New Institute of Materials Science and Advanced Technology: Important Questions and Answers

Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute will now have a new institute. It is being created on the basis of two faculties: engineering-physical and welding. In addition, the new institute will include the Department of Laser Engineering and Physical and Technical Technologies, which is now part of the Mechanical Engineering Institute.

The most important questions about the creation of the new structure were answered by the First Vice-Rector of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Politechnic Institute Yuriy Yakimenko, Vice-Rector for Scientific Work Vitaliy Pasichnyk, Dean of the IFF Petro Loboda and Dean of the ZF Sergiy Fomichov.

Why did you decide to create a new institute?

Scientists in the fields of materials science and welding are facing new challenges.  Today, the process of creating new materials is closely linked to the manufacture of structures. New materials require the latest welding technologies: laser, plasma, electron beam and hybrid based on them.  Therefore, the boundary between the two branches becomes almost imperceptible, and the merging of the two faculties into a new institute will open up great opportunities both in the training of specialists and in scientific development.

Yuriy Yakymenko: Strategy of development of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Politechnic Institute is built on providing a traditionally high level of basic training while introducing new trends and educational programs that meet modern advanced technologies and market requirements. This also requires improving the structure of the university's divisions. In particular, the Institute of Aerospace Technologies was established, a number of departments were reorganised, and the latest decision of the Academic Council on the initiative of the faculties of engineering, physics and welding created a new Institute of Materials Science and Advanced Technologies this year.

Vitaliy Pasichnyk: The world is changing very fast, technologies are changing rapidly.  The fourth industrial revolution is on the horizon and it is related to the significant revolutionary changes that take place in production processes. Our structure still complied with Soviet standards. There is now a global trend towards the integration and sophistication of technology (Advanced Technology) and it requires the efforts of professionals in various industries. The combination of IFF, ZF and LTFTT just meets today's challenges.  It is necessary to create industrial technologies on the basis of new materials and to introduce them into the real sector of the economy. It is important to emphasize that the decision to set up the institute was taken by the participants themselves (faculties, departments).

What are the benefits of the new structure?

The new institute significantly expands the perspectives for both faculty and students, in particular, the implementation of major strategic scientific and educational projects at national and international levels, reducing the process of obtaining an innovative competitive product. Students, young scientists, teachers will have more opportunities for self-realisation, i.e. with shared use of the laboratory base, which will also expand.

Vitaliy Pasichnyk: The model of the new institute brings us closer to leading foreign educational establishments, where the educational process is based on scientific research conducted at the institution of higher education.  Such model allows to produce more competent and qualitative specialists.

Peter Loboda: Life requires us to unite.  Someone will be responsible for welding, some for material science, some for interaction. In this case, our result, our product will have no competitors. Today, the manufacturer needs a specialist who would have the most extensive knowledge in the field of metallurgy, materials science, welding, the latest methods of materials processing - laser, electron beam and the like. All these technologies are used in mechanical engineering, aircraft engineering, even in medicine. The new institute will train just such a specialist.  We will have a balanced curriculum.  Material scientists will know more about what will happen in welding, and vice versa - welders will know the properties of the material.

Sergiy Fomichov: The key word is development. We have new opportunities. Welding processes are very complex, but this is part of the overall life cycle of materials. We can now create whatever material we need. The Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Politechnic Institute there are unique, world-class science schools for creating these materials. And then our welding technologies are already included. And in the field of welding Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Politechnic Institute scientific schools are also world-class, founded by E.O. Paton.  This is how we cover the whole life cycle: creation of new material → processing and providing the required material properties → production of construction → monitoring and quality assurance of technological processes → monitoring of technical condition and ensuring trouble-free operation until the recycling of the structure ..

Will the approaches to financing the new structure change?

Today, public funding is tied to the number of students in the departments. As this indicator does not change overall, the change in the state funds item will not happen. At the same time, according to the expansion of scientific and research potential, after the unification of the faculties and the creation of a new institute, financial possibilities will also increase.

Vitaliy Pasichnyk: Financing of scientific-pedagogical staff comes from several sources, the main one - for teaching activity, which is still tied to the number of students to this day. Research is funded separately. And here we have huge reserves to increase this component. Scientists should not only rely on funding for student preparation, but actively cooperate with the economic sector, with industrial enterprises, and prove the need to invest in research. If you take the leading universities in the world, they earn more money through scientific, innovative activities than through student education.

Does the creation of a new institute mean the disappearance of two faculties?

The main difference between the faculty and the institute is that the faculty is more focused on student learning and the institute, as a larger and more fundamental structure, has more opportunities not only for teaching but also for scientific and research activities.

Sergiy Fomichov: The new institute is a guarantee of greater stability. A small faculty is always unstable. According to the rules, the faculty must have at least three departments. There are three departments in the ZF, that is, we already have a minimum.  When the chair is less than 5 people, it ceases to exist. Moreover, the number of students per 1 course decreases. In the last 8 years, the number of students in one course has decreased by 5 times. And the number of teachers is 20% approximately. But there has to be a correspondence between the number of students and the number of teachers.  So we took a risk!

Petro Loboda: We also planned to establish an institute on the basis of IFF, we have enough capacities. If they had not joined us, we would have created it ourselves!  (Laughs.)

When will the new institute start working?

In fact, there will be two dates of launching the new institute: the beginning of the second term and the new academic year.

Yuriy Yakimenko: The order for the creation of a new institute is being prepared. From the new term there will be the transfer of workers to the institute, but as they are part of their departments, this is a formal transfer. And the full institution is instantly working from the new school year.

How will the educational programs change?

Changing of educational programs, their update occurs at the university constantly, but it does not depend on the direction of reorganisation, but rather as an answer to external changes, challenges, according to the new opportunities.

Yuriy Yakimenko: Educational programs determine the content of the educational process, they are accredited, for educational programs students study and receive a diploma. Educational programs are developed by departments, constantly updated and must comply with accreditation conditions. The main requirements are the needs of the labor market, the availability of the relevant scientific school and personnel, the level of state amendments and the competition. On current educational programs, all requirements are performed, they will be saved in the new institute and students will continue to study them.

 What about the Chairs?

The creation of a new institute will in no way affect the structure and work of the departments. They will be included in the newly created structure as they currently are, and their further fate will depend on the decision of the department and the results of accreditation.

Petro Loboda: We are creating an institute to empower each participant. No department will suffer, on the contrary, the development of each scientific school will be intensified and deepened.

 Is there a threat of redundancies through reorganisation?

The reorganisation does not directly pose a risk to either the teaching staff or the administrative staff.

Yuriy Yakimenko: Interests of no one of the employees of these faculties will be limited. All employees remain in their places - at the departments. The structure of the department does not change yet. Administrative structures are formed according to the number of students. In fact, after the formation of a new institute, the number of students is constantly unchanged, respectively, and with the quantitative composition of administrative positions will not change. That is, to the direct contractions, this association does not lead.

What will happen to students?

Students will not feel changes from the reorganisation process. Their training will last in normal mode, even the buildings where they study don't change. It is also not necessary to write individual statements for the transfer to them.

Yuriy Yakimenko: Students will finish the educational year in the faculties where they study. For graduates in diplomas nothing will change ,as in the diploma the specialty is noted, not the faculty or the institute. For those who continue to study, there will be a command for the next year of studying already in the institute, and not in the faculty.

Who will become the head of the new Institute?

The head of the new institute will be appointed in accordance with the legislation by the rector in agreement with the labor collective.

Yuriy Yakimenko: The competition at the legislation does not foresee the election of the head, it implies the appointment of the head with the consent of the labor collective. The candidacy is offered by the rector, he introduces a candidate for consideration of a labor collective, which secret voting gives consent or disagreement.

Petro Loboda: The management of such a structure is a very large responsibility. But the issue of position is far from the main one. The most important thing is that we will be able to make a new institute that goals we will set them as they will be achieved.

Sergei Fomichov: When we were neglecting of the merger of the IFF, the ZF and the department of the LTFT and the establishment of the institute, we agreed with Petro Loboda, and Igor Kryvtsun about joint work. Our ambitions are to create a new, effective structure and fully realise its potential.