Trained as an engineer he started his professional career as a research assistant at the Department of Archaeology, University of Ljubljana. In 1994 he was employed as the Head of the Spatial Information Centre of the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Associate Professor at the Department of Geodesy. From 1990 till 2000 he was a research fellow or visiting professor at the University of Arkansas, the Delft University of Technology, the University of Reading, the Boston University, the University of Trieste and the University of Paris. Zoran Stančič has published seven scientific books and a number of scientific papers on quantitative methods in archaeology and remote sensing.
During 1999 – 2000 he was Deputy Director of the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
From the year 2000 to 2004 he was State Secretary for Science at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport in Slovenia.
In the period 2004 – 2009 he served as Deputy Director-General in the European Commission, DG Research.