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Diverse research topics and personalities: Doctoral candidates at the InnoRenew CoE

The InnoRenew CoE is a research institute with great ambitions. Not only is the institute engaged in researching sustainable construction through the lens of many scientific fields, it also develops well-trained future experts – doctoral students at the beginning of their academic careers. Although often in the shadow of experienced colleagues, their research has already resulted in many thought-provoking insights. Let’s meet the future Doctors of Philosophy at the InnoRenew CoE.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, until recently, Jaka Pečnik was the only doctoral student from the field of wood science. For this reason, paying him a visit is certainly recommended, as it is likely that his laboratory will be soaked in the pleasant aroma of freshly cut timber.

Jaka Pečnik. Image: InnoRenew CoE

A short time ago, the wood science field at the InnoRenew CoE welcomed Faksawat Poohphajai. She investigates how environmental factors (e.g., temperature) affect the microorganisms (biofilm) on the wood surface. Faksawat says she is proud to be a part of the InnoRenew team and praises her colleagues for their unwavering support. Due to her curiosity of wood as a sustainable, pleasant and environmentally friendly material, and her knowledge of wood technology, it did not take long before she started to feel that the InnoRenew CoE is her home.


Faksawat Poohphajai. Image: InnoRenew CoE

Barbara Rovere studies factors that are crucial for innovation in companies. Through her work, she aims to promote innovative products and services to efficiently address the challenges of sustainable construction. With professional experience in project financing, marketing and management of start-up companies, she knows how to bring research closer to everyday practice and is, at the same time, aware of the importance of transferring knowledge to the economy.

Barbara Rovere. Image: InnoRenew CoE

Nastja Podrekar focuses on human health in the built environment. She wishes to introduce ergonomically designed furniture to buildings and make sure that building users are physically active. She is also the person who will tell you, with her characteristic smile, which chairs are most suitable for sitting.

Nastja Podrekar. Image: InnoRenew CoE

Dean Lipovac promotes mental health in the built environment. He ponders how to create buildings that will promote psychological well-being. Is it vital to include elements of nature, such as wood, plants or water in indoor rooms? Are the most important aspects fresh air and natural light? Are spaces that increase social interactions crucial? He does not have answers to these questions yet, but he is certain that in time his research will impove the well-being of building occupants.

Dean Lipovac. Image: InnoRenew CoE

László Hajdu and Aleksandar Tošić work in computer science. László deals primarily with network science, including optimization methods and infections in networks. He contributes to the improvement of the built environment with insightful analyses of data collected by sensors that measure various parameters of indoor spaces, such as humidity and air quality. László loves to work with data and is happy to undertake any task in which he can use data to gain new knowledge.

László Hajdu. Image: InnoRenew CoE

Aleksandar researches blockchain technology and distributed systems and their role in the internet of things, where devices and objects communicate and exchange data. Internet of things is a core element in so-called “smart buildings”, where skilful integration of technology in the indoor environment can significantly improve quality of life. Aleksandar summarizes his attitude to work in a short and concise manner: “Vires in numeris (strength in numbers)”.

Aleksandar Tošić. Image: InnoRenew CoE

Nežka Sajinčič, our newest colleague, is a researcher in the field of education. In her work, she determines how to best transfer knowledge from the field of sustainable construction to students and professionals. Because information loses value if it does not reach the right people, Nežka studies innovative educational approaches, such as gamification of learning content, which can help bring knowledge closer to people.

Nežka Sajinčič. Image: InnoRenew CoE

These are the doctoral students of the InnoRenew CoE. With a variety of research topics and an even broader range of personalities, together they strive for innovation and scientific excellence. This group is linked by their love for gaining and discovering new knowledge as well as spending time in pleasant company, where the debate takes unexpected, but never uninteresting, turns.

Author: Dean Lipovac