University of Ljubljana every year traditionally opens the University Week with the presentation of the best research achievements. The purpose of the event is to emphasize the University’s focus on research and to present those researchers who achieved especially visible results that year. The Working Group of the Research and Development Committee evaluates and finalises the selection of the ten best achievements by focusing on their international impact, comprehensiveness, current relevance for the wider professional and general public, and applicability. All the proposals are assessed equally, regardless of the discipline, and regardless of whether they involved pure or applied research.

Ten best research achievements in 2020:

1. MAGO platform: an important tool for the production and mass evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes

The interdisciplinary group of researchers from the Biotechnical Faculty, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering of the University of Ljubljana and the Jožef Stefan Institute (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Boštjan Murovec, a junior researcher Leon Deutsch, Prof. Dr. Blaž Stres) achieved a significant milestone in the production and mass evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes with the development of the MAGO information platform.


2. The perception of career success depends on the cultural and institutional environment in a specific country

This was found in an international study by the 5C consortium in which Assoc. Prof. Dr. Robert Kaše played a major part. The study establishes an important basis for an emerging field of research dealing with international comparative aspects of careers.


3. A stand-alone monograph on the importance of graffiti and street art in the Balkans and Central Europe, published by Routledge

Prof. Dr. Mitja Velikonja from the Department of Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana published a monograph on the importance of political graffiti and street art as a subversive political medium in our region with the renowned Routledge Publishing House.


4. Researchers have developed a methodology for determining photovoltaic climate zones

The methodology for the global evaluation of solar power plants with the new Köppen-Geiger-Photovoltaic (KGPV) classification scheme developed at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana classifies the Earth into 12 zones.


5. Complex Spacing Ratios: A signature of Dissipative Quantum Chaos

The authors (doctoral student Lucas Sa and Pedro Ribeiro from the University of Lisbon and Prof. Dr. Tomaž Prosen from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana) show that the distribution of the ratios between the spacings of a randomly selected own value of a non-Hermitian operator to the nearest and next-to-nearest neighbours is a very robust statistic that successfully diagnoses integrability (exact solvability), or, alternatively, chaos, in a wide panel of dissipative quantum and classical stochastic systems.


6. Development of a tool for the democratisation of data analytics

Machine learning methods and artificial intelligence have become a driver for change in science, engineering and society. Computational approaches that can extract interesting patterns from comprehensive databases and develop predictive models are becoming ubiquitous. But only a few experts and even fewer lay individuals understand the basics of data science. What is needed is the democratisation of machine learning and the development of ways in which we can explain to anyone on a conceptual level what machine learning can do and how it can be used. The Bioinformatics Laboratory at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science of the University of Ljubljana developed a suitable environment, computational techniques and pedagogical approaches for this purpose.


7. Knowledge of intergenerational changes in being overweight and obese in children

Based on thirty years of monitoring of Slovenian youth, the researchers at the Faculty of Sport of the University of Ljubljana identified a halt to the trend of being overweight and obese before the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic.


8. Negative effect of acute hypoglycaemia on memory in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana found a reduction in spatial working memory capacity in adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in comparison to healthy peers during acute hypoglycaemia, while there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups when blood sugar levels were normal.


9. Microfluidic control over topological states in nematic liquid crystal flow

Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana became the first in the world to discover phase transitions to a nonequilibrium chiral state in liquid crystals and explain this in theoretical terms.


10. The impact of the humans on Lake Bohinj has been catastrophic for more than 3,000 years

A group of researchers from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering of the University of Ljubljana (UL NTF), the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC-SAZU), the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) and the CNRS and LSCE institutes from France studied 6,600 years of the impacts of climate and humans on Lake Bohinj.