We are pleased to introduce you the new DRC President, Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič, Rector of the University of Maribor, Slovenia, as he shares his first words since he assumed the charge on the 1st of January. Let's discover more about our new President and his vision for the role of the DRC in the region!
Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič was born in 1961 in Maribor. He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 1986, the M. Sc. Degree in 1989 and the Dr. Sci. Degree in 1992, all from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, Slovenia.
He is currently a full professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor and head of the Laboratory for Digital Signal Processing. He gives courses at undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. Up to the present, he was the supervisor of 17 doctoral students. His current research interests encompass digital signal processing, speech processing and analysis, speech recognition and synthesis, audio-visual content processing, and development of automated and content based initiated communication services in the framework of IP television, ambient intelligence and supportive living environments.
His bibliography includes 634 units, from which he authored or co-authored 97 articles published in scientific journals, 45 of them published in journals with impact factor. He is the author or co-author of 190 articles published in the proceedings of national or international scientific conferences. He is the author of two textbooks, co-author of eleven chapters in scientific monographs, co-author of scientific monography published by an international publisher, and author or co-author of four patent applications. He was guest editor of the journal International Journal of speech technology, New York: Springer Verlag, and from 2003 member of the same journal's editorial board. In years from 1994 to 2007, he was editor or co-editor of fifteen international workshops' proceedings Advances in speech technology. In the last ten years, he was several times a member of the scientific committee of international conferences from the field of speech and language technologies – Language resources and Evaluation and Interspeech, the latter being organized by the International Speech Community Association – ISCA.
In 2019 he was general co-chair of the international conference Interspeech, held in Graz. In the last five years, he served as peer-reviewer for international journals like Journal of Sensors, Journal of Engineering applications of artificial intelligence, Journal of Digital Signal Processing, and International Journal of Speech Technology. He had invited lectures at different universities in Germany, Spain, Croatia, and Sweden. He was visiting professor at the University of Umea, Sweden, a guest researcher at the University of Technology Berlin, Germany and two times at the University of Technology Munich, Germany.
From 2010 to 2014, he was a member of the COST Domain Committee for Information and Communication Technologies (DC ICT). In 2013, he was appointed to the working group for the preparation of the Higher Education Financing Act at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2016, he joined the working group to support the project Peer Counselling for Performance Based Funding of Higher Education in Slovenia at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2019, he was appointed to the working group for the preparation of the Higher Education Financing Act at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia.
Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič is President of Slovenian Rectors’ Conference, an active member of EUA Council and strongly engages in the Slovenian Higher Education Reform process. Being aware of the challenges put forward to universities by the on-growing process of negation of research and science-based knowledge, he entered the newly formed network of Universities for Enlightenment and stands for truth, honesty and openness. It is Prof. Kačič’s strong belief that universities have to re-assure their position in our dramatically changing global society and are the best solution for a knowledge-based and reason-driven handling of today’s and future societal challenges. In the same way, the motivation for his application for President of DRC is the cognition that an active contribution of DRC in the process of design and progress of the Danube Strategy and strong involvement in the matters of the common European Higher Education and Research Area shall be continued and even enforced, especially Danubius Young Scientists award, contributions to the discussions on the future of Europe, cooperation with neighbouring areas and other actual themes of the DRC. It is about our most multi-cultural, multi-national and also vulnerable Danube region to become a valuable and added-value region of united Europe that we all strive for. Actual topics of the European Higher Education Area come to the agenda, as there are European University Initiatives, where DRC should envisage the potentials and impact on this, as well as the setting up of cooperative mechanisms for brain circulation of master and especially doctoral students within the Danube region and finally, tackling the improvement of innovation potentials of our region for more added-value jobs and incentives for young people to live and work in the Danube region.
Upon his appointment as rector of the University of Maribor Prof. dr. Zdravko Kačič emphasised that “with its performance, the University has to justify the confidence of the broader society in fulfilling its mission".