The Knowledge of Sustainability Research

Building a Science-driven Path to


We are a research group


Ljubljana, Slovenia

With advanced expertise in

Data driven research

Using data mining for extracting knowledge from large datasets

Text driven research

Using text mining for extracting knowledge from textual documents

Knowledge representation

Using qualitative modeling for structured representation of experts' knowledge

User-friendly application

Making complex software solutions easy to be used and accessible

Applying our results in the fields of






We develop

Decision Support Systems

…. so that the knowledge
gained through advanced AI technologies
can help transforming to a sustainable society


The amount of data and information available to decision-makers is increasing, as are the number of requirements and restrictions. The complexity of decision-making is therefore becoming increasingly unmanageable and the probability of making the wrong decisions is rising sharply.


We collect knowledge from large amounts of data, extensive collections of scientific and technical publications and from experts. We use modern artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to organise the useful information into interpretable patterns, knowledge graphs and structured decision-making processes.


To aid decision-makers in reaching reliable decisions based on data, knowledge and experience, we develop advanced decision support systems. These systems provide decision-makers with a range of alternative solutions and offer a well-reasoned justification for the chosen decision.

IPM Adviser


A tool for searching available DSS in the field of Integrated Pest Management in Europe

The problem it addresses

To reduce the health risks and biodiversity loss caused by the use of pesticides, farmers face the challenge of controlling pests and meeting the demand for sustainable food production. Decision Support Systems (DSS) enable the optimisation of pesticide application timing to increase pesticide efficacy and thus reduce pesticide use while maintaining crop quality and quantity. Although many DSS for integrated pest management (IPM) are available in Europe, they are not widely used due to a lack of information on the available DSS.

The solution it provides

To give users access to information on the available decision support systems for integrated pest management, we have developed the IPM Adviser. The system allows users to search for IPM decision support systems according to various criteria (e.g. country, crop, pest, data requirements, language of the DSS, etc.) that are easy to understand. In addition, up to four DSSs can be compared simultaneously to show similarities and differences between them. For each DSS, a link to its website is also provided.



A tool for biodiversity-ecosystem functioning assessment by network analysis

The problem it addresses

Soil degradation leads to a loss of soil biodiversity and a reduction in the complexity of the soil food web. This has negative cascading effects on most processes and functions provided by the soil food web. Despite the rapid increase in soil biological datasets and research interest, analyses and visualisations of the soil food web are difficult to perform, mainly because few mechanistic and predictive food web models are available.

The solution it provides

To support studies on the topology and dynamics of soil food webs and to apply selected machine learning algorithms together with statistical analyses, the BEFANA system is introduced. It is implemented in Python and provides methods and implementations for data loading and pre-processing, network analysis and interactive visualisation, modelling with experimental data and predictive modelling with machine learning.



A development suit for building cooperative decision support systems

The problem it addresses

The rapid growth of available DSSs has unexpectedly raised doubts among their users about the reliability and trustworthiness of their results. Users show cautious scepticism, mainly due to a lack of trust, the belief that they need additional training in IT and insufficient market information about DSS. The complexity of the functional features and the design of a graphical interface are obvious problems in the development of decision support systems that would be well received by end users.

The solution it provides

To gain end-user confidence in decision support systems, a generic development suite, DEXiWare, is provided. It facilitates the development, implementation and management of decision support systems through a set of tools, functionalities and resources that help developers in the various phases of decision support system construction and deployment. DEXiWare is designed for the use of qualitative multi-attribute decision models developed with DEX methodology.



A decision support system for sustainability assessment of legume agri-food chains

The problem it addresses

Animal proteins are increasingly being replaced in the diet by plant proteins, mainly from pulses. The sustainable production of pulses is no guarantee of a sustainable diet. Most supply chains are still based on technical, economic and social conditions that do not meet sustainability criteria. The food supply systems for pulses are therefore faced with the problem that they largely use unsustainable practices. Ensuring a sustainable supply chain is therefore a major challenge for the transition to a sustainable society.

The solution it provides

Just as the strength of a chain is determined by the weakest link, the sustainability of supply chains is also determined by the degree of sustainability of its links. Based on environmental, economic and social criteria, Pathfinder assesses the sustainability of the individual links and the chain as a whole. If an individual pillar of sustainability (environmental, economic, social) does not meet the required level of sustainability, the system suggests improvements for the weakest link in the chain. It also offers solutions to improve overall sustainability by proposing corrections to the individual sustainability pillars and consequently to the links in the chain.


A decision support system for optimizing management strategies of tomato production under different stress conditions

The problem it addresses

The tomato is the vegetable with the largest production volume in the world. Tomato production is one of the largest consumers of water. Due to global climate change and the associated increasing scarcity of water, its cultivation, especially on open arable land, is at risk, as this cultivation method is only possible in warm climates.

The solution it provides

Adapting to more demanding growing conditions is possible by introducing new tomato varieties with high water and nutrient efficiency. With the Resource Amplifier, users can first recognise the need to introduce new, more efficient varieties, select the most optimal varieties for a particular field or greenhouse and suggest changes to growing practices. The system also evaluates tomato production in terms of environmental impact and economic efficiency.


A decision support system for assessing and optimizing soil functions

The problem it addresses

The vitality and conservation of soils in Europe are severely reduced in more than two-thirds of its area. The provision of food production and other regulating and supporting ecosystem services by the soil is therefore under threat. This is a major economic, social and environmental problem for Europe. Agriculture and other sectors actively involved with soil are faced with the need to change current soil management practices, which is a major challenge for them.

The solution it provides

Soil vitality and protection can be successfully assessed and monitored based on soil functions (soil nutrients, soil water, food production, greenhouse gas reduction, soil biodiversity). Soil Navigator assesses the extent to which soil functions are fulfilled based on the physical, chemical and biological soil properties and the agronomic measures applied. If we want to improve certain functions, the system suggests soil management measures to achieve this.



A decision support system for the risk management of water pollution by phytochemical products

The problem it addresses

Despite very strict regulations on the use of pesticides, they are still found in water, often in concentrations that exceed the legal limits. The use of pesticides therefore poses an ecological risk to the environment. Fulfilling the requirements for the environmentally compatible use of pesticides without negative effects on the environment is a major challenge for users.

The solution it provides

Based on the soil characteristics, the agrotechnical measures carried out and the hydro-meteorological description of the place where the selected pesticide is to be used, the EVADIF system assesses the level of risk of contamination of surface or groundwater. If the system predicts a risk, it offers the user a series of measures that reduce the risk to an environmentally acceptable level or eliminate it. When selecting the proposed measures, the system takes into account the user’s economic and technical capabilities.

Interested in a


We regularly team up with a range of different professions, including


who want to increase the sustainability in their particular field of work


who are interested in the scientific methods behind decision support systems


who are looking to take long term actions to improve the sustainability of society


Have a project idea for increasing sustainability in a knowledge-driven way?

by sending us an email