SPbPU: International Polytechnic Week-2021 brought together more than 100 participants from 20 countries

For over ten years we have been holding the International Polytechnic Week without interruptions. However 2020 was an exception, when a large-scale international forum had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And in 2021, the traditional partnership forum of the Polytechnic University took place again. More than 100 participants from 20 countries — India, China, Sri Lanka, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, France, Germany, Latvia, Bangladesh, Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Austria and many others — have joined the Polytech’s virtual platform online. Among the speakers there were the representatives of SPbPU strategic partners — Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT; Finland), Zhejiang University (China), and Graz University of Technology (TU Graz; Austria).

International Polytechnic Week-2021 was held in the period of May 25-27 being devoted mainly to the topic «Higher Education for Sustainable Development». The program of the Forum included a plenary session, scientific and practical conferences and meetings. St. Petersburg Government, in particular, the Committee for Science and Higher Education, has traditionally supported the events of the Week.

Welcoming the participants, SPbPU Vice-Rector for International Affairs Dmitry ARSENIEV emphasized that the main goal of the forum is to create a platform for discussing best practices with partners around the world in the field of internationalization, education and research cooperation. We are looking forward with great interest to the presentations and cases of our colleagues from France, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries. I hope that in the format of a productive dialogue we will be able to discuss topics that are extremely important all over the world — sustainable development and the universities contribution to the development of the community, project-oriented international education, SPbPU Vice-Rector for International Affairs underlined.

On behalf of St. Petersburg administration, Yury SNISARENKO, representative of the Committee on Science and Higher Education (CSHE), Director of the Coordination Center for International Science and Technical and Educational Programs wished all participants productive discussions and emphasized that the International Polytechnic Week is an important event for the entire city.

The opening ceremony was followed by the session «International Practice-Oriented Educational Projects», moderator Alla MAZINA, Deputy Head of SPbPU International Education Office. At the beginning a coordinator of international cooperation Lana KALIKINA presented a report on the International Student Project Marathon. The marathon is a unique training format based on joint student project activities. Throughout the academic year, students and graduate students from different countries, under the supervision of experts, work on joint projects. Today SPbPU partners are TU Graz, Technical University of Madrid (Spain), University of Cádiz (Spain), TU Berlin (Germany).

The theme of the International Student Project Marathon and joint research was continued by the following group of speakers. Professor of TU Graz Sergio AMANCIO and Deputy Director for International Affairs of SPbPU Institute of Metallurgy, Mechanical Engineering and Transport, Associate Professor Anton NAUMOV presented a case of successful interaction of a research group that started within the frameworks of the Marathon. Scientists are investigating various solid phase welding processes and are currently working on a temperature model for a new RFSSW process for aluminum alloys. The scientific group already has several joint articles in peer-reviewed journals and work on the creation of a joint postgraduate program.

I am very glad to find like-minded people among the scientists of the Polytechnic University, and that our cooperation with the Russian university is developing so intensively. In my opinion, any success begins with the phrase: «Let’s start working!, Professor Sergio AMANCIO commented.

Professor Henrik Johnsen VINDT, Assistant Director for International Relations at the University of Southern Denmark, made a presentation «SDU-RPM — an approach to organize research stay for exchange students». The speaker told about the difficulties that the university staff faced while organizing scientific internships for foreign students — the university did not have a system of how to connect students and teachers, as well as to attract international partners to conduct research. The solution to this problem was the creation of a special information portal through which you can learn about possible areas of research, find a supervisor, find international partners and suggest topics for joint projects.

Iuliia Shnai, project manager of CEPHEI (Cooperative e-learning Platform for Higher Education in Industrial Innovation) from Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, spoke about the achievements of the research group. As part of an international educational project with participation of SPbPU and LUT, an educational platform has been created that unites universities and industrial companies from Russia, Europe and Asia.

The head of the international office of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Dr. Ria SLINGERLAND, told how practice-oriented education is being implemented in the Netherlands giving examples of particular projects of the university.

The report of the Director of the Higher School of Technological Entrepreneurship of SPbPU Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Vladimir SHCHEGOLEV, was dedicated to the Russian-German Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship «Polytech Strasheg». Its mission is to encourage youth entrepreneurial activity, development of multinational project teams and start-ups, creation of an international network of scientific partners in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation management, etc.

At the end of the session, Ksenia STRELETS, Associate Professor of the Higher School of Industrial, Civil and Road Construction of SPbPU Institute of Civil Engineering, made a presentation «WC2 Association — Eco-Campus Project» about student project activities within the international universities network. WC2 Network unites leading universities located in the cities of world importance in order to join efforts to solve the problems of big cities in the field of culture, economics and business, healthcare, ecology and environmental management, transport, logistics and technology. During the pandemic, more than 140 students from all over the world got together in a joint global online project to develop environmental solutions for their university campuses. The defense of design works of international student teams took place on May 25.

On the second day of the International Polytechnic Week 2021, the session «The Role of Universities in Sustainable Development» was held, as well as a series of parallel meetings of the International Office staff with foreign participants of the Forum. The session began with welcoming words from the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 2nd Secretary of the Department of International Organizations, coordinator of educational programs of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO Ksenia GAVERDOVSKAYA. Ms. GAVERDOVSKAYA spoke about the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education, which was adopted during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris. Today in Russia there are 67 UNESCO Chairs, one of them is located at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and is dedicated to education quality management for sustainable development. This topic is very relevant and highly important, providing for the development of unique projects. I wish all the participants of the International Polytechnic Week interesting work, good health and long-term fruitful cooperation, Ksenia GAVERDOVSKAYA noted.

A series of reports of the session began with a welcoming speech by the Head of SPbPU International Academic Cooperation Department Ekaterina BELYAEVSKAYA and Deputy Head of SPbPU International Education Office Alla MAZINA «Polytech: Advanced Research and Education for Sustainable Development». The presentation provided a general overview of the experience and achievements of the Polytechnic University in the implementation of international research and educational projects in the context of the UN Goals — clean energy, Arctic technologies, urban studies, engineering economics, online education and green technologies. The following speaker — Ekaterina NOVIKOVA, Director of Cooperation with Russia at LUT—University (Finland) — presented the development strategy of Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology as a platform for sustainable development of Finnish society. Representative of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), Associate Professor Elena de la POZA spoke about the activities of the university in promoting sustainable development in the field of higher education. Dr. AI Ni from Zhejiang University (China) presented the report ” Development of the Zhejiang University sustainable action plan«, outlining the mission and goals of China’s leading university. The speech of Professor Rangika HALWATURA from the University of Maratuwa (Sri Lanka) was devoted to the role of international cooperation in the formation of sustainable development. Professor Frederic MARIAS from the University of Pau (France) presented the report «Dynamic optimization for operating multi-renewable energy platforms». The finalizing presentation was made by Professor Stephanie MITTRACH, Director of the Green Office of Leibniz University Hannover (Germany) on the role of universities in sustainable development.

The International Polytechnic Week program continued with a series of parallel meetings. The representatives of SPbPU International Office and international offices of foreign universities took part in the meetings. On May 26, a specialized International Seminar on Textile Applications was held. The seminar was organized in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen (Germany).

An international seminar on Arctic materials was held on the final day. Partners within the framework of the ENI CBC international project «Energy-efficient systems based on renewable energy for Arctic conditions (EFREA)» and the project «Digital technologies for the creation of Arctic energy facilities using new generation adapted materials», which is being implemented at SPbPU within the framework of the WCRC program.

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