Who we are

The Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies has been established in 2018. The interdisciplinary research team combines biological and life sciences with humanities, as it actively connects with other institutes of ZRS Koper.

Competences and achievements

Through research, the Institute promotes excellence and responsibility. The researchers of the Institute undertake environmental and other interdisciplinary applied national and international research projects in the field of sustainable development, produce scientific and expert reports and papers, organize and take part of scientific and expert meetings. Research areas of the Institute are oriented mainly to the Mediterranean.

Mission and vision

The vision of MIOS is to become a reference center for responsible research and innovation that addresses the environmental and other dimensions of the sustainable development of the Mediterranean area in an integral way. We believe that human communities need to be aware of the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, preserve biodiversity, restore and maintain ecosystem services provided by natural ecosystems. Our mission is to encourage this and strengthen the sustainable aspects of coexistence through research. In order to strengthen the awareness that humans are part of ecosystems, and to promote a different, more sustainable attitude towards the environment, it is necessary to include social and especially environmental responsibility in education, research and innovation.

To follow this vision, we see our research contribution in priority areas as:

  • sustainable management of natural resources, preservation and restoration of ecosystems,
  • integrative evaluation of ecosystem services, creation of payment schemes for ecosystem services,
  • exploring different dimensions of biodiversity,
  • mitigation and adaptation to climate change,
  • circular economy and the transition to a low-carbon society,
  • Mediterranean sustainable lifestyle and blue growth,
  • production of sufficient and high-quality food with environmentally friendly technologies,
  • sustainable management of rural and urban coastal areas of the Mediterranean, with the aim of increasing their competitiveness, functionality, resilience and adaptability.

Head: Jerneja Penca, PhD, Senior Research Associate

Phone: +386 5 663 77 00


Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Jerneja Penca, PhD

Senior Research Associate
Head of Institute
Phone: +386 5 663 77 00
Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Liliana Vižintin, PhD

Deputy Head of Institute
Phone: +386 5 663 77 92
Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Erik Kralj

Young Researcher
Phone: +386 5 663 77 00
Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Boris Kryštufek, PhD

Principal Research Associate
Phone: +386 5 663 77 00
Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Cécil Meulenberg, PhD

Research Assistant
Phone: +386 5 663 77 00
Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Suzana Škof, PhD

Research Assistant
Phone: +386 5 663 77 00




Surviving the Anthropocene through Inventing New Ecological Justice and Biosocial Philosophical Literacy

ARRS Code: J7-1824

Period: 01. 07. 2019 – 30. 06. 2022

HeadLenart Škof, PhD, Principal Research Fellow

Participating research institutes: Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies and Institute for Philosophical Studies

Web page


POSEIDONE – Promotion of green and blue infrastructure for new environmental development

Interreg VI-A Italy-Slovenia

The POSEIDONE project is aimed at the functional area of the northern Adriatic Sea, from the city of Chioggia (Italy) to the Slovenian coast. The general goal of the project is the promotion of local development by favoring the protection of nature and biodiversity, the development of green and blue infrastructures in Natura 2000 sites, the reduction of tourist pressure on natural parks or natural areas, the improvement of the landscape by the promotion of biodiversity in agriculture, the protection of native species and the dissemination of knowledge.

A greener and CO2-free Europe is the policy objective underlying the project, which takes into account the fight against climate change through the protection and implementation of biodiversity and green and blue infrastructures.

The challenges the project aims to address are concerning about:

  • partnership’s joint actions implementation in order to mitigate the climate change in themanagement sector of protected and unspoiled natural environment areas;
  • biodiversity’s and green and blue infrastructures improvement’s implementation for reducing airpollution and CO2 emissions;
  • protection of biodiversity in order to encourage the diversity of landscapes, includingagricultural ones.

In addition, a better waste management governance will be developed through awareness and cleaning campaigns on both sides of the border. The cooperation between territories involved in the project is a meeting and discussion opportunity about common issues. Innovation in the workflow will be supported in order to obtain common solutions about institutional technic capacity strengthening and the transfer of knowledge with the aim of finding a management strategy of natural and protected areas that are sustainable and innovative.

The main outputs that the project wants to obtain are:

  1. joint cross-border actions: high training days on the Goletta Verde boat along the Northern Adriatic Sea coast (area of project) about new technologies for offshore monitoring and in addition data collection for WP1 related monitoring activities; set up of a shared calendar between the Italian and Slovenian partners on the main actions of outreach and cleaning of the sea, the coast, rivers and natural areas with the involvement of local populations (D.2.1.2 & D.2.1.3) (RCO81);
  2. drawing up a cross-border strategy for the identification and creation of new protected areas, with the aim of developing a cross-border vision (methods and criteria) in order to identify measures that stop, slow down or reverse the loss of biodiversity and, at the same time, n order to mitigate the impacts generated by climate change with the aim of increasing the protection of high value habitatsand species populations (D 1.4) (RCO83);
  3. set up of experimental pilot actions of floating platforms for stopping seabirds, restoration activities across flat islands and conservation of native plant varieties (D.2.3.4, D.3.3.1) (RCO84). The project will contribute to the sustainable development of the territory on a macro-regional crossborder scale, promoting the defense of biodiversity in natural and protected areas.

The main results of the project will be the improvement of biodiversity along the Northern Adriatic Sea coast. This will be possible through:

  • the implementation and protection of green and blue infrastructure
  • the implementation of tools for sustainable tourism planning;
  • the promotion and enhancement of the territories
  • the protection of the natural and agricultural landscape.

The partners’ cross-border cooperation approach will be based on mutual collaboration on dealing with the common challenges and on defining the long-term goals, starting from the capitalization of the previous experiences. The effectiveness of cross-border cooperation approach, which enriches the cognitive and experiential path, is linked to:

  • the greater effectiveness and stability of the outputs produced by the project,
  • the implementation of protected areas and
  • the exchange of good practices applied in the various areas involved.

Contract no.: ITA-SI0400091

Project duration: 1. 1. 2023  – 31. 12. 2025 (36 months)

Project partners:

Participating institute ZRS KoperInstitute for Oliveculture and Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Project leader at ZRS Koperdr. Liliana Vižintin (

Vodilni partner:  VeGAL – GAL Venezia Orientale

Partnerji projekta:

  • Regione del Veneto
  • Consorzio di Bonifica Veneto Orientale
  • CORILA – Consorzio per il coordinamento delle ricerche inerenti al sistema lagunare di Venezia
  • Comune di Staranzano – Organo Gestore Riserva Naturale Foce Isonzo
  • Fondazione WWF Italia
  • Regionalni razvojni center Koper
  • Javni zavod Krajinski park Strunjan
  • DOPPS – Društvo za opazovanje in proučevanje ptic Slovenije
  • Občina Ankaran – Comune di Ancarano
  • Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper – ZRS Koper
  • Kmetijsko gozdarska zbornica Slovenije Kmetijsko gozdarski zavod Nova Gorica


Smart Control of the Climate Resilience in European Coastal Cities (acronym: SCORE)

European Commission: Call: H2020-LC-CLA-2018-2019-2020; Topic: LC-CLA-13-2020

Grant Agreement number: 101003534

The overall aim of SCORE is to design, develop, monitor and validate robust adaptation measures in coastal and low-lying areas to protect them from increasing climate and sea level risks, including coastal flooding and erosion, to enhance their overall long-term resilience.

SCORE outlines a co-creation strategy, developed via a network of 10 coastal city ‘living labs’ (CCLLs), to rapidly, equitably and sustainably enhance coastal city climate resilience through Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBAs) and sophisticated digital technologies. SCORE will establish an integrated coastal zone management framework for strengthening EBA and smart coastal city policies, creating European leadership in coastal city climate change adaptation in line with The Paris Agreement.

SCORE will involve citizen science in providing prototype coastal city early-warning systems and will enable smart, instant monitoring and control of climate resilience in European coastal cities through open, accessible spatial ‘digital twin’ tools.

SCORE will provide innovative platforms to empower stakeholders’ deployment of EBAs to increase climate resilience, business opportunities and financial sustainability of coastal cities.

The SCORE interdisciplinary team consists of 28 world-leading organisations from academia, local authorities, RPOs, and SMEs encompassing a wide range of skills including environmental science and policy, climate modelling, citizen and social science, data management, coastal management and engineering, security and technological aspects of smart sensing research.

Through SCORE, ZRS Koper will develop a CCLL and prepare a resilient adaptation plan for the historic town of Piran.

Project partners:

  • Atlantic Technological University, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland – I.t.s. (lead partner)
  • Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies B.v.
  • Universitá di Pisa
  • University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork
  • Universidad de Alicante
  • Laboratorio di Monitoraggio e Modellistica Ambientale per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile – Lamma
  • Sligo County Council
  • Naider Analisis y Accion Socioeconomica Sl
  • Uniwersytet Gdanski
  • B.I. S.r.l.
  • Oarsoaldea S.a.
  • Municipio de Oeiras
  • University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin
  • Red S.p.a
  • Samsun Universitesi
  • Diputacion de Barcelona
  • Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
  • Euronovia
  • Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper
  • Serveis de Suport a la Gestio Sl
  • Tero Monoprosopi Ike
  • Technicka Univerzita v Kosiciach
  • Pro Ge Com S.r.l.
  • Erinn Innovation Limited
  • Associacao do Instituto Superior Tecnico Para a Investigacao e Desenvolvimento
  • Ajuntament de Vilanova I La Geltru
  • European Network of Living Labs Ivzw
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Project duration: 1. 7. 2021 – 30. 6. 2025

Project holder: Atlantic Technological University, Sligo, Ireland

Project leader: Dr Salem Gharbia

Participating institute of the SRC Koper: Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Co-ordinator of the project at ZRS Koper: Cécil Meulenberg, PhD

Project website





ECO-SMART Ecosystem Services Market for an Advanced Policy to Protect NATURA 2000 areas

Cooperation program Interreg V-A Italia-Slovenia 2014-2020

The ECO-SMART is a cross-border cooperation program project that faces the challenges to more effectively monitor the state of climate change and to plan appropriate adaptation measures to prevent the negative effects that threaten the quality of biodiversity in selected NATURA 2000 sites of the included regions.

The general purpose of the ECO-SMART project is to assess at cross-border level the economic feasibility of biodiversity protection measures and climate change adaptation measures in NATURA 2000 sites through the pilot introduction of payment for ecosystem services tools.

The specific objectives of the ECO-SMART project are:

  • the use of harmonized approaches for the analyses and evaluation of ecosystem services;
  • creating methodological frameworks that will enable the analysis of climate change vulnerability in selected NATURA 2000 sites;
  • pilot design of adaptation plans, of which the sustainability will be ensured through models of payment for ecosystem services.

Project duration: 24 months (1. 4. 2020- 31. 3. 2022)

Project partners:

LP: Veneto Region

PP2: Municipality of Monfalcone

PP3: University of Padua, Department of industrial engineering

PP4: Regional Development Centre Koper

PP5: Science and Research Centre Koper

Participating institute of the  SRC Koper: Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies

Project leader on behalf of the SRC Koper: Liliana Vižintin, PhD (

Collaborators on behalf of SRC MIES: Suzana Škof, PhD ( and Cécil  Meulenberg, PhD (

Project website: