Young scientists from all over Russia came to St. Petersburg on Cosmonautics Day
Welcoming telegrams to the “future Lomonosovs and Mendeleyevs” were sent by the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, and Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko.
On Monday, April 12 the XIX All-Russian Conference-Contest of Young Scientists “Topical Problems of Subsoil Use” kicked off at St. Petersburg Mining University. Despite the pandemic, the conference gathered a record number of participants - over a thousand undergraduate and graduate students from 80 institutions of higher learning. Most of them are members of the “Nedra” consortium, which already unites more than seventy domestic engineering universities.
Like in previous years, the future oilmen, geologists, ecologists, representatives of other branches of study will present the results of their scientific researches to the expert jury of distinguished scientists and practitioners. Winners of each nomination will get the right to participate in the final, international stage of the competition, and the rest will gain invaluable experience, which will definitely be useful for them in the future.
In addition to the competitive program for young talents, there will be technological tours of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, familiarization with the infrastructure of Mining University, as well as lectures by representatives of the professional community. In particular, Vladimir Tolkachev, Head of GEOTECH Seismic Exploration Company, Roman Samsonov, Vice President of the Russian Gas Society, Sergey Serdyukov, expert of the Federation Council, ex-technical director of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, and many other specialists.
Rector of Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko opened the conference. He mentioned that such meetings, which imply personal contacts, enable not only to exchange experience but also to get acquainted with current trends in scientific progress, higher education system, oil-gas and mining industry, legislation regulating their activities.
“Exactly 60 years ago our country received a new powerful impetus for the development of science and technology,” Vladimir Litvinenko emphasized. The first manned space flight not only proved the superiority of Soviet scientists but also provoked a real boom of interest in engineering education and scientific research in society. This allowed us to form the richest resource base and involve it in the development, which became the foundation of socio-economic growth and is the same today.
Today one of the priority tasks facing the state and universities is to revive the former prestige of the professions of scientist and engineer. After all, oil and gas and mining companies have long turned into high-tech, science-intensive industries. At the same time, they experience a serious shortage of competent personnel and need, especially after the introduction of Western sanctions, innovations that can increase the profitability of enterprises and minimize the impact on the environment.
“A modern technical university is, above all, teamwork, interdisciplinary research, which should also involve the humanities," continued the rector of Mining University. “After all, in order to fully evaluate the effect of the construction of petrochemical or any other enterprise, the opinion of the local population must be taken into account. To create such a conjuncture, you need an atmosphere of trust, full-time employees who are motivated to do research and pass on their knowledge to young people, and a modern laboratory base that allows conducting scientific experiments. A real university must form the ideology of the development of specialized sectors of the economy, and its staff must be aware of modern trends. This is the only way to ensure the innovative development of the mineral resource complex and to create a personnel reserve for it. And this industry, along with the intellectual potential, is the pillar of our economy.
All experts who spoke at the opening ceremony of the contest forum declared that hydrocarbons will remain the basis of the world economy for many decades to come since renewable sources are simply not capable of replacing them at the current level of technological development. By the way, the heads of the flagship energy corporations are of the same opinion.
For example, the head of LUKOIL Vagit Alekperov, who met with Vladimir Putin three days ago and told him about the company’s new projects, has repeatedly expressed concern about the fact that “a huge number of wells are mothballed in the world and there is a sharp decline in investment activity in the industry.”
In the long run, this may lead to a deficit of raw materials on the market, a sharp rise in its cost, and supply disruptions. This is why, according to Vladimir Litvinenko, “it is very important to identify the most talented youth at the expense of such contests.” After all, it is they who will have to move forward a cornerstone sector for the global economy, which today, paradoxically enough, does not function in the most favorable conditions for itself.
The importance of the conference “Topical Problems of Subsoil Use” is also noted by the leaders of the state. Valentina Matvienko sent a congratulatory telegram to the participants, which was read by Andrey Kutepov, Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the Federation Council.
“For many years on the platform of St. Petersburg Mining University the future scientists, engineers, heads of the companies, which have to develop one of the most strategically important and perspective branches of the Russian economy, have gathered. The key feature of the forum is the possibility for young researchers to present their initiatives to the qualified experts, the leading scientists and practitioners and get their support for the successful realization of the future projects,” Valentina Matvienko wrote.
Andrey Maksimov, the chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for science and higher school, emphasized that participation in the contest is “a serious starting position for young scientists and an opportunity to increase their value in the labor market.”
“We have had a very difficult year. And I remember now that last spring this conference was held in a virtual format due to the current sanitary and epidemiological situation. Such a large-scale event was organized online for the first time. It was the miners who did it, and that is no accident. After all, a mining engineer always goes first,” said Andrei Maksimov.
The conference, which is organized by the International Center for Competence in Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, will be held for five days. The first two days will be devoted to meetings with experts, discussions, technical tours, and familiarization with the infrastructure of Mining University. In addition, the historical building of the university will host a case championship on the sphere of “Human Capital of a Smart City.” The competition will begin on Wednesday, April 14, and the results will be announced on Friday.