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Slovenia in the Global Network: Knowledge Circulation and Building New Bridges between Professors and Students in Slovenia and Abroad. 

July 13, 2023

On Wednesday, July 5th, a debate on the topic “Opportunities of collaboration and return to Slovenia” took place at the Institute Jožef Stefan as part of the 5th Conference of Slovenian Young Researchers and Students from around the world and Slovenia, organized by the Slovenian World Congress. During the event, Dr. Mihaela Pavličev presented the role of scholarship programs in the context of knowledge circulation, using the example of ASEF.

In the introductory part, Dr. Mihaela Pavličev, a professor of theoretical evolutionary biology at the University of Vienna, emphasized the importance of knowledge circulation and connections between professors and students on a global level. Scholarship programs play a significant role in facilitating these connections as they are key elements in promoting opportunities for research. It is essential to enable professors to exchange knowledge and research practices with colleagues from abroad, while students benefit from international experience and networking opportunities, which prepare them for the job market.

She then introduced ASEF, an organization that implements two scholarship programs.  The “Visit Slovenia” scholarship program, supported by the Government Office for the Slovenians Abroad, is a one-year program that allows students and researchers with Slovenian roots to come to Slovenia for a 10-week research visit. It offers collaboration with Slovenian professors and institutions in their study or professional field, providing opportunities for professional growth. Additionally, scholarship recipients have the chance to get acquainted with Slovenia, its language, and culture. They also engage with Slovenes and Slovenian communities, contributing to the expansion of intercultural understanding and collaboration.

The “Research Abroad” scholarship program is a three-year program designed for Slovenian students who undertake a 10-week research visit to prominent universities abroad, such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cambridge, and other universities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. Students usually stay with Slovenian families to become involved in the activities of Slovenian expatriate communities. The main purpose of this scholarship program is to build bridges between Slovenia and its roots abroad, bringing new knowledge back to the home environment. This knowledge is further utilized through various educational programs implemented by ASEF scholarship recipients with the support of the Office for Youth.

At the end of the presentation, the collaboration between the ASEF and higher education institutions in Slovenia and abroad was highlighted, along with the involvement of ASEF mentors, volunteers, Slovenian host families, and donors as well as funders who actively contribute to the development and support of education.The debate was also attended by Dr. Špela Stres from the Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency (ARIS), Dr. Klementina Fon Tacer from Texas Tech University, president of the World Network of the University of Ljubljana (SMUL), Dr. Sebastian Dahle from the Biotechnical Faculty, Dr. Matja Zalar from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, and Dr. Jernej Ule from The Francis Crick Institute. The event was moderated by Dr. Matic Lozinšek, the President of the Council of Early Career Researchers1.

1Not confirmed yet.