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Mining University Raising Future Scientific Elite

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Young scientists who entered St. Petersburg Mining University’s postgraduate school this year began their studies with a two-week scientific and educational course called "Basic Competencies of a Graduate Student. Forpost decided to find out what its idea is and how it will affect the quality of promising research.

The main part of the course takes place on the basis of the scientific and educational centre located in the village of Solnechnoye. This site has been in operation since 2011, but now, after the reconstruction, its functionality has become much wider. Dormitories designed for the comfortable accommodation of 114 people were built here, and all the necessary infrastructure was created both for training and familiarization practices and for leisure activities. In particular, there is a canteen and a gym.

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In the congress hall of the Harmony International Academic Center, which looks more like a conference room of a five-star hotel, classes are held for graduate students as part of a program of additional professional competencies. Among the topics: development of fuel and energy and mineral resource complexes on the basis of digital technologies, basics of publication activities, patenting and protection of intellectual property, organization of scientific works on preparation of dissertations for the degree of Candidate of Sciences. That is, young people are introduced to a new environment for them, motivated to active research work, explained what tasks they face, given that postgraduate school is not the next step in their education, but the initial stage of becoming a scientist.

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“The main task of graduate students is to defend a thesis, which is a solution to a specific engineering problem related to progress in a particular scientific direction,” explained Marat Rudakov, Vice-Rector for Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies at Mining University. “To solve it, first of all, they need to get a basic set of competencies necessary for successful scientific work and become part of the scientific and educational environment created at the university. These are exactly the goals of our course. Also, during the course students have to choose one of the 120 areas proposed as a topic for their Ph.D. thesis and create an individual schedule to work on it.”

According to the postgraduate students themselves, the basic competencies course not only motivates them to engage in scientific research but is also a powerful impetus that allows them to intensify their scientific work. This is extremely important today because today’s young people do not have as much time to “bounce back” as their peers did a few decades ago. The pendulum of progress moves faster and faster, and therefore business expectations from the research activities of scientists are getting higher and higher.

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“The intensive course we are participating in is a great experience. Here, at the base in Solnechnoye, the most comfortable environment has been created for us. This will help us get into work right away, ‘without any slippage’. The sphere of my scientific interests is oil production technology at the Yaregskoye oil field. This is the only place in Russia where oil is extracted by the shaft method because it is extra-viscous. I am sure that my admission to the University’s postgraduate program will enable me to continue my research,” shared his plans Vladislav Myakov.

Young scientists who graduated from other universities also apply for postgraduate study at Mining University. Thus, postgraduate Milana Kryukova graduated from St. Petersburg University of Railway Transport, her scientific interests concern the study of aero-gas-dynamic processes that take place in the subway tunnel during its entire life cycle.

“I graduated with honors and chose Mining University because here there is a completely different level of education and different infrastructural opportunities that allow me to do science as effectively as possible. A lot of attention is also paid to studying a foreign language, and the best graduate students get a chance to defend their Ph.D. in Austria or Germany. This can be very important for a successful career in the future," said Milana.

Among the postgraduate students, there are also foreigners. For example, Tatiana Astapenko graduated from the Belarusian National Technical University. She visited Mining University for the first time in 2019 when she took part in the International Forum Competition of Young Scientists “Topical Issues of Subsoil Use.” in the 18 years of its existence, this platform has become a career springboard for many talented students.

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“I chose Mining University because it is one of the best universities in the world that trains specialists for the mineral sector. This year, as in 2019, I spoke at the Topical Issues of Subsoil Use Forum, where I presented a report on the topic of reducing the technogenic load on the environment when storing potash waste. The report was highly praised by the jury of experts and I was awarded a prize in the geoecology and sustainable development section. My dissertation will be based on the theme of my report, and the research object will be Belaruskali Company. The work is aimed at creating new technologies that will minimize the impact of potash production on the environmental situation in mining areas,” says Tatiana Astapenko.

Postgraduate students of the oldest technical school of Russia are also interested in philological metamorphoses connected with the mineral and raw materials complex. After graduating from St. Petersburg State University Vera Cherentsova decided to go to the department of Russian language and literature at Mining University:

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“Mining University is known for its serious attitude to the development of scientific and material-technical base, constantly upgrading it. The topic of my dissertation is ‘Connotation of the lexeme 'oil' in publicist discourse’. Connotation is additional meanings, which are not included in the dictionary definitions but are known to everyone. For example, the term ‘oil’ has the connotation ‘commodity.’ It is interesting to see how it has changed over the past 70-100 years."

One of the goals of the Basic Graduate Competencies science course is to familiarize young scientists who have come to Mining University from other institutions of higher education with the university’s infrastructure facilities. Therefore, next week they will go to St. Petersburg, where they will be introduced to the university’s flagship laboratories and research centers that deal with the processing of mineral and technogenic resources, improving technologies used in the Far North, reducing the technogenic load on ecosystems and several others.

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