With a 70 year history, the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology ZRC SAZU is one of the leading biological research groups in Slovenia. Its researchers perform basic and applied studies of plants and animals at the regional and global scales. Within the institute are three topical units, focusing on basic botany, basic zoology, and applied biology, respectively. The researchers are connected internationally and conduct biodiversity studies on all continents, or provide, through regional applied studies, important guidelines for landscape planning for various clients. The researchers also help teach courses and mentor students at universities in Europe, USA and China.
The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) founded the "Biological Institute SAZU" on 21 March 1950, and it became fully functional the next year with two regular and two associate members. From its foundation and up to 1972 the institute was led by Jovan Hadži whereby it adopted an evolutionary biology research agenda. The institute was later run by Jože Bole (til 1987), Andrej Seliškar (til 1995), Narcis Mršić (1993-1994), Andraž Čarni (1995-2003), Branko Vreš (til 2006), Oto Luthar (til 2008), and since 2008 by Matjaž Kuntner. In the past, the institute had up to 20 employees, with the current total of 18, of which nine are researchers, five are supporting staff, and four are PhD candidates.