Debate calls for better research environment

Ljubljana, 6 November - Slovenia is still failing to provide a research environment that could hold its own against other countries and is unable to prevent brain drain, a round table debate dedicated to research in medicine heard on Wednesday.

Not only is Slovenia unable to attract foreign researchers, it is also failing to prevent brain drain. What is more, the situation deters the young from considering research as a career.

Chancellor of the University of Ljubljana Igor Papič said he was a great advocate of brain circulation in research. However, he is increasingly worried about brain drain because Slovenia does not provide an attractive research environment.

He is also worried about the society's attitude toward research, which is displayed in the unnecessary red tape that hinders recognition of good research ideas.

Igor Švab, the dean of the Ljubljana Medical Faculty, said that the country had so far failed to find the right classification for top researchers within the public pay system, which in effect encourages brain drain.

National Chemistry Institute director Gregor Anderluh expressed belief that the state should provide funds for the acquisition of expensive research equipment, with many pieces being too expensive for individual institutions to afford.

Moreover, Tamara Lah Turnšek of the Biology Institute said that it would not be enough to simply increase the funds for research in medicine. It is also necessary to change the structure of funding so as to mitigate the neglect faced by some of the fields.

The debate also heard that Slovenia spent EUR 191.7 million in budget funds on research last year, which was 12.4% more than in 2017.