The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, DC and its economic department, within the scope of economic diplomacy, assisted in the organization of the business-scientific visit of the Slovenian Center of Excellence PoliMaT in the U.S. taking place on June 3–7, 2012, in Boston, MA, Akron, OH, and Washington, DC. The part of the visit taking place in Akron was organized by the general consulate in Cleveland.
The PoliMaT Centre of Excellence (PoliMaT, http://en.polimat.si/) is an independent research institute based on public-private partnership, established in 2010. It is the leading Slovenian research institution founded by the public research and development sector, and successful small, medium and large enterprises in the field of polymer materials and technologies. It focuses on interdisciplinary research in several priority development areas: advanced (new) synthetic metallic and non-metallic materials and nanotechnologies, sustainable technologies, and health and life sciences.
In cooperation with the group of field experts and entrepreneurs, PoliMaT organized a number of business and science meetings presenting the research achievements in the field of polymers and framed by the Technology and Innovation for Global Development, Schumpeter and Polymer Research international conference that took place at the premises of Harvard Kennedy School. The participants at the conference were addressed, through screening, by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo Türk, giving the PoliMaT Centre of Excellence the honor of special recognition.
Ms. Maša Šiftar de Arzu, the economic and science counselor at the Embassy of Slovenia, on this occasion spoke about the potential of the polymer industry with the aim of coping with global ecological, agricultural and medical challenges. It is not enough that only the Slovenian chemical industry and scientific community be aware of these potentials, they must also be known to political decision-makers at local as well as international levels.
»Polymers, especially bio polymers, could become top-level Slovenian trademark, as is, for example, Nokia for Finland« stated the leading organizer of the conference and Professor at Harvard Mr. Calestous Juma, giving a motivation for the Slovenian scientific field.
At the evening reception following the conference, Ms. Šiftar de Arzu, in addition to her formal address, presented Slovenia as a first-class tourist destination as well as a place for variety of business opportunities. The reception for the partners was organized by the Polimat Centre of Excellence with the help of the Slovenian Embassy.
The representatives of PoliMaT also participated in various business and scientific encounters in Boston, including MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Polymer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The visit by PoliMaT in Akron, OH, the center of polymer industry in the U.S., was organized through the efforts of S-ABA (Slovenian – American Business Association), by the Consul General of the Republic of Slovenia in Cleveland, OH, Jurček Žmauc. Upon his invitation, the representatives of PoliMaT also met with Akron City Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic and other influential city representatives. There they also visited the National Polymer Innovation Center, Goodyear Polymer Center, University of Akron, SUMMA Health Campus, and Akron Global Business Accelerator.
The Executive Director of PoliMaT Mateja Dermastia and the scientific part of the PoliMaT team traveled also to Washington to meet with representatives of the National Science Foundation. They also had a successful visit to George Mason University, the largest public university in the state of Virginia, where the Executive Director Mateja Dermastia signed a letter of intent of cooperation with GMU Prorector Roger R. Stough.