Activities and workshops

Through a network of contacts with different types of companies in the industry, we will visit potential workplaces for PhD students, such as mines, smelters, government agencies and analytical laboratories.

During the workshops, a specific theme is considered that is relevant to the  students’ research and business, as well as for their future career. Possible thematic areas are:

  • Research collaboration : Common research interests, available laboratory equipment at Swedish university, exchange of expertise etc.
  • Everyday life as a doctoral student: Scientific publishing, supervision, courses, the scope of the doctoral student’s work, disputation etc.
  • Academic career: The Swedish academic system, research funding, potential collaborations infuture projects etc.
  • Industry career: Development of the labor market incl.equality issues, career opportunities atmining and exploration companies in Sweden and abroad, Career opportunities as a consultant and/or self-employed etc.

Within these potential themes, the doctoral students will have the opportunity to present their research projects as well as courses, equipment and laboratories located at their home university.

Cost of travel and accommodation for all participating doctoral students will be covered by Swedish Mining Innovation.

PhD Student Network in Bergslagen


Our PhD Student Network went on a three day tour around Bergslagen on the theme: Balancing cultural heritage, resource extraction and environmental values in historic mining areas.

Day 1 – The first stop was the R&D Hub for battery and cell development projects, Northvolt, outside Västerås. Thank you to our guides Eduard Marti Bigorra and Nathália Vieceli that walked us through the Revolt Pilot Plant. They broke ground in 2018, online by 2019 and has grown to over 1100 employees from over 85 nationalities. How cool is that! Sala Silvergruva was the next stop and we started with a history lesson with Niklas Ulfvebrand who told us about the historic mine as a modern tourist attraction.

Our guide and Network Manager Nils F Jansson took us down to 60 meters depth and we got to know more about the rich and exciting history of Sala Silvergruva. Erik Lundstam, Alicanto Labs, talked about Restarting the mines – a modern exploration. The visit to Sala ended with Michael Nilsson from Sala kommun talking about preserving and securing the area by reducing pollution in the watercourses of Sala Silvergruva and Pråmån.

Day 2 and a visit to Boliden Garpenberg underground mine – Sweden’s oldest mining area still in operation. Amazingly, Garpenberg has been a mining area since around 400 BC. Now complex ores containing zinc, lead, silver, copper and gold are mined here. Thanks to very successful exploration efforts, the major deposit in Lappberget was discovered at the end of the 1990s, which saved the mine from closure. Instead, it meant Boliden’s second biggest investment project ever could be carried out in Garpenberg in 2014.

The day started with a short introduction and security brief by Johan Olsson followed by two exiting site visits. One group went down to the depth of 1054 meters and the other group got to visit the Processing plant. Boliden Garpenberg had also gathered seven employees to talk about their path into the company, however straight or crooked, their view of the opportunities within the company followed by a Q&A. What a great idea! Thank you to Johan Olsson, Tomas Persson, Linda Sääv, Anders Melén, Thomas Seidl, Antonio Tančak, Marcel Gurdziel & Mikael Lilja.

The day ended with a site visit to the very popular core shed and the old mining chapel. The chapel used to have several functions. Firstly, the miners could hear the word of God before they started work for the day. Secondly, they could clock in for the working day in the building. As late as the 18th century, attendance at the miners’ prayer was mandatory (absence without a valid reason led to a fine).

Day 3 and the last day of the PhD Student Network Workshop tour where 19 PhDs from 5 different universities in Sweden travelled through Bergslagen to learn more about Balancing cultural heritage, resource extraction and environmental values in historic mining areas.

First out was Ronne Hamerslag, Monica Schön and Emma Bäckström from Nordic Iron Ore AB, whose main ambition is to resume mining operations at the previously operational mines Blötberget and Håksberg, and plans to expand to the intermediate Väsman field, which is considered to hold significant potential.

In Ludvika we met Erik Odens from Ludvika kommun who talked about the mining industry being strong in Bergslagen and the enormous growth that Ludvika is experiencing now and Petra Holmlund from AB Samarkand2015, which was founded in 2002 as a regional development company, owned by Ludvika and Smedjebackens municipalities, Dalarna County Council, Hitachi Energy and Ovako. The company’s main mission is to develop the region and to increase the region’s attractiveness.

Before lunch and the end of the tour, Arvid Stiernström, SLU – Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, presented his work on Natural resource extraction and local perspectives on rural development in Sweden.

The network aims to organize two events per year with different themes, in different locations around Sweden or internationally. One of the network’s goals is to be a platform for the PhD students where they not only get an insight into the industry but also for networking, be inspired by and learn from each other, and other opportunities.

Thank you PhDs for joining us on this tour. We look forward to following your future paths and research. A big thanks also to all the guides, speakers and finally to the organizers of the trip, Nils F Jansson and Ervin Veress.

Well-attended event when the PhD student network met in Skellefteå, November 10-11 2022


In november, Swedish Mining Innovation held the event: The High-tech Green Industry Transition in Northern Sweden in Skellefteå where the PhD students could meet at a two-day workshop with lectures from different actors in the mining industry, recruiters and investors. They also had the opportunity to listen to presentations of the fellow student’s research. On the second day they made site visits to relevant actors in the value chain for the mining industry.

Filip Simán, PhD student and assistant network coordinator in PhD student network at Luleå Tekniska Universitetet.

Why is it important to create a platform and enable such meetings where Sweden’s doctoral students have the opportunity for collaboration and discussion on topics related to their own research?
-Lots of reasons! Firstly, it’s fun and creates a sense of community among PhD students that do research along the entire mining value chain. Having this community also allows for the exchange of great ideas, for example many of them are interested in artificial intelligence and face the same challenges; challenges that I believe have common solutions that are discovered during workshops such as those we host. Finally, I believe this network will be beneficial during our future careers when we undoubtedly will have challenges that we cannot solve alone, it is that much easier to pick up the phone and call a friend you met in the PhD student network.

How can you now continue the work with the network and how do you see it develop in the future?
-Of course, we will continue organising workshops such as those held in Skellefteå. Hopefully, we can also expand our network beyond the current 76 members and especially in universities in southern Sweden. I also see the need for an active alumni network so that contacts forged in our network between PhD students may be maintained for future collaborations.

Emmanuel Alofe

One of the participants at the event was Emmanuel Alofe, doctoral student at the department of earth sciences and geophysics at Uppsala Universitetet.

What value does the PhD student network have for you?
-The network has a tremendous value both for researchers and practitioners. Within researchers, it provides a platform to interact based on our research and different perspective. Personally, I enjoyed the feedback from fresh eyes and ears to my research and this gives me a robust approach to research problems.

What do you most look forward to when it comes to this type of event?
-The collaboration between the industry and the academia where you have others listen to your research and then discuss how it fits with standard industrial practices and/or trends. I usually look forward to the integration of these ideas thereby bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Laura Suarez

Another attending member from the network was  doctoral student in Solid Mechanics at Luleå Tekniska Universitetet, Laura Suarez.

Laura, you were a participant for last week’s event in Skellefteå. What does it mean to get the chance to meet other PhD students at an event like this?
-Events like this are very valuable and I appreciate them enormously. I personally believe that networking is very important for the development of new technologies and for research in general. Sometimes, we as researchers, focus too much on our own investigation and tend to forget that there is a world outside of our labs. SMI PhD network has given me the opportunity to get to know more about my field and colleagues and see mining from a broader perspective. Other PhD students with different ideas and points of view… I cannot be in a better environment to increase my knowledge and get more ideas on how to contribute to industry and society. Every time I attend to one of the workshops, I realise that there is a lot of talent working for the same purpose: a more sustainable mining industry.

Did you get any new insights from this two-day workshop?
-Indeed! I always learn something new. Something I love about SMI workshops is that they cover a specific topic and as a whole they become a powerful tool to understand further and be able to reflect on our own research. This two-day workshop gave me a clear insight of the current status of the materials and workforce needed for an adjustment towards a more sustainable future. We are a group of very intelligent and skilled researchers, but we cannot guard down. We need to keep gathering a strong workforce if we want things to change.

Will you go if there are more events like this in the future?
-Yes! Without any doubt! There is always something new to learn and new people to meet. I have learnt to love networking, thanks to SMI!

Do you want to know more about the network and how to join. Click here!

A summary from the PhD student network’s latest workshop in Bergslagen, May 3-5 2022

On May 3, the Swedish Mining Innovation PhD student network visited the historic mining environments at Sala silvermine in Bergslagen. We learned about ongoing efforts in mining, exploration, tourism and remediation in the area, as well as complexity that arises when these activities are conducted historic environments with both cultural heritage and environmental values.

On May 4, the Swedish Mining Innovation PhD student network visited Boliden’s Garpenberg mine, which is both Sweden’s oldest and most modern mining operation. We had tours in the undergrounds workings and processing plant, and presentations in various topics such as process automation and environmental management. We also discussed the importance of Garpenberg to the local commune.

On May 5, the Swedish Mining Innovation PhD student network visited Western Bergslagen the type locality of REE in the Riddarhyttan area, where the Geological Survey of Sweden is currently assessing the resource potential in historic mine waste. We also had a tour at Lovisagruvan; Sweden’s smallest underground mine, and viewed the recently installed ore sorting facility. In the afternoon we had presentations of various topics related to critical element potential in both primary and secondary resources from various experts.


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