Will Russian students who received a European diploma go to the West?
Four students of St. Petersburg Mining University have defended their Master’s degree theses under the triple diploma program “Modern methods of development of mineral resources.” Now each of them will become the owner of three certificates of higher education at once: from the Freiberg Mining Academy (Germany), the Leoben Mining University (Austria), and their alma mater.
It would seem, why do that? After all, one European diploma is enough to get a job in any country in the European Union. But we are not talking about Russians going to work abroad. Studying abroad for a year for them is primarily an opportunity to get acquainted with the culture of other countries, improve their knowledge and skills, get good language practice, and, as a consequence, a competitive advantage in the domestic labor market.
“I needed foreign experience to implement it in Russia. Now I am planning to go to graduate school at the University of Mines. All the other guys, as far as I know, are also going to stay in the country, at least there was no talk of going abroad,” explained Daria Lysova from the Department of Economics (the topic of her work was “Strategic Management of Innovation in the Coal Industry”).
Of course, the joint project with partners from Austria and Germany is not the only collaboration that the St. Petersburg university created. Its management has concluded agreements on academic exchange, including joint programs of double degrees, short-term internships, and summer schools, with many Russian and foreign educational institutions. Among them are LUT-University of Lappeenranta, BNTU of Minsk, the Chinese University of Mining and Technology, Polytechnic of Madrid, and many others.
However, it is the Triple Diploma Program that should bring the process of integration of higher education institutions in Russia and other countries to a new, higher quality level. After all, it implies a long-term immersion of young people in a new environment of two foreign countries at once.
In the photo: the signing of a cooperation agreement between St. Petersburg Mining University and Leoben University of Mining
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has reduced academic mobility, as well as human mobility in general,” says Vladislav Myakov, another holder of three prestigious diplomas of higher education. “If in Austria, where we lived for six months, we were able to implement all our study plans, then we could not go to Germany - the classes were held on Skype. Of course, German instructors did everything they could - they even showed us a video of descending into a mothballed mine, where we had to go physically. But we are all well aware that such a format can only be an auxiliary tool, but not the basis of engineering education. The monitor screen, with all the advantages that technological progress has brought, will never replace live communication with peers and experienced teachers, nor will it allow us to feel part of the scientific and educational environment. And, even more so, to get acquainted with the production process on the example of specific enterprises, as it was in Austria and as it happens here, in Russia. Nevertheless, we gained invaluable experience and became pioneers, and now, after we finish our lockdowns, other guys will follow in our footsteps. This, of course, will allow them to significantly increase their level of knowledge and skills.
Only the best students of St. Petersburg’s universities are allowed to participate in this project. In order to go abroad, young people should not only demonstrate good academic performance but also be engaged in scientific activities and be fluent in at least one foreign language.
The program directors are both Russian professors, such as Dean of the Faculty of Mines Oleg Kazanin and Head of the Department of Geoecology Maria Pashkevich, and their Western colleagues - Director of the Mining Institute of the Freiberg Mining Academy Karsten Drebenstedt and Vice-Rector for International Affairs of the Leoben Mining University Peter Moser. All of them were members of the international certification committee. The latter two, of course, supervised the defense of the master's theses remotely
What were the works of the applicants for the triple diploma devoted to? For example, Vladislav Myakov’s thesis was about changing the technological process of oil production at the Yaregskoye field in Komi, which is being developed by Lukoil. It's the only place on the map of our country where black gold is extracted not from a well, but by mining methods, like coal. The point is that the viscosity of this substance is about 10 thousand times higher than that of the classical grades, which is why it almost doesn't flow.
At the same time, its properties are unique: it is used for the production of oils, pharmaceutical products, and diesel fuel, capable to retain its qualitative characteristics in conditions of extremely low temperatures, including the Arctic. The demand for this group of products is naturally great, as well as the need for raw materials, which lies in the depths of the Komi Republic.
“In order to extract it, wells are drilled over the deposits, and steam is injected there from the boiler room. The reservoir heats up, the oil becomes less viscous and gradually pours itself into the well. In my opinion, it is much more efficient to install steam generators directly in the well. This will not only save money by minimizing power consumption, but it will also make the development of neighboring areas more profitable, as there will be no need to build a boiler unit if the technological process changes,” said Vladislav Myakov.
His thesis was highly appreciated by all the members of the attestation commission, which was headed by Vladimir Borzenkov, Director-General of the International Center of Competences in Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO. This structure, together with the St. Petersburg Mining University, is the ideologist of the Triple Diploma program.
Very shortly, in addition to students from the St. Petersburg university, it will also involve participants from other Russian higher educational institutions, members of the Nedra consortium. This will happen after the anti-covid restrictions that prevent the progress of academic mobility are lifted.
Note that the theses of two other students who received the international title of Master of Technical Sciences in the field of modern methods of development of mineral resources - Yana Klyachina and Anastasia Stepantsova - were devoted to assessing the effectiveness of the use of biodegradable waste as a component of reclamation mixture, as well as the development of technical measures to normalize working conditions of personnel at enterprises of the mineral resource complex.