Bridging global talents
As part of the “Bridging Global Talents Worldwide” initiative, doctoral students from leading institutions around the world are visiting Poland to share their expertise and discover what is being done in their field at the Cracow University of Technology (CUT).
In synergy with the CUT, the Bridge Foundation tapped into its global network to identify top students specialized in very specific and cutting-edge research on innovative materials, energy efficiency and nanotechnologies for water filtration to name a few. These extraordinary meetings of minds are made possible through support from the PROM International Scholarship Exchange program (NAWA) of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange and co-financed by the European Social Fund.
A PhD student at McGill University in Montreal, Sara Imbriglio conducts research on advanced metal-ceramic combinations created by the “cold-spray” industrial process. “By spraying micron-sized particles of metal and ceramic we can produce a thin coating on industrial parts that dramatically increases their durability. Reduced wear and tear means better longevity and reduced parts-failure. These are fantastic features in difficult environments and remote locations where durability and reliability are critical. Space exploration is a great example but applications in the automotive and power generation sectors abound as well” she adds.
Miss Imbriglio was in Poland to visit the Cracow University of Technology and present her work to a local team of researchers. “We are very interested in learning about the leading research and knowledge for cold spray as we are now acquiring this technology to conduct such studies in our own laboratories. Miss Imbriglio’s knowledge is of great value and we look forward to developing a longer cooperation with her and with McGill University” explained CUT Professor and program coordinator Marek Hebda.
Miss Imbriglio also had a rich exchange on applications for space exploration with Bartosz Postulka founder of the AGH Space Systems society at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The society achieved world recognition by winning the NASA Cansat Competition and Global Space Balloon Challenge. Mr. Postulka has an admiration for the Canadian Space program and the famous robotic “CanadaArm” that was used on over 90 space shuttle and International Space Station missions. “I see great potential for cold-spray to be used for repairs in space where 3D printing of replacement parts is not always optimal” he commented.
In turn, Kai Streicher and Alejandro Pena Bello are conducting their PhD research at the Chair of Energy Efficiency of the University of Geneva in Switzerland under the supervision of Professor Martin Patel. Mr. Stretcher is studying the energy efficiency potential in the existing stock of 1.7 million buildings in Switzerland and was impressed by the technologies, geo/bio-polymer materials and passive-house technologies developed at the CUT. For him “these solutions can greatly reduce the energy needed for new structures but also insulate existing buildings and decrease energy demand. With 23% of energy used to heat the residential sector there is a great potential to replace individual furnaces with district heating networks and energy-efficient heat-pumps. Such solutions will improve air quality which seems to be a priority for residents here” he added.
Energy storage and battery technology is the focus of Mr. Pena Bello’s work. For him, technology offers tremendous possibilities to propel Poland in its transition to a clean and renewable energy grid. “This will help industrial, commercial and individual household users lower their power bills. It will also benefit energy utilities by better matching energy supply and demand which will make the grid more resilient”. For Mr. Pena Bello the clean energy revolution is already here with costs of solar and wind energy comparing favorably with carbon energy sources. “Battery systems will soon be economically competitive and play a key role in the energy system. Within a decade we will have cheap and clean energy available on demand thanks to batteries”. For him, batteries are the future of energy systems and this future is now within reach.
“This project not only brings leading experts to Poland to share their knowledge, it is also a great opportunity to promote Poland, the Cracow University of Technology and Polish science on the international stage. I sincerely hope that this will enable long-term scientific cooperation with these great minds and the distinguished institutions like McGill University and the University of Geneva that they represent” commented Prof. Hebda.
“Poland is rapidly becoming a hub for research and innovation. Our guests saw this first-hand when touring the ABB Cracow Research Center where technologies for smart-buildings, to manage the energy grid and the ultra-rapid battery charging for the electric buses used in Montreal and Geneva have been developed” commented Bridge Foundation Founder Adam Koniuszewski, FCPA, FCA, CFA.
Erasmus Student Network (ESN Poland) representatives and its branch at CUT (ESN PK Cracow), experts in mobility, helped make the visits memorable by providing a warm welcome and helping participants discover the historical and cultural wonders of Poland. “We will now be hosting PhD students from Mexico, Estonia, Ethiopia and two additional students from Quebec, from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) and Concordia University in Montréal. As a Concordia University graduate this makes me very happy and proud” added Adam Koniuszewski.
“International collaboration in science is absolutely essential and one of our key priorities in Quebec. Such cooperation platforms and partnerships increase the impact of research pursued by our scientists and graduate students. It also leads to new friendships and goodwill networks that improve science diplomacy globally. Congratulations to all for your great initiative!” Rémi Quirion, Québec Chief Scientist
“The Cracow University of Technology is keen to develop scientific cooperation and exchange in Poland and beyond with young doctoral students. They represent a rich potential for technological development and bring a fresh look at the inter-disciplinary nature of scientific progress combined with care for the natural environment.” Prof. dr hab. inż. Jan Kazior, Rector, Cracow University of Technology
“This visit of two PhD students from the University of Geneva to Poland is most opportune as Research and Innovation are key topics for 2019, year which marks 100 years of Polish-Swiss diplomatic relations. I am glad that their expertise in energy efficiency and storage will help develop cooperation around climate, education, research, innovation in these priority areas for both countries.” Mr Jürg Burri, Swiss Ambassador to Poland
“Universities must be open to the world in order to exchange ideas and develop mutually beneficial collaborations. Such international cooperation helps to prepare our students for their future tasks in a globalised world and gives researchers the opportunity to work together with their international colleagues to develop solutions to the global challenges we face. Congratulations on this great project.” Prof. Yves Flückiger, Recteur, Université de Genève
New Eastern Europe is a media partner of the Bridging Global Talents Worldwide initiative