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The Nobel Prize analogue worth of $1 million

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The Russian delegation took part in the celebrations dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering within the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. As part of the celebration, the initiative was announced to establish an award, which would be granted annually to two researchers for exceptional scientific achievements or inventions contributing to the further development of the mining industry.

The visit began with a working meeting of Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of Saint-Petersburg Mining University, and Hans-Joachim Welsh, Chairman of the Raw Materials Committee of the Federal Union of German Industry BDI and Managing Director of "ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar”. They discussed the event schedule of the Russian-German Raw Materials Dialogue, which is to be held in Saint-Petersburg at the end of November, and the composition of the event’s participants.

In particular, Mr. Welsh confirmed that Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, and Michael Kretschmer, Minister President of Saxony, will attend the Forum. The dates of the event were also finalised. The youth day organised for post-graduate students and young scientists and researchers will take place on 27 November, whereas the opening ceremony is scheduled for 28 November.

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In his speech at the academic conference ”Carbon-containing coal conversion technologies” dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering, Vladimir Litvinenko mentioned the need of establishing an analogue of the Nobel Prize, which would be awarded to scientists for their research work contributing to the development of the mineral resource sector. The Rector of the Mining University informed the receiving party that preliminary agreements had already been reached with some core businesses willing to become the sponsors of the project and invited German partners to participate in the project as well.

Supposedly, the annually awarded Lomonosov Prize will be given to two representatives of the scientific community. The original initiator of the idea is the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO. One of the researchers will be awarded for remarkable applied research or invention, the results of which have been introduced into production, and the second one will receive the Prize for fundamental research. The two million dollars paid to award winners ($1 million to each recipient) will be gathered through bank interest collected by the foundation, which is to be set up specifically for this purpose.

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During the course of the meeting of Vladimir Litvinenko and Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, Rector of Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, which took place place at the end of the seminar, the parties agreed that German higher educational institution would become the key partner university for the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO. The German side will make a request to the Government of Saxony shortly and, according to expectations, will obtain the required permission from the local authorities before the end of this year.

Up to now, LUT University (Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology) and BNTU (Belarusian National Technical University) have already become the key partners of the Competence Centre. It is expected that in the nearest future another 12 higher education institutions from Germany, Austria and some other countries will sign similar agreements and become key partner universities of the Centre. It is planned that through networking arrangements with partner universities the quality of engineering training will be gradually improved and the best available technologies will be introduced at the enterprises, therefore allowing for increase of the manufacturing efficiency and minimisation of the environmental impact.

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The last item on the agenda of the Russian delegation's visit to Germany was to choose the location where the monument to Mikhail Lomonosov would be installed. In Freiberg, Russian scientist is treated with special respect. There is a House in Freiberg, which was named after Mikhail Lomonosov, since his studies took place there in 1739-1740, at the former venue of the chemical and metallurgical laboratory supervised by Johann Friedrich Genkel, the Councillor of Mines. These days, undergraduate and postgraduate students from St. Petersburg coming to Germany for practical training and internship live in the Lomonosov House. An exhibition dedicated to the times when Russian polymath and scientist stayed in Germany is also carried out within the walls of this building.

The bust of Lomonosov is located only a few blocks away from the House. The complete monument is soon to be erected in one of the oldest German towns, which was founded in 1186 after the largest silver deposit in Europe had been found there.