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What Could Be the Use of UNESCO Summer Schools for an Engineering Student?

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Digitalisation has become one of the main drivers for global economic growth. Experts of McKinsey & Company forecast that by 2025 up to 22% of China's GDP growth will come from Internet-based technologies. In the USA, digital transformation is expected to raise the added value from $1.6 trillion to $2.2 trillion during 2020-2025, which constitutes half of the entire budget of the United States.

Digital Economy as a Factor in the Technological Development of the Mineral Sector

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If quoting or using this article by any other means, a link back to it must be included. A credit to the author and original publication must be provided as well, by adding the following reference: Litvinenko V. S. Digital Economy as a Factor in the Technological Development of the Mineral Sector/Natural Resources Research, №28, Т 28, 2019. С 1-21. Abstract If quoting or using this article by any other means, a link back to it must be included. A credit to the author and original publication must be provided as well, by adding the following reference: Litvinenko V. S. Digital Economy as a Factor in the Technological Development of the Mineral Sector/Natural Resources Research, №28, Т 28, 2019. С 1-21. Saint-Petersburg Mining University, Saint Petersburg, Russia V. S. Litvinenko Abstract This article describes the impact of the global digital economy on the technological development of the mineral sector in the world. Due to the different specifics of the legislative bases of the investigated regions, such as the USA, China, EU, and Africa, the development of digital transformation is presented on the example of the Russian Federation in the context of world trends. The article presents an analysis of the possibilities of using straight-through digital technology in prospecting, design, development, and use of mineral resources. It describes a structure promoting the development of applied digital technology through research–education centers and international competence centers. This structure would allow forming the new competencies for personnel working in the digital economy. The underfunding of the information and computing infrastructure could be a significant challenge to the digital transformation of the economy. Creating the conditions for a reliable and secure process of generating, storing, and using data is the basis for protection from the cybersecurity hazard that could act as a brake on technology advancement. This article discusses the organizational and technological priorities of the development of the mineral resource sector on the example of the Russian Federation. The challenges for the mineral resource complex resulting from global changes can be taken on through technological changes of the industry. The article gives a thorough description of issues related to technological developments in the raw materials sector, oil refining industry, development of integrated and advanced mineral processing systems, and the use of household and industrial wastes. The research presents basic technology contributing to sustainable development, starting from exploration and production forecasting and up to sustainable planning and distribution of material and energy resources based on real-time data. It also pays special attention to the possibilities of creating digital platforms for the mineral sector. Digital integration, combining research areas, personnel, processes, users, and data will create conditions for scientific and technological achievements and breakthroughs, providing scientific and economic developments in related industries and, above all, in the global mineral and raw materials market..

As Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Management Board at Gazprom Neft, explains "Information technologies have significantly changed the modern production industry, and digital transformation provides companies that have undergone it with evident competitive advantages. For us, and Gazprom Neft in particular, digitalisation is a tool we can use to improve performance and finance indicators. Through investing in high-tech production management solutions, our company creates new standards of industrial and environmental safety that will affect the development of the Russian oil industry as a whole".

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / GazpromNeft-Huntos
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There is, however, a problem - lack of highly-skilled engineers who know how to manage digital technologies and who can work at the intersection of different sciences. This situation is not only relevant to Russia; it can be observed in almost all countries dependent to some extent on the extraction of mineral resources, including Canada, Norway, or Australia.

According to Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of Saint-Petersburg Mining University, "We will probably see more and more technological processes carried out remotely in the coming years. Operators who administer driverless dump trucks, excavators or robots will be working in their offices, probably hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from the machines. Therefore, we are already seeing a growing demand for employees who understand the specifics of manufacturing processes and their economics. They should also have a good command of English so that they could read industry-specific literature, freely communicate with colleagues from abroad and share their experiences. In addition, they also need skills in digital analytics. To conclude, it is an entire set of various competencies, which today's engineers need to have. Software engineering skills are, thus, would not be enough for a future employee to succeed".

летние школы
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Павел Долганов

The International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO was established within the Mining University. One of the Centre's tasks is to help undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as acting engineers, to learn about the newest technologies applied in the mineral resources sector. For this purpose, specialists of the Centre developed numerous short-term programmes that are aimed at improving participants' competencies. These programmes take the form of summer schools, and their participants coming from all over the world gain unique knowledge and experience by learning how to use digital technologies in modern organisations.

Short-Term Programmes

Vladimir Borzenkov, Vice-Rector for Cooperation with UNESCO and the Director-General of the Competence Centre, "The main site where these courses are held is the Mining University. Our guests have access to everything they might need in their studies - educational and research centres, field sites, all sort of infrastructure and facilities. I would particularly mention a unique drill site and oil & gas facilities in Sablino, the Centre for Digital Technology established by the Mining University in cooperation with Schneider Electric, Caterpillar's complex for training in managing mining and conveyor equipment, and other laboratory facilities. We also provide programme participants with regular workshops and field trips when they visit our partners' facilities - among these companies are Gazprom, Siemens, Shell, BP, Total, and others".

Short-term programmes at St. Petersburg Mining University are quite trendy. Last year's participants came from different countries and institutions - for example, the Lanzhou University of Technology in China, the Lebanese International University, the University of Bologna in Italy, and also such companies as China Petroleum Engineering and Mude Mabone (Uganda). Students paid particular attention to the fact that information nowadays becomes quickly obsolete, deriving from the acceleration of technological progress. Consecutively, employers raise their standards and require prospective employees to be highly-skilled. Answering the question why they chose to study at the Mining University, school participants said they were motivated by high-quality infrastructure and facilities in possession of the university, its pool of worthy partners, and highly-professional teaching staff.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Страны-участники проекта

As Vladimir Borzenkov notes, "In 2018, we received over 200 applications. A year later, we had 450 applicants. Our short-term course participants came from as much as 17 countries. Even now, despite the coronavirus pandemic, we have received more than 100 requests in the first two weeks since the registration was opened. Prospective applicants are, for instance, from Australia, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Iraq, Iran, and other countries".

Last year, the most popular programmes were "Geodetic Engineering: Theory and Practice", "Mineral Raw Material Processing", and "Offshore Field Development". All these programmes will take place this summer as well. And in addition to them, new courses have also been developed: "Environmental Challenges of Megacities", "Automation and Modeling in the Era of Digital Transformations", "Rare and Rare-Earth Metals Raw Materials and Production Technologies", and a few others. Altogether, the International Competence Centre will launch 65 short-term programmes.

Development of oil and gas service as organizational form of entrepreneurship in post-industrial economy

Studies are conducted in English only. Students are accommodated in comfortable hotel-type dormitories of the Mining University already equipped with everything necessary, such as computer classrooms, canteens, cafeterias, gym, etc. The selection process has a form of a grant competition and is carried out by the Competence Centre.

New season of summer schools starts on 01.06.2020. Full list of programmes can be found here.