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The biggest challenge for me is the transfer of knowledge to the students in an interesting way

Darjan Smajla, researcher at InnoRenew CoE; main area of research: kinesiology


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

In childhood, I lived in Croatia, in a small village called Rupa (near Rijeka), which is also the crossing border with Slovenia. After that, I lived 10 years in Ljubljana, and for the last 2 years, I live in Postojna.

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

I studied kinesiology at the University of Ljubljana (Faculty of Sport) because I always loved sport, and I was always interested in human movement. The greatest motivation for choosing kinesiology was the fact that, with this knowledge, I can help people to live better and healthier.

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

Part of my work is related to lessons with students in the field of biomechanics, movement therapy and sports training. In biomechanics, we use different methods for movement analysis, either to assess sports performance or some consequences of injuries or aging. In movement therapy and sports training, I teach students to use different training methods for different purposes such as rehabilitation and recovery, training for the result or training for the elderly population. My research work is also related to the mentioned topics.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

My typical working day starts early in the morning, usually before 7 am. Early morning is my most productive part of the day, so I use it for writing articles and brainstorming if there are no lessons or meetings. Most days, I have short meetings with my close colleagues to talk about current work regarding teaching lessons or research topics. Some of the research work I often perform on the field or in our laboratory. This suits me as I don’t like to be in the office all the time.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

The best part of my work is that I work on different projects and topics, so the work is interesting and diverse. I also like to work with other people with knowledge from different areas of expertise, so there is always an opportunity to learn something new.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge for me is the transfer of knowledge to the students in an interesting way. Moreover, I am trying to be up-to-date with new research knowledge on different areas of expertise, which is important for my teaching and research part of the job.

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

As a younger researcher, I was always fascinated with some older researchers who set the foundations of research in kinesiology some years ago. One example is Roger Enoka who wrote the book “Neuromechanics of human movement”, which is a very important book in the field of kinesiology.

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

Lately, I don’t have much time to read books; usually, I like to read something in the summer. I like different genres of music, but Croatian music is my favorite. I like to watch some movies from time to time, my favorite is “The Shawshank Redemption”. Lately, I have watched a few theatre shows online, I always pick the humoristic ones.

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

The latest thing that I read was one old National Geographic magazine, which I found a few days ago. Two days ago, I watched one comedy show. Lately, I haven’t listened to anything specific, mostly different radio stations.

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

My favorite place on the Slovene coast is Piran because it has interesting architecture and it Is a very lovely town.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

I am the most enthusiastic about everything concerning sport. I like to play different sports and also compete in them, and I also like to watch sport and cheer for my team and clubs.

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

During this period of life, I realized that helping others makes me the most happy. It is important to be good and honest with other people and spread positive energy. That always pays back.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

My work at InnoRenew CoE is less associated with wood compared to other employees. Generally, I like wooden furniture very much; it makes me feel pleasant and calm. Moreover, I like to restore and paint different wooden objects in my free time. Wood makes me more related to nature and provides me a warmer atmosphere in my living environment.