History of FER

1874: University of Zagreb 

When the University of Zagreb was reorganised in 1874 to become the first modern university in Croatia, it offered only the humanistic trivium of the Faculty of Law, the Theological College and the Faculty of Arts and Letters. However, documents show that in the wake of the momentous scientific discoveries at the end of the 19th century, its reformers had already made provision for the future establishment of faculties of natural sciences, engineering and other related disciplines.

Although the Academy traditionally promoted mainly arts and sciences, a strong technical culture and tradition developed alongside, particularly electrical engineering. Zagreb established its first telegraph connection with Vienna as early as 1850, when, on September 28, the first telegram was sent from Vienna to Zagreb by Josip Jelacic, the Civil Governor of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia; in 1875, a major scientific book was printed in Zagreb: Betriebsstörungen oberirdischer Telegraphen-Leitungen, deren Aufsuchung und Behebung, by Ferdinand Kovačević, a pioneer and the first Croatian designer in the field of telegraphy; the first exchange in Zagreb was set up by Wilim Schwarz in 1886 and the first telephone was introduced in 1887; near the city of Šibenik, on the river Krka, on the beautiful waterfalls of Skradinski buk the hydro-power plant "Krka" was put in operation on 28 August 1895 (power generator 320 kVA, frequency 42 Hz), together with a polyphase transmission system (3 kV transmission line, 11 km long) to supply the city of Šibenik with electrical power - the first system of this kind in Croatia.

1919: Technical College

Zagreb was the cradle of the study of electrical engineering and electro technical sciences in Croatia: the first electric bulbs were described by Bogoslav Šulek in 1880, and the book "On Magnetism and Electricity" by Oton Kučera was published in 1891 by the Cultural Society of Croatia (Matica hrvatska). The Society of Engineers and Architects of Croatia and Slavonia, at their Annual Assembly held on 21 February 1898, proposed to establish a Technical College with an Engineering Department in Zagreb. In 1910, Dr. Juraj Žerjavić, the abbot and parson of Marija Bistrica established by a deed of donation a foundation for the establishment and maintenance of the College of Engineering at the University of Zagreb and a year later, the Civil Governor of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, Dr. Nikola Tomašić, carried out a poll which resulted in the decision to set up a Technical College. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cultural Society of Croatia published quite a number of books dedicated to the application of natural sciences (electrical engineering), under the common title Modern Time Inventions, in which Oton Kučera, Stanko Plivelic and Juraj Božičević dedicated large chapters to electrical generators, motors, electric vehicles, electric energy transmission and accumulators. At that time, the Hon. Marcel Kiepach, Križevčanin, became known by his patents - the use of the dynamo for illumination (Paris, 1911) and an electric device for remote compass indication (London, 1911).

The Technical College was founded by the decree of the State Commissioners' Council on 10 December 1918 and accepted its first students on 1 October 1919.

1926: College of Engineering

Among other departments, the College also had the Department of Electrical Engineering. On 31 March 1926 the Technical College was renamed the College of Engineering. The newly founded College started work on the 1st of April of the same year. In that year, the University Senate awarded an honorary Ph.D. degree to Nikola Tesla (the inventor of several hundred patents in the field of electromagnetism, polyphase alternating current, high-frequency radio and wireless communications). The first radio broadcast station in Croatia and south-eastern Europe was constructed in Zagreb already in 1926 (the first radio broadcast was on 15 May 1926), only 6 years after the beginning of radio-diffusion in America. One of its initiators was young Dr. Josip Lončar, who worked together with Oton Kučera and Miroslav Plohl. In 1927, Josip Lončar published his first book under the title Construction of Receiving Radio Stations, Part 1 (1927) and Part 2 (1929), where he elaborated the field of radiophony, combining scientific discourse with a popular approach and which promoted him as a pioneer of radiophony in Croatia.

In the thirties, the study of electrical engineering was registered under the name of the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and at that time all the fundamental electrical engineering subjects were lectured by Josip Lončar, part-time assistant professor (Elements of Electrical Engineering, Electrical Measurements and Introduction to Radio). All other electrical engineering subjects for obtaining a university degree in engineering were lectured by Miroslav Plohl (High-Voltage Techniques, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Energy, Accumulators). The first steps in laboratory and research work were done in the Department of Electrical Engineering, established in the academic year 1928/1929 and situated in a separately constructed building, behind the central building on nowadays Roosevelt Square. The founder of the Department and its first Head was Miroslav Plohl, who was appointed full professor in the same academic year. When Jure Horvat joined the College of Engineering, the subject Power Engineering was introduced, followed by Electric Energy Production in the academic year 1933/1934, by Transient Processes in Electrical Devices in the academic year 1935/1936 and, for the first time, by Low-Voltage Current (lecturer M. Plohl) in the academic year 1936/1937. After the tragic death of professor Plohl in late 1939, Anton Dolenc took over the duty of part-time lecturer in the subjects High-Voltage Techniques and Theory and Manufacturing of Electric Machines and Transformers.

From the very beginning to the 2nd World War, the whole burden of teaching and scientific work in the field was carried by professors Lončar, Plohl and Horvat. Teaching and research work was organised within the Laboratory of Electrical Measurements founded in 1924, which in the academic year 1936/1937 became the Laboratory of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, and three institutes:

•    Department of Electrical Engineering,
•    Department of High Voltage (founded in the academic year 1934/35),
•    Department of Low-Current Techniques (founded in the academic year 1938/39).

In the Laboratory of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, professor Lončar (in the academic year 1934/1935 appointed assistant professor and in the academic year 1937/1938 full professor), thanks to his extraordinary persistence and interest, collected a considerable number of precise devices and instruments, which helped with scientific work and were also used for laboratory exercises by students. In such an environment, electrical engineers were educated according to world standards and did not lag behind their colleagues in other countries.

Zagreb soon became known by its international events in the field of electrical engineering. In 1930, Professor Lončar was the first to make the reception of television pictures from London possible in Zagreb. In the same year, he wrote about it in the London Television and the Berlin Fernsehen magazines. As the author of the book About Modern Television, published in Zagreb in 1937, professor Lončar is considered a pioneer of television in Croatia. The first TV-broadcast in Zagreb and Croatia took place in 1939, when there were only two TV-stations in Europe: London and Berlin - the first television station in general having been installed in London in 1936. Also, Josip Slišković, a world known designer of radio and TV-receivers, made possible the first test reception of a London television broadcast in Vienna in 1930.

After the 2nd World War, the Council of the College of Engineering (all departments) comprised 14 full and associate professors, among whom Dr. Josip Lončar, also a full professor. Other lecturers were suspended or their appointments were annulled, because they had been appointed during the war. The Section of Electrical Engineering of the Department of Mechanical Engineering was consequently left with only a few lecturers, and everything had to start again from the very beginning at a time when a large number of students entered University and when the need of the country for engineers was rapidly increasing. Lecturers of other departments held general subjects and mechanical engineering subjects for students of electrical engineering. In that period enormous results were achieved in lecturing and scientific work, particularly in the development of electrical and radio industry.

The first electrical engineer graduated in the academic year 1927/1928 and from that time up to the establishment of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in 1956 a total of 750 electrical engineers graduated from the University of Zagreb.

1956: Faculty of Electrical Engineering

By the decision of the Parliament of the People's Republic of Croatia, on 26 April 1956, the former College of Engineering of the University of Zagreb was divided into four new faculties, one of them becoming the

Faculty of Electrical Engineering,
which started its independent existence
on July 1, 1956.

This was the start of the third, modern stage in the development of electrical engineering in Croatia, characterised by a turbulent development in electronics, electrical power engineering, electrical industry plants, automation, communications and computing.

1995: Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering (ETF - Elektrotehnički fakultet, in Croatian) existed under this name until 7 February 1995 when it was renamed the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing.

Under its new name the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER - Fakultet elektrotehnike i računarstva, in Croatian) continued its development with a commitment to the permanent improvement of its curriculum.
The Faculty buildings "A", "B" and "C" at the present location (Unska 3, Zagreb) were completed and Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing equipped in 1963. With the support of the industry and government a new building ("D") was built and inaugurated in 1989 and today the Faculty offers substantial educational and R&D facilities including 35 lecture halls, more than 60 laboratories, Congress centre, teleconference centre, central library and 12 department libraries, student restaurant, sport and recreation facilities on 43308 m2.

The Faculty is organised in 12 departments which represent the focal points of education, research and development in various fields:

  • Department of Applied Physics (established in 1945)
  • Department of Applied Mathematics (1919)
  • Department of Applied Computing (2005)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals and Measurements (1924)
  • Department of Electric Machines, Drives and Automation (1925)
  • Department of Energy and Power Systems (1934)
  • Department of Telecommunications (1951)
  • Department of Electronic Systems and Information Processing (1942)
  • Department of Control and Computer Engineering (1954)
  • Department of Electroacoustics (1954)
  • Department of Electronics, Microelectronics, Computer and Intelligent Systems (1943)
  • Department of Wireless Communications (1954)

Determined to remain a respectable research institution, FER undertakes scientific research at the highest levels of international standing. The Faculty has developed valuable international cooperation with many research institutions around the world, either directly or through inter-university cooperation. The number of international projects in the last two years makes the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing one of the most internationally active institutions in Croatia.