Publish Date: 25.10.2022

Category: News from the University

Ljubljana, 25 October 2022 – European Research Council awarded the Synergy Grant to Prof. Dr. Bojan Mohar from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana. He will lead this interdisciplinary research project in cooperation with the colleagues from Spain, France and Switzerland, focusing on the research of Karst underground water and caves.

ERC Synergy Grant for international research team on underground cave systems will unlock new understanding of underground cave systems with the project “KARST”. This is another exceptional achievement of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana, since ERC is the most prestigious scientific project that can be obtained by an individual researcher at the European as well as the global level.

Physicist Benoit Noetinger of IFPEN (France), mathematician Bojan Mohar of University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), hydrogeologist Philippe Renard of University of Neuchatel (Switzerland), and hydrologist Marco Dentz of IDAEA-CSIC (Spain) have been selected for a prestigious ERC Synergy Grant for the research project KARST. This is the first ERC Synergy Grant awarded to a Slovenian researcher. Synergy grants require complementary expertise of a group of three or four researchers, each of which brings a different component into the project, and whose participation is essential for the success of the proposed research.

“Karst aquifers are both a treasure and a threat. While up to 25% of the world population depends on them for drinking water, they also have capabilities for extremely fast conduction of water and contaminants,” said Prof. Bojan Mohar at the project granting ceremony and added: “With this grant, we will combine our skills to unravel the physical laws that govern water flow and pollutant transport in underground cave systems (karst aquifers). The main goal of this interdisciplinary ERC Synergy grant is the prediction of catastrophic events under extreme conditions, which is especially important in view of the climate change.”

“Already in April, our established researchers, the academician Prof. Dr. Franc Forstnerič and Prof. Dr. Maruša Bradač, were awarded the ERC Advanced Grants, which was a truly magnificent achievement. This new extraordinary achievement of Prof. Dr. Bojan Mohar is another confirmation of the systemic and high-quality work at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Ljubljana. Considering the extremely complex and strict evaluation protocol for the ERC projects, we can now see objective results which encourage and enrich the entire Slovenian academic sphere,” said Prof. Dr. Tomaž Košir, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Ljubljana.

Prof. Bojan Mohar researches and teaches mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Ljubljana and the Simon Fraser University, which is among the most renowned Canadian universities in terms of research achievements. He is a member of the Slovenian Engineering Academy and of Canadian Royal Society. Prof. Mohar is active in the area of graph theory and theoretical computing, especially in topological and structural graph theory, algebraic graph theory and computational geometry. Mohar’s achievements in algebraic graph theory made important impact - they have been used in computer science and can also be linked with the functioning of the Google search engine. He has also made breakthrough discoveries in topological graph theory; some of his main achievement in this area are collected in the principal contemporary work for this area, which is his monograph Graphs on Surfaces, published in cooperation with Carsten Thomassen in 2001 at Johns Hopkins University Press.


Every year, the European Research Council – ERC selects and funds the most creative researchers of any nationality and age, to implement projects based in Europe. It offers four long-term and financially rich schemes of research projects: ERC project to start the independent research path (Starting Grant), ERC project to consolidate the independent research path (Consolidator Grant), ERC project for established researchers (Advanced Grant) and ERC project for research synergies (Synergy Grant). The European Research Council (ERC) set up by the European Union in 2007 is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research from all areas of science without predefined priorities. It promotes the work of established top researchers and ensures the growth of future generations of researchers in Europe. Its only selection criterion for projects and granting funds is scientific excellence. Before the beginning of Horizon Europe, the European Research Council funded already over 12,000 top researchers at different levels of their careers and over 75,000 PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and other colleagues in their research teams. It strives to attract the best researchers from all around the world to do their research in Europe. It has agreements concluded with key research agencies around the world to allow their researchers to temporarily participate in ERC research projects in Europe. The European Research Council is by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council composed of 22 top researchers from different scientific fields. At the moment, its chairperson is Maria Leptin. The ERC budget is part of Horizon Europe.


Prof. dr. Bojan Mohar
Photo: Personal archives