Lying on the Slovenian side of the border with Italy, the town of Nova Gorica boasts an independent, research oriented university that has great ambitions. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded SUNGREEN (Strengthening University of Nova Gorica research potential in environmental sciences and novel nanomaterials) project worked on upgrading the research potential of the university, particularly in nanotechnology and environmental sciences. It also sought to strengthen its knowledge base and upgrade research equipment. To achieve its aims, the project initiated numerous relevant research connections, leading to valuable exchange of knowledge on these two important topics. Researchers visited major European research institutions in environmental sciences and nanomaterials and vice versa to share know-how and plan common research efforts. Knowledge and expertise were shared in domains such as microscopy infrastructure, thin films, photo-electrochemistry and oxide film deposition. Moreover, the team recruited 10 experts from neighbouring regions in various research fields, including synthesis of nanomaterials, structural characterisation, and spectroscopy applied to nanomaterials for environment and energy. Creation of the Industrial Liaison Office, including an intellectual property management strategy, led to many effective networking partnerships with local and European industries, businesses, governments and agencies, as well as European and Slovenian Technology Platforms. The consortium purchased and installed two kinds of electron microscopes, both of which are fully functional. In addition, SUNGREEN organised two international conferences and two thematic workshops on environmental sciences and nanomaterials. By establishing strategic partnerships with European research centres, recruiting experienced researchers, procuring state-of-the-art research infrastructure and enhancing the university’s visibility, SUNGREEN facilitated the institution’s integration into the European Research Area. Through the project’s support, the University of Nova Gorica has become one of the leading European research centres in environmental sciences and nanomaterials.
Nova Gorica, SUNGREEN, environmental sciences, nanomaterials, nanotechnology