SAVAS 2020

The U.S. Embassy Slovenia and the American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) jointly invite you to The Slovenian American Virtual Academic Symposium (SAVAS), which will take place online on Monday, November 16, 2020, from 5 PM to 8 PM CET / from 11 AM to 2 PM EST / from 8 AM to 11 AM PST.


The SAVAS will bring together professors, administrators, and other academics from both nations interested in enhancing formal, informal, research, or exchange-focused relationships. The symposium’s goal is to show examples of highly successful collaborations between the U.S. and Slovenia, introduce available support mechanisms, and enable faculty to meet other faculty in their fields in the U.S. and Slovenia.

We are delighted to announce two outstanding keynote speakers; Robert Jeraj, Ph.D., is a Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S., and Anja Svetina Nabergoj, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Our speakers will present their own experiences in developing highly successful collaborations between the U.S. and Slovenia.

The symposium will feature a panel from members of institutions and organizations that will discuss available support mechanisms (Fulbright Program, Slovenian Research Agency, NSF+ERC, ASEF, etc.). Further, attendees will have an opportunity to introduce themselves to a smaller group of potential collaborators and partners within their fields.

After the first introductory symposium in November 2020, we are planning a follow-up virtual symposium during the spring of 2021, with a focus on establishing new collaborations. Competitive travel grants will be offered to stimulate collaborations.

SAVAS 2020 is now available for viewing!
SAVAS 2020


Monday, November 16, 2020

5:00 PM (CET) / 11:00 AM (EST) / 8:00 AM (PST) Opening remarks

U.S. Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard

Jure Leskovec (ASEF, Stanford University)

5:10 PM (CET) / 11:10 AM (EST) / 8:10 AM (PST) Examples of highly successful collaborations between the U.S. and Slovenia

Robert Jeraj (University of Wisconsin-Madison) [PDF slides]

Anja Svetina Nabergoj (University of Ljubljana)

6:00 PM (CET) / 12:00 PM (EST) / 9:00 AM (PST) Examples of successful international collaborations on the institutional level

Aleksandra Lovrencic (University of Maribor)[PDF slides]

Danijela Voljč (University of Ljubljana)

6:20 PM (CET) / 12:20 PM (EST) / 9:20 AM (PST) Panel discussing available support mechanisms

Fulbright Program (Brian Street, U.S. Embassy Ljubljana)

Slovenian Research Agency (Mojca Boc) [PDF slides]

National Science Foundation & European Research Council, Human Frontier Science Program, BILAT USA 4.0 (Andrej Košmrlj, Princeton University) – [PDF slides]

Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (Špela Sušec) – [PDF slides]

ASEF (Marinka Žitnik, Harvard University) – [PDF slides]

7:00 PM (CET) / 1:00 PM (EST) / 10:00 AM (PST) Breakout sessions with opportunities to meet other attendees in specific fields

Education, Exchange Programs, Summer Schools

Arts, Design, Music

Business, Economics, Law

Computer Science

Health, Medicine, Pharmaceutics

Humanities and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Physics, Engineering, Materials Science

7:55 PM (CET) / 1:55 PM (EST) / 10:55 AM (PST) Closing remarks

Keynote Speakers


Professor of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.

Robert Jeraj, Ph.D., is a Professor of Medical Physics, Human Oncology, Radiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he leads the Imaging and Radiation Sciences Program at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. Prof. Jeraj received both his undergraduate education and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Ljubljana. Prof. Jeraj is also a Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he initiated a graduate program in medical physics over a decade ago, and where he currently leads a research group of medical physics. His main research interest is in understanding tumor heterogeneity, and the related origins and development of treatment resistance using extensive molecular imaging endpoints.


Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Anja Svetina Nabergoj, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the University of Ljubljana and Lecturer at Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. For the last 10 years she has been developing pedagogy for teaching innovation process and nurturing creative mindsets to management in leading global companies as well as scientists in labs across Stanford campus. With her team she developed the curriculum for applying design thinking to scientific and scholarly research and has been teaching programs for graduate students and faculty members. With her research team at Stanford, she has conducted a study that uncovers and analyzes the creative process behind innovative scientific research. Results suggest that innovative faculty see creativity as central to their research and actively seek to balance the creative and analytical aspects of their work. Inspired by the findings, her team developed a pedagogy to nurture creative potential in young scholars and empower them to combine scientific process with design principles and creative practice to produce original research in their field. They have published a book Creativity in Research: Cultivate Clarity, Be Innovative, and Make Progress in your Research Journey (Cambridge University Press, 2019) Anja is on the Advisory Board of The Stanford Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions, which is a new initiative with a bold mission to create an open space to explore uncommon interdisciplinary solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Stanford University aims to build an internationally recognized model of purposeful, high-impact and interdisciplinary research ecosystem.


We welcome all participants interested in enhancing formal, informal, research, or exchange-focused academic relationships between Slovenia and the U.S. across all levels and substantive areas.

Though the symposium is free and open to the academic public, we request that you register in advance until Friday, November 13, 2020.

Register Now


Andrej Košmrlj, Ph.D., Program Committee Chair, Member of ASEF Board of Directors, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, U.S. (

Marina Klemenčič, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (

Tamara Pavasović Trošt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of International Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (

Teja Pristavec, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Statistical Sciences in the Social and Decision Analytics Division, Biocomplexity Institute, University of Virginia, U.S. (


Andrej Košmrlj, Program Committee Chair, Member of ASEF Board of Directors, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, U.S. (

Brian J. Street, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Slovenia (

Barbara Zagorc, ASEF, Slovenia (

Ms. Ivanka Ponikvar, Exchanges Specialist, U.S. Embassy, Slovenia (