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There is always a new challenge that needs to be researched and solved

Marica Mikuljan, assistant researcher at InnoRenew CoE; main area of research: biocomposites


  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I spent my childhood in the surroundings of Ljubljana, now I live in Slovenian Tibet – Bloke.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I hold a bachelor diploma from wood engineering and a master of science in the field of environment protection. I chose to enroll in the study program when I was 39 years old, and I was encouraged by my work in the wood processing department. I became the leader of this department, and I noticed that I needed more professional knowledge. After finishing my studies, I was employed as a development technologist. I was introducing new technologies into production processes, and I found out that for fully understanding this field, I needed new interdisciplinary knowledge, which I received in the environment protection master’s program.

The university studies of wood engineering and master’s studies of environment protection gave me interdisciplinary knowledge that still I use today, both in my work and in my everyday life.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I work in the field of research and development of new wooden materials, mostly biocomposites. This is project work, which means it is time limited and results need to be delivered. I am changing mechanical and physical properties of the basic material, wood, with different treatments and/or adding new materials.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

I don’t have a typical day. I enjoy this as this enables more creativity.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

That there is always a new challenge that needs to be researched and solved. Every day is different, and I like this very much.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge is to successfully conclude a project.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

Nikola Tesla. He was a scientist who drew his research from nature (observing lightening). He was a futurist and a visionary. Tesla registered approximately 300 patents in his name, and traces of his inventions are found in many modern devices.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

I can’t point out one particular work of art. I like watching good movies or reading books; from time to time, I attend concerts or exhibitions.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

In the last period, I have been reading professional literature and fairytales to my grandson, which I really enjoy.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

I can’t decide; each place has its own charm.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Observing nature. I am impressed each time.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

A day is not perfect if you don’t learn something new.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

When I think about wood, I think about a warm home. About the table where my loved ones are gathered. About a pleasant sleep in a comfortable bed. About the bench in the park. About the bird house … about the shelter.