Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue. Day Zero
One of the main advantages of meetings held in the forum format is in the opportunity to establish real contacts between the scientific and business communities of two countries, achieved by switching from exchange of opinions and theoretical discussions to more practical concerns.
This year, the Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue was held at the premises of Saint-Petersburg Mining University. Day Zero started with a business case competition, in which around a hundred young scientists and researchers from Russian and British higher education institutions took part.
The Embassy of the United Kingdom in Russia provided representatives of eight British universities - including the Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen and Portsmouth, Imperial College London and some others - with grants covering their trip to Saint-Petersburg. The participation of Russian delegates was financed by the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO.
In his speech to the forum participants, Igor Sergeyev, Vice Rector for Training Scientific Personnel and Programs at the Mining University, declared ”Despite that we live in different countries, we have a common interest in sustainable development of our states, companies, societies. These are prerequisites which determine the need for our cooperation in such areas as education, science, manufacturing. Therefore, when politicians have a clash of interests, these contacts we have here - informal channels of international communication - become of specific importance and relevance.”
Vice Rector noticed that the Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue aims to contribute to commitments proclaimed by the UN on sustainable development - in particular, through increased access to high quality education and affordable, reliable and modern energy sources. Obviously, consolidation of efforts and strive for partnership are strongly required to put those ideas into practice.
Russian post-graduate students and young researchers, who came from as many as 17 universities providing mining education, noted that their participation in the Dialogue was not limited to solving business cases and problems faced by the extractive and processing industries. They also attended numerous panel discussions and talked to the heads of leading mining and mineral companies and enterprises - notably, Natalia Gonchar, Vice President at RCC (Russian Copper Company), Chris Broadbent, Research Director at Wardell Armstrong, top executives of Polymetal, IOM3, and some other organisations and research institutions.
Russian young researchers were in particular interested in modern trends in manufacturing of power generating units and drilling rigs, compressor equipment, as well as energy efficiency and minimisation of environmental damage. One clear advantage of the event, according to Russian scientists, is an opportunity to establish professional contacts between business and science representatives.
As for British colleagues, they held numerous presentations of their scientific projects. For example, researchers of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Surrey, located in Guildford, made a presentation of their research in the field of early prediction of cracks in composite materials through digital image correlation. Representatives of Imperial College London gave a presentation on the degree of impact of nanoporosity on behavior of hydrocarbon-bearing fluids. The study was carried out by using methods of molecular simulation.