Research Themes

Open Engineering 

My core research is in the practices of Open Engineering as a way to develop strategies and tools for the management of R&D processes – linking the knowledge-intensive and project-driven innovation activities, with distributed nature of research and enterprise within the current Open Innovation-led data-driven economy. I specifically focus on three processes: how to develop collaborative co-creation/design, how to achieve strategic alignment and how to build collective visions/imaginaries around emerging technology.

Innovation Intermediation

Due to the critical role of facilitators in these processes and the constitution of networks and systems, I developed new perspectives and theories of innovation intermediation – focusing on a new 4-dimensional typology of interventions.

Here is a book I published and a paper where some of the early work has been developed:

Innovation Intermediaries and (Final) Frontiers of High-tech: Supporting the New Space Sector in Scotland: Vidmar, Matjaz: 9783030606411: Books   

Space and Innovation (Eco-systems)

I am developing a specific interest in the development of ecological perspectives on Space Technology, in particular as related to the issues of sustainability. On top of developing new research projects in this arena, I regularly contribute public articles for Popular Astronomy Magazine and Space and Scotland, writing about space policy, innovation and other developments in the Space Research and Industry. Some of the key pieces are also available as pre-prints on my blog. I also make occasional appearances on radio (mainly in Slovenia/n).

Here is a position paper, developed on the back of a conference session I co-led with the Social Studies of Outer Space network.

History of Astronomy, Space Exploration and Associated Technology

One of my side research interests is the History and Sociology of Astronomy (and Space Exploration), in particular as related to technology development. In addition to researching and lecturing on these topics at the University of Edinburgh, I am also involved with several projects to present these fascinating stories to the public, for instance through Edinburgh’s History of Science Tour mobile application, Curious Edinburgh. You can download the app from here.

Outer Space, Technology and Culture

I also have a broader interest in the Sociological, Philosophical, Historical and Pedagogical studies of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and related technological and social advancement. I am working on several (smaller) research projects about these topics, drawing on the resources at the University of Edinburgh and at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, in particular the Crawford Library. Regular updates about the more public-facing activities here are available on the blog pages.

Public Understanding of Astronomy, Space Exploration and Planetary Science

I was part of the public engagement team at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre and have developed several educational resources on Astronomy and related topics (do get in touch if this is potential of interest!). I have also developed a whole variety of projects and talks, which I regularly delivered across Scotland – including my Space and Astronomy Tours (SATs) to some very remote parts.

UK/Scottish Space Sector and Innovation (PhD; 2015-2020)

Supervisors: Dr Alessandro Rosiello, Dr Julian Dines, Claire Dougan-McCallie, Dr Niki Vermeulen, Prof Robin Williams, Prof Wayne Holland

My primary research interests for my PhD were in innovation and the crucial part it plays in advanced research programmes in natural sciences and engineering. I particularly focus on developments connected to Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Exploration.

I was focusing on the innovation and technology transfer in the Space sector in the UK, and in particular in Scotland. My thesis is that to conceptualise the innovation in this high-tech sector we need to better understand the links between actual product development and the knowledge co-creation and acquisition through innovation networks. Hence, insights from the literature as well as an in-depth study of successful innovation management in companies across the sector and other technology transfer and R&D support programmes can play a vital role in delivering the current objectives for UK Space sector’s expansion.

This expansion is a key UK economic policy goal and public funding institutions working in this field are very keen on forming an integrated approach to achieving the desired impact outcomes. One of the main public funding bodies in the Space sector is this project’s collaborating partner, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), who are involved in launching a series of new projects in and around Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, in order to stimulate growth and capitalise on excellent basic and applied research undertaken in the area by public and private research programmes.

One of these new projects is the Higgs Centre for Innovation (HCI), which was at the centre of my work, as I was able to access and participate in the strategic development of its programme.

PS: I have written a short summary of my on-line viva experience.