New director appointed at Jožef Stefan Institute

Ljubljana, 13 November - The government has endorsed the appointment of Boštjan Zalar as the new head of the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia's leading science and research institute. Zalar will start his five-year term on 1 December to succeed Jadran Lenarčič, who has been at the helm of the IJS since 2005.

Lenarčič's term expired on 2 July, but he has stayed on as acting head until the appointment of his successor. He did not run for another term.

Zalar has a PhD from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. He works at the IJS's department for solid-state physics and is a full professor for solid-state physics at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.

His rival for the post was Leon Cizelj, who also works at the institute and is a professor of nuclear technology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

Both candidates presented their visions of the institute's development to the scientific council and management board.

The IJS head is appointed and dismissed by the managing board, which however needs the government's consent.

The cabinet endorsed Zalar's appointment on Thursday.

The IJS conducts research in technologies such as nanotechnology, new materials, biotechnology, technology of management and production, communication and computer technologies, science and environment, and reactor technology.

It emerged from the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts' institute for physics, but then refocussed on nuclear energy research.

It is named after physicist, mathematician and poet Jožef Stefan (1835-1893), the only Slovenian scientist who has discovered one of the basic natural laws.

The IJS became an independent public research institution in 1992.