Research news

Asst. prof. dr. Nejc Bezak of UL FGG recipient of the international Danubius Young Scientiest Award

Photo: Gašper Rak. Personal archive of Nejc Bezak

Publish Date: 26.11.2021

Category: Researchers in focus , Our contribution to sustainable development goals

Sustainable development goals: 4 Quality education, 6 Clean water and sanitation, 13 Climate action, 15 Life on land (Indicators)

Among this year's recipients of the International Danubius Young Scientist Award (DYSA) in the 2021 generation as the sole representative of Slovenia is Asst. Prof. Dr. Nejc Bezak from University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering .

The Danubius Award was created in 2011 by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBFW) and the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM) with the intention to honour persons with extraordinary achievements in their scientific activity and output in relation to the Danube Region. The Danubius Award is intended to represent recognition for a profound scientific analysis of the Danube region.

Nejc Bezak (born 1988), Assistant Professor at the University of Ljubljana (UL), Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering (FGG) is without doubts one of the finest and most talented young hydrologists in the Danube River basin countries. His research work at the University of Ljubljana is composed from two main parts. The first part is focused on the hydrological processes, mostly on the rainfall-runoff relationship. This includes hydrological (i.e. rainfall-runoff) modelling, climate change investigations, statistical analysis of past measured data, field measurements using state-of-the-art equipment, etc. The second part of Nejc Bezak’s research work is focused on different elements of the erosion-sedimentation cycle. This includes soil erosion modelling, rainfall erosivity investigations, erosion and sediment transport measurements, landslides triggering prediction, debris flow modelling and investigations of the historical events, etc.

Nejc Bezak has worked on several research topics, but we'd like to highlight his investigation how climate change will affect water resources in karst catchments where vulnerability of these systems is large and potential change in the low-flow dynamic can have significant impact on the groundwater characteristics in karst areas. This can affect, among others, water supply and ecological functioning of karst rivers. Since large ice-free continental areas are underlain by karst (e.g., 35% of Europe and a significant part of the Danube River basin) and they are in many places around the world crucial for drinking water supply. Therefore, this kind of investigation is of prime importance for the future generations.

In the last few years, he has dedicated a lot of time to the investigations related to the large-scale rainfall erosivity characteristics and developed methodology for the global-scale assessment of rainfall erosivity that could be used as input to dynamic global-scale soil erosion models:

 nb slika 1

Picture: Mean global rainfall erosivity map for the 1998-2019 period based on the CMORPH product (a) and ED concept using the ERA5 (b) Source

Nejc Bezak has also actively contributed to several applied projects such as investigation of the landslide characteristics of the Koroška Bela area that was conducted together with the Geological Survey of Slovenia.  Currently he is leading the hydrological study of the Sava River tributaries related to the design phase of the hydropower plants in the middle Sava reach.

NB slika 2

Picture: Results of the geological field survey with indicated potential debris flow material that could be mobilized during an extreme torrential event. Locations of existing check dams and potential locations for new ones are also shown (i.e. NCD1-NCD4). Moreover, an example of the debris-flow material a few meters downstream of the Čikla landslide is also shown. The coordinate system is Gauss-Krueger Slovenia, distances are shown in meters. Source

However, his work is not focused just on research but primarily his is working as a teacher (i.e. assistant professor) at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering. In 2018 Nejc Bezak has received “best teacher” award that is issued by the student council at the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering. He is also member of the EUTOPIA Young Leaders Academy and recipient of Special Commendation for Young Higher Education Teachers of University of Ljubljana, for outstanding teaching, research, and creative achievements in 2021.  

The winners of the Danubius Awards 2021 have been given their prizes during the Danube Awards Virtual Ceremony:

back to list