Publish Date: 20.05.2015

Category: News from the University

Ljubljana, 20 May 2015 – Today, the rector of the University of Ljubljana awarded the ten thousandth title of Doctor of Science, which was received by Doctor of Science Katarina Polajnar Horvat from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. Upon receiving the title that the University of Ljubljana has been awarding ever since its first academic year of 1919-1920, the ten thousandth doctorate holder said: “I am proud to have become a part of the University’s history with such an honour. This is a special and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an additional motivation for me as a researcher at the start of my career.” The first doctorate holder at the University of Ljubljana was Ana Mayer from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana who earned her PhD in chemistry in 1920. 

In Slovenia, the majority of Doctors of Science have received their doctorate at the University of Ljubljana and an increasing number of doctorates are awarded by the University to foreign students. “Doctoral study represent the pinnacle of the education pyramid, therefore we have ensured high standards of the study programme and its close relation to research,” said the rector of the University of Ljubljana, prof. dr. Ivan Svetlik, in his introductory speech, during which he also emphasised that a doctoral study is a guarantee for ensuring the suitable number of science and research and development staff in the country and for the development of top quality potentials of the younger generation. “The doctoral study should be financially supported and not only available to those individuals who have enough means to afford it,”  the rector believes. 

Prof. dr. Martin Čopič, the Vice-Rector of the University of Ljubljana who is in charge of pedagogical activity, is also in agreement that doctoral students are an indispensable pillar of research activities: “Without the doctoral study programme, the University would not be able to exist. We should be especially aware of this during the present times, when the only public source of financing the doctoral study programme is the one for early stage researchers, due to which the enrolment into this programme at University of Ljubljana has halved during the last two years.” He also said that the University of Ljubljana shall continue its efforts to improve the position and further growth of the doctoral study programme in Slovenia and to work together with independent research institutes while doing so. 

The work of researchers is exacting and full of challenges that arise from the outside as well as from the internal desire to discover the new and seek the truth. The title of Doctor of Science gives me joy, because I know I have already performed a lot of work and obtained achievements, but along with the title I also accept the responsibility for continuing scientific research,” proudly stated dr. Katarina Polajnar Horvat, the author of the ten thousandth doctoral thesis titled The Role of Social Factors in Developing Environmental Awareness and Changing  Environmental Behaviour.Her mentor prof. dr. Marko Polič stated that with her work she made an important contribution to science, since her thesis deals with social factors of forming and developing awareness about the environment and the individual’s behaviour towards the environment, which is a burning issue in the time of climate changes and environmental crises. “She demonstrated how people are different in their relationship with and behaviour towards the environment, what affects this and how a more environmentally friendly behaviour can be achieved. She formed an explanation model that is not only theoretically interesting but is also important in practice, if of course we will take it into account and try to achieve a more friendly attitude towards the environment.” 

The first Doctors of Science began their studies abroad and were then able to complete their studies in their own country after the University of Ljubljana was established. The first doctorate holder at the University of Ljubljana was Ana Mayer from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana who earned her PhD in chemistry in 1920. There are few universities that can claim that a woman was the first person to earn a doctorate at their university, therefore it is even more encouraging that the number of female doctorate holders is increasing. 


Photos by Željko Stevanić, IFP, d.o.o.