The purchase of new state of the art scientific research equipment will lead to enhanced excellence in research and the achievement of wider social development.
The University of Maribor and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport have signed a co-financing agreement for the operation “Upgrading National Research Infrastructures - RIUM", worth 29 million Euros.
It is an infrastructural project, the goal of which is to complete the existing research infrastructure of the University of Maribor through the purchase of new first-rate scientific equipment and to create new sets of research infrastructure for the University's priority research directions:
(1) advanced materials and technology,
(2) health and food safety,
(3) smart energy systems and smart circular systems.
The University of Maribor obtained the project “Upgrading National Research Infrastructures - RIUM" under a call for application submissions by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The project duration is until 30 June 2022. The value of co-financing amounts to EUR 28,982,964.08. The share of the contribution from the European Union, namely the European Regional Development Fund, is 80%, while the share of the contribution from the Republic of Slovenia, namely the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, is 20%. The equipment will be located on the existing premises of the Members of the University of Maribor.
The investment will provide the researchers at the UM and other Slovenian researchers with access to the latest scientific research equipment, following the principle of open access. Scientific research capacities that the researchers' work is based on will thus be substantially increased. The project has 26 FTE at its disposal for the employment of researchers and technicians for the needs of the work on the upgraded equipment and the implementation of research activities.
The RIUM equipment will also contribute to increasing the scale and quality of R&D projects and significantly add to a wider development of specific human resources, since it will be widely accessible for education and training purposes. Thus, the project follows a comprehensive vision pursuing the horizontally oriented objective of the international competitiveness of research, innovation and technological development in accordance with the areas of Slovenia's Smart Specialisation Strategy (S4). In conjunction with the existing scientific research infrastructure capacities in Slovenia, RIUM will enable an increased global competitiveness of the research fields and the economy.
RIUM project is the first investment project of a broader programme, namely the Innovative Open Technology - IOT. Since researchers' needs for scientific research equipment significantly exceed the capacities of RIUM project, the University plans an upgrade through investments projects RIUM 2 and INNOVUM.
Prof dr. Zdravko Kačič, Rector of the University of Maribor, stated: “The launch of the RIUM project represents a unique development milestone for the University of Maribor, since the incorporation of the large-value state of the art research equipment will have many multiplier effects on the rise of scientific research excellence, on the synergy between the faculties of the University as well as on the increase of the quality of cooperation with the industry and will thus contribute significantly to accelerated development of the Cohesion region East Slovenia and the wider Slovenian area. The implementation of the RIUM project is the important first step on the path toward the realization of the RIUM 2 and INNOVUM investment projects."
Prof dr. Zoran Ren, Vice Rector for Scientific Research Activity at the University of Maribor, stated: “Within the framework of the RIUM investment project, research teams of the University of Maribor will gain new state of the art research equipment which will enable them to perform advanced research at an internationally comparable level. Therefore, we can fairly soon expect substantial scientific advances in their fields of activity, which will have many positive effects on society at large."