistry of starch. In 1920, she defended her thesis On the Effect of Formalin on Starch and became the first doctor of science at the University of Ljubljana.

The fact that a woman was the first recipient of a doctorate at the oldest university in Slovenia has an important symbolic value, because at that time the academic world was heavily male-dominated. The fact that the first doctorate was awarded to a woman was also a rarity in the world. Not only was she the first woman to obtain a doctoral degree from the first Slovenian university, but in a 1978 volume published by the University of Padua, Anna Kansky was ranked 72nd in the world among women who had obtained their doctoral degrees by 1920, which is certainly another remarkable achievement on a global scale. After defending her doctorate, she became the first woman to take up a position as a teaching assistant at the newly founded university. In 1922, she resigned as a researcher and went on to prove herself as an entrepreneur.