The FRISSBE project and the newly ZAG established department with the same name strive to create and support a strong R&D centre focused on fire research in Southern and Central Europe. In FRISSBE, the key to success in terms of performance and impact lies in an integrated approach, covering R&D on methods, materials and structures, graduate and postgraduate training, complementary research on, e.g., bio-based materials and recycled materials as well as solid industrial research.
This is achieved through a broader interactive ecosystem, consisting of the FRISSBE ERA Chair as well as other units of the host institution and two strongly affiliated institutions: the InnoRenew CoE, established under the H2020 WIDESPREAD-2-Teaming: GA No. 739574, providing excellence in complementary bio-based materials research, and the University of Primorska (UP), complementing the ecosystem with wider multidisciplinary research, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree-granting function, and stronger interaction with peers. Both institutions firmly expressed their willingness to cooperate with the FRISSBE ERA Chair in the project proposal phase, and at the moment the cooperation is successfully ongoing and is presented by mutual applications for competitive funds, research visits and other joint activities.
ZAG was established in 1949 when the People's Republic of Slovenia founded the Building and Civil Engineering Institute. In 1952, it was renamed to Institute for Testing and Research in Materials and Structures (ZRMK). After Slovenia became independent, new conditions in 1994 led to the division of ZRMK into public and private parts. The laboratories and most of the research activities were transferred to the public research institute, ZAG. One of the fundamental objectives of ZAG was to continue the tradition of the research and professional work of the ZRMK, which served since its very establishment as one of the leading civil and building engineering institutes in then Yugoslavia. After more than a quarter-century of independent operation, ZAG is successfully navigating the outlined path. We have gained recognition both at home and even more so abroad. We are an equal and active member of numerous important international associations dealing with the broader area of construction. According to the relevant indicators, we are entirely comparable to the best similar European institutes.
The InnoRenew CoE has been successful in hiring researchers and support staff from abroad (57 employees in 2019, nearly 50% from abroad, including from outside of Europe). It is supporting the beneficiary and the ERA Chair holder by transferring its practices to establish strong recruitment and retention policy that will make ZAG and FRISSBE an attractive workplace, with a culture of engagement and employee participation in the sustainability of the Institute.
Universitiy of Primorska has made the ERA Chair holder a full professor and he will contribute to the university through a part-time research and teaching position at the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Information Technologies (FAMNIT), where he will organise and deliver courses in the Sustainable Built Environments MSc program and supervise students in the Renewable Materials and Healthy Built Environments PhD study programme. The beneficiary (ZAG), in turn, provides internships and research infrastructure for students from these programs to gain practical research experience and conduct their studies.