National Coordinators

Team Leader

Igor Balaz

Area of Interest: Epistemological issues in our perception of living things; artificial life. [Read more...]

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Biology and Ecology, Trg Dositeja Obradovica 2, University of Novi Sad, 21000 Novi Sad. e-mail:



Progress Reports

Progress Report 1

Expansion and organization of network of partners in Serbia and Montenegro.

1. Investigation of cyanobacterial activity against phytopathogens and cancer, leading by Dr. Zorica Svircev. In this group are also: Jelica Simeunovic, Jelena Mandic (from University of Novi Sad), Milana Karajic (From Institute of Health Protection in Podgorica- Montenegro).

2. Neurophysiology research team, leading by Dr. Milka Culic. In this group are also: Ljiljana Martac, Gordana Grbic, Aleksandar Kalauzi, Sladjana Spasic.

3. Theory of complex systems and theory of information and its application to investigation of living organisms (particular focus is on microorganisms, communication between them and host-pathogen interactions). Leader and only participant: me.


Progress Report 2 

28 January 2005

[Comments of Principal Coordinator in blue]

Objectives of the NC team for Serbia and Montenegro:

expansion of the national web site
establishing short-term action plans in order to better articulate local scientific projects and to connect them with similar projects abroad (within IMNRC), and
making broader contacts with NGO sector in Serbia and Montenegro

[1. I must make a comment on the use of the acronym IMNRC. Please note that what we are developing now is the NewPOL Network. Not the IMNRC as such for the moment. I shall clarify my position on this later, because this is a recurring issue with some of the others.  2. Please remember that the NewPOL Network explores interfaces. This implies Science of course, but not JUST Science. Besides, you would also have to define "Science": what is considered as Science and what is not... 3. You should also make broader contacts with the general population of Serbia and Montenegro to try to make them interested in the NewPOL Network and what we have to offer. You may at first only succeed in getting one person interested, then two...six...ten...thirty...hundred...]

After these „local“ actions, I (Igor Balaz) have some „global“ suggestions:

1. Already mentioned logo problem. We discussed it shortly and I can only hope that we will approach „the second edition“ very soon.

[Me too... :-). The logo can be discussed between all during the Virtual Platform discussions.]

2. One of the sections of IMNRC is entitled as „Artists“. It is not quite clear for me what should be the final form of that section (besides the idea of large-scale cooperation of various different fields of creativity) but I think that ARS electronica ( ) provide excellent framework for very fruitful communication and cooperation between art, theory and science. They are mainly focused only on the field of digital media but in my opinion it would be very useful to make some kind of cooperation with them since they are already established as a very recognizable brand. By that I do not indicate that „Artists“ section should be narrowed only on that domain of creativity... but if there exist very good framework, it should be used.

[Yes indeed. We get mixed up in semantics again... :-) ... I shall look into this. Thank you.] 

3. In one of previous communications you (Viv)  said that:

The essential difference with the NewPOL Network is that it is trying to change mentalities FIRST in order to THEN produce projects that are more creative, original and useful to all. This is THE important idea behind the NewPOL Network!“.

I agree but I also think that members of the network are already non-conventional and very creative – or they should be.

[This is a delicate issue we shall approach during the private Virtual Platform discussions. Some seem but can't. Some can't but would like to. Some are, but can't. Some are, can, but.]  

So I would like to suggest focussing our attention (since process of formation of NC teams has been finished ) on encouraging

I’m not sure if you are in position to add a discussion forum on but it would provide a much needed interface for exchanging ideas and for better coordination of scientific projects.

[I completely agree with you here. However, the basic infrastructure of the NewPOL Network is vital for its future: rush everything and it shall collapse. The NewPOL Network is still very fragile and young. Facing us are Very Old Systems that have survived (what for?) hundreds/thousands of years. Most are the product of, or conditioned by, these Institutional Dinosaurs. 

So, there seems to be only one solution here: patience (but not too much!), determination and regular team turn-over when needed. We can (and we shall continue to) have members who "like" our initiative but who prefer not to take an active part in the proceedings. This is expected and is also found everywhere. But regarding the basic structural elements, we MUST have reliable members at all times. The Virtual Platform shall be set and clusters shall form automatically as soon as we have our quota of twenty NC Teams.]  

P.S. I realize that in previous sections I didn’t mention anything about funding of IMNRC activities on national level and I’m also quite aware that money is an essential part of any organization in modern world. But, to be perfectly honest with you: I can hardly find any financial aid in Serbia since (as you probably know) it is extremely poor country with very, very bad recent history. I tried to make some contacts but I had very similar answers as for example Ukrainian NC- people are only interested in money: If I have some money they are going to do something: otherwise, they are not interested. Also, I contacted Serbian NGO portal, section for Interdisciplinary Scientific Projects, and I didn’t get any answer from them (yet); not to mention that on their web page there is only this: „molimo Vas posetite nas kasnije. Hvala“ (Please, visit us later. Thank you)... So I’m not very optimistic about establishing Serbia and Montenegro IMNRC team in form of some kind financially independent and self-maintained sub organization. Instead... we can form few (at the moment 3) very strong scientific teams which do not hesitate to get across the conventional paradigm and to professionally challenge routinized forms of thought... which should be essential in next stages of IMNRC development.

[I know it is not easy. Many are not happy in their own country and have considerable difficulties making ends meet. Some just want to survive the month, waiting for the next month. And the years go by with Everyone looking on... How can one expect most human beings to develop their potential and show their know-how to the outside world with so many down-to-earth problems everyday?

Fortunately, the EU and Other Institutions are always rolling in money. Thank goodness for that!

The financial support you need regarding your NC Team shall form part of the mini-ppt presentation for Serbia & Montenegro. You tell me how much you need, and I shall present this to Apple + ERA + Press as for every NC Team provided that we are twenty and that each has met the basic requirements.

Thank you for your efforts.]


Budget Estimate 

20 March 2005

[Comments of Principal Coordinator in blue]

First, and most important, I do not have any experience with such kind of financial proposals.

[No need to worry... You are in good company!]

Should it be on monthly basis, or should I make a projection of "budget" for a whole year? Also, desirable amount of money highly depends on ambitions (or vice versa in some cases :-): web hosting, press conferences, public lectures... For example with 500 euros per month we could make an excellent promotion.

[The basic reason for asking every NC Team to send me a rough estimate of their needs is to get them thinking finance. The first deadline for the Educational Grant is 1 June 2005.]


I wish to thank Igor Balaz for his contribution to the NewPOL Network.