Scientists Day – Scientific Achievements are always a result of cooperation

  • Novartis Slovenia celebrated the Scientists Day to honor Slovenian scientific research and the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Ljubljana and 25th anniversary of the Slovene Science Foundation. 
  • As part of Novartis, Lek is committed to strengthen and scale up the cooperation between academic institutions to enable progress, creation of innovative solutions, and talent development. 
  • The cooperation between academic levels and economy results in intense development of knowledge, innovation and science in Slovenia.  
8. 11. 2019

World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated each year on November 10. Novartis Slovenia marked this internationally celebrated day and organized the Scientists Day with the support of scientific institutions in Slovenia. At the event, about 70 Lek scientists and Slovenian academic institutions disclosed the latest research achievements and discussed ways to further enhance the collaboration between the academic sphere and the economy. The event also marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Ljubljana and 25thanniversary of Slovene Science Foundation.

“At Lek and Novartis, the cooperation with academic and scientific institutions is of significant importance. We believe that companies and research institutions are natural partners in the development of science, basic knowledge and applied solutions to create economic progress and ensure sustainable social growth and well-being," said Robert Ljoljo, President of the Board of Management of Lek and Novartis Country President, at the opening of the Scientists Day.

The integration between academic research and economy is vital to the success of research. For decades, Lek has been playing an important and active role in shaping these relationships. “The cooperation with research and academic institutions is very valuable to us. Most of us have come from these institutions and we are glad to return to acquire new learnings and to upgrade and share them. Our partners include pharmacists, chemists and biotechnologists, as well as other professionals from diverse fields of research. Such interdisciplinary collaboration is priceless as it encourages the development of innovative ideas and young talents. That is why we can say that our achievements result from the cooperation of the entire Slovenian science," said Darja Ferčej Temeljotov, PhD, Head of Strategic Programs at Lek.

Lek in search for diverse partnerships to develop knowledge and innovation

Lek experts work with faculties, university career centers, and student organizations within a broader regional context. They regularly introduce expertise and work in the pharmaceutical industry to professors and students. Each year, Lek provides internship to more than 100 school pupils and students. In addition, they co-design study programs, participate in Slovenian and international student exchange programs across academic levels, and give lectures at faculties. As an employer, Lek is an active partner in the accreditation scheme of study and training programs aimed at reducing structural unemployment. They also establish partnerships with other successful companies in Slovenia to exchange experience and share best practices on innovation, operational excellence, digitization, new ways of working, and talent development.

While celebrating the Scientists Day, Prof. Borut Božič, PhD, President of the Governing Board of the University of Ljubljana, said: “The mission of the University is to create, preserve and transfer knowledge. In the study process, an individual picks up knowledge through education, while the wider society takes up knowledge through graduates. Being familiar with environmental challenges, including the economy, gives a greater meaning to research and the creation of new knowledge in the academic sphere. On the other hand, the economy itself requires and develops new knowledge by applying a different approach. While the economy focuses on operations using the existing knowledge to deliver a product, the academic sphere focuses on making the next step from the existing knowledge to new learnings. These differences are important to enhance the progress of the society, because it is the intersection of different operations of both spheres that drives the development. In order for this intersection to be as effective and efficient as possible, we need to know each other, work together, and trust each other. Only then can we successfully educate and support young people in their development to understand the differences between the two spheres and successfully build the present and the future on both of them."

For many years, Lek has been working closely with the Jožef Stefan Institute in many areas. “It is very important to us that Lek is one of the companies with the highest investment commitments in R&D. At the same time, it is one of the most important employers of highly-qualified personnel in the field of biomedical research in Slovenia. We believe that such cooperation can be further enhanced and backed up by the state. That is why I am very pleased that we are participating in the Scientists Day, which, in addition to the possibilities to strengthen our cooperation, provides an opportunity for younger colleagues to gain insight into the operation of such a company as Lek," emphasized Prof. Boris Turk, PhD, PhD, Head of Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Structural Biology at the Jožef Stefan Institute.

According to Prof. Božič, the collaboration between the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana and Lek is very good. “Starting with individual product development projects, our cooperation has grown into a broader project, combining solutions to tackle challenges of innovative and new products by fostering professional and personal growth of employees including employed young researchers and their mentors. Each young talent is followed by two Lek mentors and two Faculty mentors with varied length of service to maximize and leverage the benefits of youthful enthusiasm with innovation and prudence with experience. On the one hand, this enables the Faculty to respond appropriately to the demands of the job market by adapting their study programs, since pharmaceutical knowledge base is rapidly changing. On the other hand, this type of cooperation provides long-term qualified staff to retain high value-added jobs in Slovenia," said Prof. Božič.

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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz, operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Over the last seven years, the company has created more than 2,250 jobs, making us one of the biggest employers in Slovenia. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2.3 billion since 2003. 

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars and a pioneer in the emerging field of prescription digital therapeutics. Our purpose is to pioneer access to healthcare by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical need. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas and increasingly focused on value-adding differentiated medicines, accounted for 2018 sales of USD 9.9 billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.

Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @SandozGlobal at

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 108 thousand people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at 

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications 
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32