University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies

Monday, 26 September 2022 6 new ARRS projects awarded to UP

Researchers at the University of Primorska have been successful in obtaining 5 new research projects (four basic projects and one postdoctoral project) within the Public Call for (Co)Financing of Research Projects for 2022 of the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS). Researchers from UP Famnit and UP IAM will carry out research work in the fields of Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Sciences and Psychology.

The leaders of the newly acquired basic projects at UP Famnit are Prof. Dr. Dušanka Janežič, Prof. Dr. Martin Milanič, Prof. Dr. Enes Pasalic, Prof. Dr. Vladimir Batagelj and Dr. Tina Podlogar with her newly acquired postdoctoral project. Assoc. Prof. Sabina Ličen from the Faculty of Health Sciences (UP FVZ) also obtained a new ARRS project. 

Basic research projects involve experimental or theoretical work, aimed primarily at gaining new knowledge about the fundamentals of phenomena and perceptual facts. Given that the criteria for evaluating these types of projects include the scientific merit of the researchers and the scientific, technological and innovative excellence of the project itself, this latest success is yet another confirmation of the outstanding researchers working here, at the University of Primorska.

The results of the public call are available here.

We sincerely congratulate all the researchers and wish them a successful work!

The following projects, led by researchers at UP Famnit and UP IAM, will be implemented by the end of the year 2025:

  • Title: ProBiS-Fold approach for binding site detection for whole structural human proteome in drug discovery
  • Research field: Computer-intensive methods and applications
  • Project type: basic – small
  • Leading institution: UP Famnit
  • Leader: Prof. Dr. Dušanka Janežič
  • Partners: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maribor, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Chemistry

The ProBiS-Fold approach, on which the ProBiS-Fold web server is based, will enable for the first-time interactions between most human protein structures not limited to the Protein Data Base structures only, prediction of selectivity and ligand binding, and observation of conserved water effects and ligand binding sequence variants. This work will provide the scientific community with a freely available, versatile server that researchers and clinicians can easily use from the web to detect molecules that bind to the proteins under their study. Our ProBiS tools will allow to combine several otherwise unrelated research areas, such as graph theoretical approaches, genetic variation studies,protein structure studies and molecular dynamics simulations.

  • Title: Tree-Independence Number of Graphs
  • Research field: Mathematics
  • Project type: basic – small
  • Leading institution: UP Famnit
  • Leader: Prof. Dr. Martin Milanič
  • Partners: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Maribor, Faculty of Natural sciences and Mathematics, Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto

The initial results indicate that the tree-independence number is a worthy addition to the toolbox of structural and algorithmic graph theory. It not only forms a common generalization of treewidth and chordality, but is also related to the famous Erdős-Hajnal conjecture and to the flourishing theory of chi-boundedness. All these motivations lead to the main objective of the project: a thorough and continued study of the tree independence number with the ultimate goal of developing a theory of this novel graph invariant. We plan to investigate a number of relevant independence number, with the ultimate goal of developing a theory of this novel graph invariant. We plan to investigate a number of relevant questions split into two interrelated research themes (Theme 1: foundations of the tree-independence number, Theme 2: refinements of the tree independence number), each with a number of subtasks. We expect the proposed research to further demonstrate the usefulness of the tree independence number and related graph width parameters, resulting thus in increased understanding of structural properties of (treewidth, omega)-bounded graph classes and the computational complexity of various graph optimization problems on such classes.

  • Title: Discrete combinatorial objects in the spectral domain - intersection analysis
  • Research field: Mathematics
  • Project type: basic – small
  • Leading institution: UP Famnit
  • Leader: Prof. Dr. Enes Pasalic
  • Partners: University of Primorska, Andrej Marušič Institute

The main goal of this project is to provide further analysis regarding certain combinatorial objects that are of crucial importance in cryptography stemming from certain hard problems in discrete mathematics that involve discrete exponential sums. More precisely, there exist special class polynomials over finite fields that possess exceptional (optimal) properties with respect to two well established cryptanalytic methods difference and linear cryptanalysis. Our ultimate goal is to inve the behaviour of the component functions in the spectral domain and to develop theoretical results related to the design of both AB and APN functions.

  • Title: Higher-level bibliographic services
  • Research field: Information science and librarianship
  • Project type: basic – small
  • Leading institution: UP Famnit
  • Leader: Prof. Dr. Vladimir Batagelj
  • Partners: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Institute of Mathematics, Physics, and Mechanics

The objectives include the identification of potential higher-level services and development of several prototype bibliographic analyses and related tools, motivated by number of selected end-users. The development of methods and algorithms for high quality bibliographic entity resolution based on bibliographic network analysis. This will enable to implement processing pipelines that can be applied on bibliographic databases in order to obtain periodically refreshed high quality and up to date bibliographic data. Further development of methodologies and algorithms for analysis of bibliographic networks, based on our past research (2-mode networks, fractional approach, temporal networks and temporal quantities) motivated by specific types of analyses with emphasis on how the science is developing in “real-time”.


  • Title: Exploring and facilitating the assumption of the role of gatekeepers among Slovenian teachers in the context of COVID-19 epidemic consequences
  • Research field: Psychology
  • Project type: postdoctoral project
  • Leader at UP Famnit: Dr. Tina Podlogar 

The objectives of the proposed research project are to explore the existing interventions for teachers as gatekeepers and systematically gather the results of empirical studies about their usefulness and effectiveness. To study the role of general factors, related to the teachers’ willingness and competence to assume the role of gatekeepers (e.g. teachers’ own well-being, satisfaction with their work environment, mental health literacy, stigmatizing attitudes related to suicidal behaviour, experiences, specific trainings etc.) and specific factors related to the concurrent circumstances of COVID-19 epidemic and its long-term consequences (e.g. teachers’ experience of pandemic fatigue, changes in the frequency and quality of the teacher-student interactions, potential impact on mental health of children and adolescents as vulnerable groups as observed from the teachers’ perspective etc.), which may also be relevant in this regard. To develop and pilot implement an intervention for strengthening the willingness and competence of teachers to assume the role of gatekeepers. To evaluate the impact of the intervention by the means of objective and subjective measures. To prepare guidelines for further implementation of the intervention for teachers with the aim of strengthening their competencies and willingness to assume the role of gatekeepers.