Karst is a landmark of Slovenia. Almost half of the country is karstic, with about 8,000 registered caves. More than half of the population is supplied by karst waters. The international term karst is derived from the name of the Slovenian region Kras, an area also regarded as the cradle of the scientific discipline karstology. This has become a complex multidisciplinary science, covering a wide range of earth sciences related to karst.
A long tradition of excellent research and a unique position at the heart of classical karst have established the Karst Research institute as one of the most recognised karstological centres in the world.
The institute hosts a karstological library, one of the most complete of its kind, a laboratory specialising in water chemistry, a geological laboratory, and a lecture room with modern presentation equipment. Some of the recent research projects undertaken at the institute deal with the sustainability of water resources, the overlappings of natural and cultural heritage, the protection of drinking water resources, the climatic systems in karst caves, and so on.
The institute has a book series called Carsologica and has published a journal titled Acta carsologica. The series includes titles from various fields of karst research including (but not limited to) karst geology, hydrology, geomorphology, the history of the karst science biospeleology, engineering in karst, and development challenges in karst regions.