Biotechnological Hub of the NIB (BTH-NIB)

The purpose of the investment project BTH-NIB is the assurance of the appropriate infrastructural conditions for the use of research and developmental opportunities in the fields of operation of the NIB.

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15 Feb
Official opening of the Biotechnological Hub of the National Institute of Biology and the Zei Awards

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Official opening of the Biotechnological Hub of the National Institute of Biology and the Zei Awards - offering a glimpse into the future of Slovenian science, promising an international breakthrough in achieving research excellence through new facilities and equipment

Ljubljana, 13 February 2024 - Yesterday, the National Institute of Biology officially opened the new Biotechnological Hub (BTS-NIB) with a keynote address by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Igor Papič. The BTS-NIB represents a milestone in the development of Slovenian science and is the culmination of 15 years of efforts towards developing high quality research infrastructure.

Upon the official opening of the state of the art technological facility, financed through EU cohesion fund schemes (80%) and the national budget (20%) for a total of approximately EUR 36 million, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Igor Papič, emphasised: “The new building represents an extremely important advance in material conditions. The presence of adequate research facilities and, more importantly, adequate research equipment, makes the work of researchers much easier and more efficient.” In 2023 the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development (MKRR) officially recognised the BTS-NIB as an outstanding project within the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.  At the opening ceremony the host, NIB Director Prof. Dr. Maja Ravnikar, highlighted that the new premises and modern equipment of the BTS-NIB pave the way to progress and innovation while also strengthening international cooperation and attracting young researchers, including those from abroad. For researchers, the modern research infrastructure symbolises a new era in research on the environment, biotechnology, plant, animal and human health, and many other key areas. The opening also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Marine Biology Station Piran, a unit of the NIB located in Piran, as the new premises enable access to advanced research equipment and laboratories. By establishing a centre of advanced research infrastructure, the BTS-NIB provides a platform for collaboration with the industry, start-ups and research institutions, which contributes to faster transfer of knowledge and technologies from laboratories to market. With the new facility, the NIB therefore has high ambitions of seeing the two successful spin-offs, Biosistemika and Niba Labs, soon being joined by new business ideas and ventures.  

The opening ceremony, which was also graced by the presence of the President of the National Council, Mr. Marko Lotrič, was accompanied by the presentation of the Zei Awards, named after marine biologist and oceanographer Prof. Dr. Miroslav Zei (1914-2006). The awards are presented annually by the NIB for outstanding research achievements in various fields of its activities.

In 2023 doctoral training at NIB was successfully completed by PhD students Ana Fortič, Bernarda Majc, Olivera Maksimovič, Anja Pecman and Špela Tomaž.

The Miroslav Zei Award for an Exceptional Doctoral Dissertation was received by Dr. Ana Fortič, Dr. Bernarda Majc and Dr. Anja Pecman.

The Miroslav Zei Award for an Exceptional Contribution in the Field of Activities of the National Institute of Biology was received by Dr. Magda Tušek Žnidarič. With her outstanding contribution in the field of transmission electron microscopy, Dr. Magda Tušek Žnidarič has made a significant contribution to the excellence and success of both the Department of Biotechnology and Systems Biology (FITO) and other departments of the NIB. Her development of numerous TEM protocols has enabled the efficient use of NIB's cutting-edge suite of research equipment in numerous ARIS projects, in public administration and in applied projects for biotechnology companies worldwide, thus contributing to the esteem of the NIB at home and worldwide.  Many collaborations within the NIB and with external partners are shown in an extensive and high quality bibliography which markedly contributes to the scientific excellence of the NIB. Dr. Magda Tušek Žnidarič is an outstanding expert whose work contributes important results to the research of the NIB and much more widely both in academia and the industry.

The NIB Miroslav Zei Award for Exceptional Achievements in Science or Research and Development the Field of Activities of the National Institute of Biology in the Last Five Years was awarded to Prof. Dr. Maja Čemažar. Dr. Maja Čemažar is a full professor of molecular biology at the Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Ljubljana. She is employed at Ljubljana’s Institute of Oncology as the  Head of the Research and Education Division and the Department of Experimental Oncology. She is also partially employed at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Primorska.  Prof. Maja Čemažar's main area of research is translational oncology, focusing on the development of different gene therapy approaches using electroporation as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with standard treatments. Her scientific research work contributes significantly to the development of translational oncology, both in terms of obtaining new scientific knowledge and its implementation in the applied fields of tumour treatment, first in animals and in transfer of knowledge to human oncology. We can also highlight her successful international collaboration that contributes to the esteem and visibility and high quality of the scientific work of the research group she heads, as well as to the broad advancement of science in Slovenia.  

The Grand Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of Activities of the National Institute of Biology was awarded to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Meta Virant-Doberlet. Associate Professor Dr. Meta Virant-Doberlet has been working at the National Institute of Biology since 1984 and is now a world-renowned scientist who has made significant contributions to the establishment of biotremology as a new field of research, thus helping to place the NIB on the world map of outstanding research institutions. Biotremology is based on the synthesis of knowledge and new insights into the various phenomena of animal communication through vibrational signals that are translated through a medium. The scientific findings of this discipline have an outstanding potential for the development of applications in various sectors ranging from agriculture to forestry.  With her visionary approach and awareness of the development of science, understanding of the importance of transferring knowledge to younger generations and her encouragement of the integration and translation of scientific knowledge into applications, Associate Prof. Dr. Meta Virant-Doberlet has made a significant contribution to the esteem of the NIB at the national and international level, both in the field of science and in the areas of application, dissemination and promotion, for which she has received the NIB’s Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of Activities of the National Institute of Biology.


About BTH-NIB: 
The Biotechnological Hub of the National Institute of Biology (BTS-NIB) is an extremely important research infrastructure hub that represents a major milestone in the development of the NIB and life sciences in Slovenia. The total investment of over EUR 36 million is financed by the European Cohesion Fund (80%) and the Slovenian national budget (20%). The construction of this exceptionally technologically advanced facility was very intensive, starting in July 2021 and finishing at the end of November 2023. The contractor selected for the construction, finishing and installation works was Kolektor Koling, d.o.o., the construction was supervised by Elea iC, d.d., and the conceptual design of the facility was developed by the architectural studio Styria Arhitektura, d.o.o. 

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More information:
  • Website of the National Institute of Biology:
  • Ana Šušteršič, E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; T: 041 493 222