Publish Date: 21.03.2016

Category: News from the University

The Rector of the University of Ljubljana Prof. Dr. Ivan Svetlik announced the best innovations of the University of Ljubljana for 2016. Project "Piezoelectric deformable mirror" was named the best innovation, followed by "Butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors for treatment of Alzheimer's disease" and the "SupraLac" project. Authors of all three winning projects received funding for commercialization of their innovation and a cash prize from the Rector's fund in the total amount of EUR 6,000.

The Rector award competition for the best innovation, which is organized by the University of Ljubljana in cooperation with the Ljubljana University Incubator (LUI), was organized for the sixth consecutive year. "Success of a university is mainly measured by how much new knowledge it is able to create. When this knowledge is created by the young, it is even more valuable," said the Rector of the University of Ljubljana Prof. Dr. Ivan Svetlik and added, "This proves that a university is developing the creative potential of its students and graduates and that the mentors are doing their job. This is the best promise for the development of our society and the best confirmation that the university is complying with its basic mission."

The University of Ljubljana is connecting science, economy and non-commercial activities in all fields. The purpose of such connection is an efficient and current transfer of knowledge and services to the economy and to society as a whole. "We are supporting this strategic direction with a number of instruments. One of these is the Ljubljana University Incubator, which was established by the University of Ljubljana with the purpose of facilitating the transfer of knowledge into entrepreneurship at home and abroad. The second instrument is the Rector award for the best innovation of the University of Ljubljana, which is awarded to ideas created within the scope of the University," said Vice-chancellor of the University of Ljubljana Prof. Dr. Tanja Mihalič.

Participation in the competition is an excellent opportunity to enter the business world of young entrepreneurs, which was confirmed by a member of last year's winning innovation entitled "Printing ink for irreversible temperature indicators with low temperature activation". "We decided to participate out of curiosity, and we wanted to compare our idea with others. When we won, the Ljubljana University Incubator instructed us on intellectual property, successful business models and encouraged us to commercialize our product in the market as soon as possible. They really helped us," Prof. Dr. Marta Klanjšek Gunde described her experience.

The technical commission selected eight finalists out of 22 teams, which included 76 participants, and named three winners. "Thirty percent of the participants were researches and professors, which is very encouraging since they represent a bridge between the economic sector and the University. Since 2010, when the Rector award for the best innovation of the University of Ljubljana was held for the first time, 461 participants and 162 ideas have been presented. Some disappear, some evolve into new ideas though experience, and 20 percent evolve into start-up companies," explained the General manager of the Ljubljana University Incubator Dr. Lidija Honzak.

Primož Zupan, the idea manager in Halcom Studio, the leading company in the field of e-banking and e-banking systems, also emphasized that the Rector award for the best innovation of the University of Ljubljana is a key opportunity for students and young researches to have the space and infrastructure to develop their ideas. "This is a test of persistence and strong belief in the ideas every one of us is developing. It's not important whether you achieve the original market or win an award for the best innovation. Even if you fail, it is the process that yields the greatest award, it creates unique knowledge, increasing our personal and socially competitive advantage."

This year's winners of the Rector award for the best innovation of the University of Ljubljana were delighted with their win and said, "This means a lot to us. It's a confirmation of our work, of our knowledge that our innovation means something."

The winners of the Rector award for the best innovation of the University of Ljubljana 2016:

1st place
Piezoelectric deformable mirror
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering and the Faculty of Social Work of the University of Ljubljana

2nd place
Butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors for treatment of Alzheimer's disease
Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana

3rd place
SupraLac
Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana

The technical committee selected the winning innovations on the basis of the following criteria:

  • precision of the description of the idea;
  • project inventiveness;
  • technological perspective of the product/service which is the subject of the project;
  • risk level in regard to the assessed market yield;
  • size of the marketing potential;
  • exposure to competitors and competitive advantages;
  • quality of the project economics;
  • quality of the planned organization of project implementation;
  • suitability of the project implementation team;
  • quality of the relationship with the University of Ljubljana;
  • innovation development;
  • impact on improving the quality of life;
  • team presentation during the interview.

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