Women in Science Profiles


Dr. Romana Vajde Horvat

I have always been keen on arranging different collections – when I was a child, I collected stamps, badges and books, for example. Later on I applied myself to organizing different events, like performances at school and in youth committees. I accepted the tasks connected with organizing events as a challenge. I tried to find a way for better integration of participants and for better use of available time and money. When I had to solve unpredictable complications the challenge was even harder. This is why I am not surprised by the fact that as a researcher and a lecturer I nowadays work in the fields of process modeling and management, project management and communication in work groups.

I graduated in 1990 at the University of Maribor where I developed a prototype of a tool for generating user interfaces on the basis of a given set of variables. After I had written my BSc thesis I started working at this same university as a young researcher: this way I got the opportunity to learn more about quality in software development and process management. In my MSc thesis I focused on models for improving software development quality and on the definition of software development process. I broadened my knowledge on process modeling with research done during the preparation of my PhD thesis. I studied the possibilities for software development process modeling based on Petri nets. At present I work as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Informatics and I am a member of the Institute of Informatics.

Nevertheless, I do not attribute great importance only to research work, but also to the implementation of findings in practice. Since 1990 I have therefore been active at the faculty, at the institute and also in different organizations. From 1997 onwards I am actively engaged as a member of the International Technical Committee which prepares the most widely used standards throughout the world – standards for quality management systems (group ISO 9000). As the Slovenian representative I have participated in several work groups. In this way I could use my knowledge in the preparation of some of the most widely adopted standards in the world. I would particularly like to point out my work in the group preparing guidelines for process approach. In these guidelines organizations can find specifications about how they should organize their processes to make work as efficient as possible.

In 1997 I was appointed as the Head of the Slovenian Technical Committee named Quality Management and Quality Assurance within the Slovenian Institute for Standardization. Since then I manage the preparation of standards for quality management systems. The technical committee passes comments on international standards, prepares appropriate appendices and technical translations, informs the Slovenian public about the situation in the field of standardization and helps with the technical explanation of standards. In April 1999 I passed the exam for a certified Lead Auditor of Quality Management Systems. I also attended training courses in Great Britain and I passed the exam for a PRINCE2 Certified Project Manager.

I furthermore managed or participated in several international and Slovenian research and applicative projects associated with the development of information portals (IPQ, eProjekti-Web-based Environment for project management in SMEs), co-operation methodologies, development of support infrastructure for co-operation in distributed groups (TEAMWORK), development of methodologies, preparation of materials for education and training and transfer of knowledge into practice.

I am a member of the Supervisory Board of the Slovenian Institute for Standardization and for three years I was also the Director of the Centre for Information Technology.

And where and how do I charge my batteries? In my family – I have two incredibly sweet children – and with free time activities such as hiking, swimming, singing in the choir Vocalist and visiting different seminars and workshops for personal growth.

When I think about science, my feelings are mixed. On one side it offers great opportunities for research as researchers nowadays receive good support in the sense of well developed methodologies and patterns of research methods as well as in the sense of access to masses of relevant data, possibilities for interactive co-operation with researchers from all around the world and possibilities for publishing the results of research. Science itself as well as the implementation of findings are growing fast which is at the same time an encouragement and a challenge. Those negative feelings associated with science are stirred up particularly by the thought for which purposes the scientific findings are used. Does scientific work really contribute only to our happiness and satisfaction? I wonder.

The article (in Slovene) Creativity and Free Thinking before the Career: A Group Portrait of Nine Women who all holds PhD in ICT, by Jasna Kontler-Salamon, published in Delo, 18.5.2006, presents the exhibition Women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science in Slovenia. Nine women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science, one of them is dr. Romana Vajde Horvat, reflect on their experience of being a woman in science.

Women in Science Profiles