10 Feb
The National Institute of Biology (NIB) celebrates the 60th anniversary of the existence in 2020

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The National Institute of Biology (NIB) celebrates the 60th anniversary of the existence in 2020

Od leta 1960, ko je bil ustanovljen Inštitut za biologijo Univerze v Ljubljani, do danes, je Nacionalni inštitut za biologijo (NIB) prehodil dolgo, a zanimivo pot. Danes združujemo štiri raziskovalne enote s skupno 157 zaposlenimi v Ljubljani in Piranu. Sledimo cilju postati vodilni center za temeljne in aplikativne raziskave bioloških in sorodnih naravoslovnih znanosti ne samo v Sloveniji, temveč v širši regiji. Za obeležitev 60 letnice našega obstoja pripravljamo vrsto zanimivih dogodkov skozi leto 2020.

Engagement and activity

Our mission is to become engaged, active, and to create knowledge in the field of science in order to understand living processes, sustainable development, preserving biodiversity, a healthy environment, and the health of the people and the environment. The researchers of the NIB feel the duty to use our knowledge and new technologies in pursuing the answers to the basic questions of cohabitation of nature and modern society which seeks solutions for global problems. This is our mission. When viewing our 60 years of work, we are honestly proud of our achievements, scientific excellence, and creativity of our co-workers who developed modern research of biological sciences with us.

Commitments and dedication of the employees

157 co-workers are active at the National Institute of Biology today. They are researchers of different scientific branches in the field of life and co-workers who enable and support the functioning of the institute. We all represent a valuable human value and a contribution to the development and welfare of Slovenia and Europe.

Co-speaker in preparation of the systemic solutions

An important aspect of the NIB is professional support to the ministers in the preparation of the environmental and agricultural legislation and also in the implementation of the EU directives and international conventions. By this activity, the institute enables universal availability and the use of knowledge in the society and in the economy, the transfer of different research achievements in the practice, popularization of science, spreading scientific culture, and informing the public.

The current and social context of the research

Globally and also in Slovenia, our society faces enormous problems among which there are climate changes, a drastic decline of biodiversity, pollution of the environment with toxic substances and plastics, overpopulation, insufficient supply with drinkable water, exaggerated fishing of marine and other organisms, new diseases and pandemics, and bioterrorism. Biological and other sciences that we perform at the NIB offer concrete, innovative solutions for the listed problems. The NIB, therefore, develops knowledge of biological systems – from viruses and bacteria, marine organisms, plants, and insects to the human. We wish to learn and predict laws of intertwining and functioning of all types of organisms in degraded and natural ecosystems. We also offer biotechnological solutions supported by bio-information tools for studying the biological phenomena on the molecular level. This offers us a different picture of changing nature and, thus, new technological solutions in preserving the environment which enables life on this planet. Scientists feel obliged to use our knowledge and biotechnologies to follow the answers on the basic questions and in seeking solutions for our local and global problems.

Proud of 60 years

Foundation of the NIB, which is among the four biggest public institutes in the country today, reaches back in 1960 when the University of Ljubljana founded the Institute for Biology of the University of Ljubljana within the Department of the biology of the Biotechnical Faculty. In 1975, the institute decided on an independent path and soon after that, merged with the Marine Biological Station (MBP) from Piran established in 1969. The Institute was reformed in the common organization who gained the status of a public research institute in 1990. Because the institute was emerging in the shadow of the research politics of the government of the Republic of Slovenia which established institutes, among them today’s biggest The Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) and Boris Kidrič (National Institute of Chemistry), mostly in the support and for the needs of the growing economy in the 1950s to the 1960s, our path was thornier. Biology created equal status and the goals, including the integration in modern biotechnologies, with only modest support of the government with limitless energy of scientific potential of the generations of that time and the present. After 1994, the institute changed its name to the National Biology Institute. Its foundation was entirely taken over by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. In this period, there were nine directors of the Institute. The second to last, Prof. Tamara Lah Turnšek, Ph.D., was in the office for 23 years. Then, the director became Assoc. Prof. Matjaž Kuntner, Ph.D., who has been in the office since 2018.

60 years of engagement in the development of the profession and education

Dedicated research work is the reason why our researchers are awarded domestically and in the world on several occasions. Our trademark is the annual day of NIB in November when we grant the awards for the most visible achievements of the year from the field of our operations. They are named after Prof. Miroslav Zei, Ph.D., a globally renowned biologist who was among the founders of the Marine Biology Station Piran and supported the merger in the national institute. Thus, this year’s celebration will be especially festive because, in addition to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the NIB, several events will take place. The latter will mark the past and the future, each in its own way. We cannot announce two of the planned events at the moment yet. However, each of them will delineate further development of the institute in its own way very concretely.





January 2020

Research Expedition of NIB to Costa Rica.  

In cooperation with the team of the Documentary program of the RTV SLO.

Costa Rica, Ljubljana  

18th February 2020

Marking of the International year of plant health and operations of the first EU referential laboratories at the NIB

National Assembly

19th March 2020

“60 faces of biodiversity” -  book presentation




22nd April  2020

FOR the planet EARTH – thematic roundtable


22nd May 2020


The day of charming plants

The Biological Center

5th June 2020

 Oceans’ day – Open day of the Marine Biology Station Piran

The Marine Biology Station Piran

10th July 2020

Nobel Prize winner visiting – in the reflection of the European Congress of biochemists, FEBS 2020


7th – 10th September 2020

“Between the sediment and the water” –

IASWS international meeting

Bernardin Portorož

September 2020

NIB - Scientific slam


14th -18th September 2020

Biotremology Conference

The Marine Biology Station Piran


30th September 2020

Dialogue between science and economy

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

7th October

NIB open day


November  2020

“Global Genome Initiative”, scientific lecture of Jonathan Coddington, Ph. D., Smithsonian Institution


November 2020 

Water and Us – an event


18th November 2020


The Union Hotel

18th November 2020

“A Look Back” – the release of the publication at the 60th anniversary of NIB