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Following on from successful internships by HGF students at the CEMEX Swiss Research Centre, further collaborations and activities are being planned

Following on from successful internships by HGF students at the CEMEX Swiss Research Centre, further collaborations and activities are being planned
Students of the Faculty of Mining and Geology (HGF) at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava can now participate in research at the prestigious research centre of CEMEX Innovation Holding AG in Biel, Switzerland.

The Management of the Faculty would also like to follow on from the highly successful student internships with joint projects, publications and commercial research, especially in the field of construction materials, design of new cement mixtures or concretes. It is our intention to discuss these possibilities with our international partners this spring.

"The cooperation is very prestigious and unique, we are the only Czech university that has received this honour. We greatly appreciate and welcome the fact that our students are involved in research across a range of disciplines. Our partners take great pride in ensuring that their research teams are multi-disciplinary, as this enables them to achieve significant results and be leaders in in the fields of structural engineering and materials research. The opportunity to send our students to CEMEX is a benefit not only for them but also for our Faculty. It helps us to create a breeding ground for doctoral studies here, to find and support suitable candidates and to motivate them for scientific work," said Václav Zubíček, Vice-Dean for Science, Research and International Relations at HGF.

During the year-long internships, students become members of the local research team and participate in a CEMEX research project. As students from universities all over the world are selected for these internships, the students can experience international collaboration and gain contacts for their future scientific careers. The HGF Management signed a contract for the internships in 2019, but due to the covid-19 pandemic, the first one did not take place until two years later. David Semančík, then a first-year student of the Master’s programme in Mineral Resources Mining, was the first Czech to join CEMEX after he succeeded in a demanding selection procedure.

"Working at the CEMEX Research Centre was very interesting. All the research is focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and I am considering the possibility of working in research after my stay there. During my internship I improved my teamwork, time management, English, German and even learned a few Spanish words. I met a lot of great people at work, travelled around Switzerland with them, and we still keep in touch," Semančík described the benefits of the internship.

According to Vice-Dean Zubíček, it was obvious how much the student had changed and grown during his internship. "It has given him confidence, he has improved in foreign languages and can now benefit from his rich experience. As the partners were very satisfied with his performance, we received another offer for an internship. At the moment, another of our students is working there and we are preparing an internship for another candidate to complete online. The example of our first trainee has encouraged others, and the number of applicants is growing. They see that their studies are meaningful, they have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and to address research topics with practical impacts," added Zubíček.

Now the Faculty Management are thinking about how to take the cooperation further. Joint projects, publications and the provision of faculty facilities for commercial research, such as offering local laboratories for materials testing, are being considered. "We will meet with the CEMEX management in spring and would be happy if we could agree on further collaborative activities. We also want to get feedback from our partners, although so far we only have positive feedback," the vice-dean concluded.

The Faculty of Mining and Geology is devoted to complex research, which mainly concerns the exploration for, and the extraction and exploitation of mineral resources with the least possible impact on the environment. This includes research into the use of by-products from mining and the rehabilitation of the landscape after mining activities have ceased.

Text: Martina Šaradínová, PR specialist for R&D
Photo: archive of DS

Created: 19. 1. 2023
Category:  News
Department: 9320 - Science and Research Management and the PhD Academy