Who we are

The Centre of Karst Hydrogeology was established in November 2008, by the decision of the Educational Scientific Council of the Faculty of Mining & Geology. That year a new accredited curriculum of the Department of Hydrogeology as well as a new organizational setup took place.

The Department of Hydrogeology is one of the 8 organizational units (Departments) in the Geology Department of the Faculty of Mining & Geology (FMG) of the University of Belgrade. Hydrogeology is one of the four accredited study programs in the Geology Department; lectures are delivered at three levels: Basic academic studies, a 4-year program; Masters studies, a 1-year program; and PhD study, a 3-year program.

The dynamic development of the hydrogeological profession and conditions of science appropriates changes in the educational process which not only monitors trends in this branch of geology in the country and throughout the world, but also the needs of the economy in the domain of research and exploitation of groundwater.

From the time of the formation of the Group of Hydrogeology at the FMG (1971) until the formation of the Institute (1990), there was a four-year curriculum; in 1990, with the implementation of the third plan, the basic study program was extended to five-years. The reorganization in 2008. included introduction of above-mentioned three levels programme (in accordance with a new Higher Education Law which follows Bologna principles) and rename of the Institute into Department.

Basic academic studies are performed during a four-year program (eight semesters). Every year provides 60 ECTS, which, for undergraduate studies, is a minimum of 240 ECTS. Each school year consists of two semestres, and each semester of 15 weeks (winter and summer). Students who successfully complete the basic academic studies in accordance with the Law and the Statute of the Faculty of Mining & Geology acquire the title Engineer of Geology for Hydrogeology.

It is also important to note that the interest of students in hydrogeology studies is constantly growing. In recent years, 35-40% of all students enrolled in the Department of Geology began as students of Hydrogeology; by the 2nd to 3rd years of study, that number increased to include up to 50% of all Geology students. From the formation of the Group for hydrogeology in 1971 until November 2011, a total of 721 students earned the title Engineer of Geology for Hydrogeology. 65 candidates in the past defended their Masters thesis, among them several foreigners. In the same period, Ph.D.candidates from different domains of hydrogeology and neighboring disciplines totaled 40, or one per year in average. In the last decade the five PhD students obtained their diplomas by choosing topics linked with karst.

Since 06.11.2008, the Department rearranged into special units: 2 laboratories, and 7 centers, including the Library and the Archives of the Department.

  1. Laboratory for hydrochemistry
  2. Laboratory for geothermology
  1. Centre for the protection of groundwater and geological environment
  2. Centre for hydrogeological research and monitoring of groundwater
  3. Centre for hydrogeological objects
  4. Centre for mineral water
  5. Centre for karst hydrogeology
  6. Centre for water resources renewable energy
  7. Computer centre
  8. Library
  9. Archives

The Centre for karst hydrogeology consists of several permanent employee professors and part-time researchers and PhD students. All of them have chosen the karst as their main topic in education and in research. The tasks of the Centre are research in various fields of karst hydrogeology along with promotion of obtained results, education, scientific, commercial and technical cooperation with similar institutions and organizations worldwide.

There are also some historical and technical reasons why establishment of such centre was found to be important for current and future hydrogeological activities in Serbia and in Balkan, as well:

1. Historical: Although tapping of fresh or mineral water was a very ancient technique in Serbia the formal start of history of hydrogeology is associated with the last decade of 19 Ct. and master works of Svetolik Radovanovic and Jovan Cvijic. Cvijic’s doctoral dissertation “Karst” defended in Vienna in 1893 in fact founded a new scientific discipline - karstology. Since that time many local Slavic terms such as polje, doline, uvala, ponor are widely used to explain morphological and hydrogeological processes in karst. The Cvijic’s works in this, and in surrounding area enabled to establish the strong karst geomorphology and hydrogeology school.

2. Technical: Karst aquifers are of great importance for our planet, they are present on over 20% of land surface, and serve drinking water to similar percentage of the world population. Serbia is the single country where the Carpathian and Dinaric mountain arches, the two branches of Alpides are present. As both dominantly consist of well karstified rocks karstic groundwater has always been of central interest to scientists and ordinary people. Currently, more than 50% of the population in esetarn and western part of the Republic of Serbia are consuming karstic groundwater for drinking. Many large engineering projects, construction of large and medium dams in former Yugoslavia and in the “third world” countries were built with the support of Serbian companies and experts.