Pending the final examinations in higher education institutions, the representative of Grasys took the opportunity to have a closer look at the leading institute’s system of chemical and technological education and human resources development for the Russian chemical industry – Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia (MUCTR).
Thehead of the only membrane technology department in Russia and CIS Kagramanov Georgy Gaikovich gave a detailed summary of the competitive abilities and demand for graduates of technical colleges in the labor market, preparing membrane production specialists for industrial enterprises, training process organization, specifics of scientific and practical work in laboratory and on membrane equipment.
Kagramanov Georgy Gaikovich
Hello Mr. Kagramanov. Please tell us about the history of membrane technology in Russia and the department in particular.
On average, each one of us contains up to 10 million m2 of membranes; that is why each of us should understand how important this field is for the mankind as a whole. The history of membrane technology is interwoven with the history of the department itself. The setup and deployment of the department gave huge impetus to the formation of the membrane industry in our country. The first membranes in the USSR were shaped nearly on the lap of post-graduates and department employees in the Mendeleev University. Now, the department, apart from preparing high-qualification specialists, is continuously engaged in scientific research.
Your goal is the preparation of high-qualification specialists and continuous scientific research. The challenge of finding the matching job place is one of the major problems. What are the employment prospects for graduates?
I can judge by the Mendeleev University students and my department. Our graduates are sought-after across Russia and abroad. This has not changed over time: the narrow specialization and complex training process produce the best graduate pool. Students of our department are mostly employed by large engineering companies. The early 90-s saw the boom of such business projects in Russia originated by graduates of the membrane technology department. Today, they are the leading technologists in a number of large Russian industrial companies.
A series of problems associated with education reforms should have affected the membrane technology department as well. How do you cope with them?
For already a few years we have been aware of imminent changes. After adoption of the state unified final exam, we found it necessary to provide additional student training at the department in the main specialties. Instead of the usual five-year specialty training, we had to adapt to the four-year bachelor degree course. This of course brings about certain problems, first of all, for scientific and practical activities. In the meantime, the laboratory equipment is getting obsolete, especially now, at the time of active progress and against the background of financial constraints. Among those who can lend help are the successful Russian enterprises, which are prepared to voluntarily support the scientific activities of the domestic colleges. Recently, the RPC Grasys specialists have specially developed and donated to our department a commercial membrane hydrogen system, which operates now in one of our three laboratories. We understand that the company invested its money and time in the design and fabrication of the plant for students. This is pure patronage and noble motives embodied in the plant.
Please tell about the specifics of the plant-based practical activities
We have a long standing course «membrane gas separation» with a long obsolete and worn-out plant used for the laboratory activities. In due time (in 1995) it was paid for from the department funds and our modest salaries. At the time, almost no money was allocated for equipment, and the plant was highly expensive. Now due to the new membrane plant out department has the opportunity to carry out both scientific and practical educational activities based on the up-to-date industrial equipment.
Overall, the Grasys plant appeared highly specialized and therefore unique: it almost duplicates the commercial variable-capacity plant for enriched nitrogen production. The consumable material is the ambient air, which simplifies the plant use under the laboratory conditions. Grasys specialists found the optimal solution for practical experiments with the plant illustrating the statements delivered at lectures and workshops
The MUCTR tradition is based on experiment, experiment and once again experiment. This is the foundation of the training process at the department. Each training course is followed by theoretical and practical classes, discussion sessions. Of course theory alone is somewhat abstract. When students themselves see the process of producing one and another gas with a compact apparatus, varying gas concentration in flows and humidity, the material delivered at lectures is assimilated much more efficiently. The specific feature of the experimental approach of our department is the multi-stage work organization. It is merely impossible to perform calculations, carry out comparison with field data, provide a theoretic substantiation of the experiment and defend the results.
The department continuously develops to keep pace with the economic changes in Russia and demonstrates new projects, works and inventions. The modern laboratory equipment affords the students in-depth familiarization with the theory and practice of membrane processes setting a sound and steady foundation for preparation of future highly professional specialists. The sociological study held by the membrane technology department together with the sociology department of MUCTR showed that at the time of the study the percentage of working graduates employed by the country leading enterprises accounted for 43.5%.
RPC Grasys supports higher education and actively engages the best young specialists for development of brand-new solutions, improvement and adaptation of the existing technologies providing the best-quality solutions for industrial enterprises and boosting efficiency of industrial production facilities in Russia.