STA, 9 January 2020 - Jadran Lenarčič, the director of the Jožef Stefan Institute, the country's top research institution, was declared the Person of the Year 2019 by the newspaper publisher Delo as the award ceremony was held in Cankarjev Dom on Thursday evening.
Lenarčič is the long-serving head of Slovenia's largest and most important scientific institution, who has been successfully managing 500 doctors of science "who create the future of our country", the award jury said.
As a scientist, he is one of the pioneers in robot kinematics, biorobotics and humanoid robots, and today is among the most appreciated authors and lecturers in this scientific field, it added.
In the past year, Lenarčič held lectures at the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna and, as a member of a task force of the European Commission, participated in the drafting of a document on promising technologies.
Lenarčič, who was picked among ten nominees by Delo readers and editors, was also decorated with the insignia of chevalier in the French National Order of Merit in 2019.
He knows "how to listen to inspiration, which is the most important guide for him, because he says that ratio keeps a person in the same place, while it is only possible to take a step into the unknown with imagination."
Addressing the ceremony, which was attended by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, the award winner said he was glad that the title had been given to a scientist, and that he was a scientist at heart.
Lenarčič said that the Jožef Stefan Institute was a symbol of Slovenian science, research, technological progress, innovation and creativity and bore the name of "one of the greatest physicists of in history of mankind".
"Slovenia is small ... and we will be successful only if we are open, if we exchange and compete with people outside our borders," he said, adding that "science is like a parachute - it works if it is open."
He concluded by saying what he had told the prime minister as he visited the institute two months ago - "investing in science is not cheap, but it is not the most expensive thing in the world, not investing is science is."
Šarec said prior to the announcement that being the person of the year was an honour and responsibility. "This person must be aware that people follow them and admire them," he added.
Lenarčič succeeds Uroš Ahčan and Vojko Didanovič, the first surgeons to complete a full nose reconstruction from own tissue, who were declared the Person of the Year by Delo last year.
You can learn more about the Jožef Stefan Institute here.