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Why did three researchers move from the USA to Koper?

The United States of America, the promised land where everything is possible. We are not surprised when we hear that our relatives, friends, or neighbours are moving to the USA. However, when we see and hear a group of people chatting in an American accent in a small cafe in Koper, it immediately attracts our attention – we become curious, we are astonished, and then we conclude by saying “oh, tourists”. But if we listen closely to their conversation, we find out that these Americans are experts and researchers who moved to Slovenia, to Koper, for work. This is when our astonishment rises even more, and now we really want to listen to their story.

Internationalization is one of the key guiding principals at the InnoRenew CoE. Our team is composed of researchers and experts from different parts of the word. Currently, the InnoRenew CoE has 47 employees, half of which come from abroad – from Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Indian, Hungary, Norway, Poland, and the USA. The majority of currently employed foreigner workers (five) come from the USA. Among them is our deputy director and research group leader for Human Health in the Built Environment, Dr Michael Burnard, who moved to Slovenia six years ago with the aim to finish his PhD studies at the University of Primorska.

Two years later, in 2015, Dr Matthew Schwarzkopf moved to Slovenia to work as a researcher and docent at the University of Primorska in the field of wood science. Today, he is also employed at the InnoRenew CoE, where he performs research work in the Renewable Materials Composites research group.

“InnoRenew CoE provides support and guidance to its foreign employees, helping them feel comfortable in their new home,” says Dr Schwarzkopf.

In the same year, Amy Simmons moved to Koper from Oregon, where she was working as a hydrologist. Currently at the InnoRenew CoE, she is working on many things, including taking care of social media and helping to promote the InnoRenew CoE’s research work.

You can learn more about why three Americans moved to Koper, as well as how the idea of the InnoRenew CoE was born in the Czech Republic in a conversation between a Slovene and an American and the role the University of Primorska plays in the article and video IZ AMERIKE V KOPER: Kako obalno mesto vidijo trije mladi Američani, zaposleni na UP? (VIDEO), published at the portal Regional Obala.