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 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.
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.
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!
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