10 - 11 June 2019
Postgraduate study "Chemical Engineering" is currently the only one in Croatia aimed at training scientists in chemical engineering. It is a logical continuation of the graduate study in chemical engineering, carried out at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology.
Understanding of the purpose and place of the proposed study in the overall scientific-research and technological development of Croatia as well as its compliance with national strategic priorities requires brief description of its contemporary methodology, fundamentals of the new approach to competitive scientific research in chemical engineering and basic directives of scientific research in up-to-date chemical engineering.
METHODOLOGY. Methodology of chemical engineering is focused on the so called process space that denotes a spatially defined entirety wherein the process takes place. It implies recognition of common properties of every single process step. These properties lead to the same mathematical models as the ground for analysis, dimensioning or performance of any rational process or tool. Basic properties of the process space are its geometric shape, time dependence of the process variables, position and type within the process space, as well as flow and transfer of substances and energy through and within the process space. Methodology is a powerful tool of interdisciplinary approach to many scientific and practical problems, because the concept of a confined space or an entirety is one of the key ideas present in all fields of technical sciences.
APPROACH TO RESEARCH. The purpose of competitive scientific research in chemical engineering is to develop concepts, methods and techniques for better understanding, analysis and design of the process for conversion of raw materials and energy into useful products. This implies an integrated approach to simultaneous and frequently linked events and processes occurring at various time intervals (10-6-108s) and in different scales (10-8-106m), including nano / molecules, micro / particles, mezzo / tools, macro / facilities and mega / environment. Consequently, understanding and description of the relations between events on nano and macro levels is necessary for better conversion of molecules into a useful product on the process level.
State-of-the-art chemical engineering owes its rapid development to the latest findings in molecular modelling, vigorous development of scientific instrumentation and powerful IT support. The need in system control to be investigated within the upgraded organizational level is becoming increasingly important. A well-developed "reductionistic", analytical approach reduced to division of a process into lower levels, down to molecular, must be substituted by the "integral" systematic approach, which is one of the proposed study aims. Design of higher organizational levels, rather than the search for new and novel ideas, has become the priority. A new "inductive" approach that encourages defining of a problem instead of a solution has been developed.
RESEARCH AREAS. Interdisciplinary research in chemical engineering is focused on:
The attempts have been made to apply described research methodology, approach and areas at the Zagreb Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology which is the parent institution and study propounder. Many scientific (10) and technological projects (8 ) from the scope of chemical engineering, approved by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, speak about the Faculty where scientific-technological research is being conducted.
Specificity of the applied chemical engineering methodology, focused on the process space, along with integrated systematic approach to research that enables study of phenomena at different time- and spatial scales, contribute to traditional transparency and competence of the Faculty experts in their active cooperation with other high academic institutions in the country (University in Split and Osijek) and abroad, with scientific institutes (Institute Ruđer Bošković, Institute for Medical Research, Institute of Shipbuilding, etc.) and business sector (INA Industrija nafte, Pliva, Petrokemija, Saponia, Labud, Podravka, Belupo, etc.). This cooperation includes wide formal and informal scientific joint work, post-graduate studies and extension services for the projects in other areas.
The proposed study design offers wide variety of courses suited to the needs of every student and identified by the very choice of a doctoral thesis. All tutors from Croatia and abroad have been selected according to the highest standards. Curriculum of the postgraduate study “Chemical Engineering” follows relevant worldwide adopted structure. In other words, it comprises basic courses on chemical engineering, logically supplemented by several specific optional courses. The examples of similar curricula from the EU member states come from:
1.2. Current experience of proponents
The proposed “Chemical Engineering” postgraduate study is a logical successor of the postgraduate study in chemical engineering, introduced at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology in 1965. Postgraduate curricula have been regularly updated and thoroughly revised in order to keep up with the latest global trends in science and education. Thus, the proposed study is based on the acquired experience. However, with regard to permanent changes, its structure considerably differs from that of the previous one in that it comprises contemporary methodology, approaches and scope of scientific research (see section 1.1.).
1.3. Students’ accessibility
As regards students’ accessibility, the proposed “Chemical Engineering” postgraduate study is fully compliant with the Bolognese Declaration. The European scoring system (ECTS) enables attendance of courses on other postgraduate studies of the parent University and at other Croatian and European universities. According to the principles of lifetime education, the study is open for students of other studies in the country and abroad, including other specialist studies, and for those coming from state institutions, public and private sector. In this connection, the proposed “Chemical Engineering” study structure enables subsequent inclusion of it or of any of its parts into joint (compiled) curricula of the universities outside Croatia.
2.4. Innovativeness of PhD curricula
As already mentioned in the introductory part (section 1.2.), the proposed PhD curricula has been harmonized with current trends in chemical engineering. This includes meticulous implementation of relevant methodology, up-to-date inductive approach to scientific research and focusing on modern and interdisciplinary research areas. Accordingly, the tuition is being accommodated to the ongoing changes. Core and optional contents of curricula include exclusively generic knowledge. Holistic philosophy becomes the ground for process and product design. Comprehensive education and internationally recognized standards are accepted as a key to accomplishment of technological and social challenges. Holistic approach implies encouragement of lateral thinking, learning with experimentation, and implementation of ideas and teamwork in designing processes and products. Given the fact that the graduated chemical engineers are permanently trained, because the estimated half-life of their knowledge is 4-5 years, all types of such education will be continuously developed. Irrespective of where chemical engineers come from, they are very prone to changing places and are less confined to a specific workplace or country. Therefore, it will be necessary to work on international recognition of their qualification and, by all means, of their knowledge.
Teamwork as one of postgraduate study backbones implies collaboration within the Faculty and University and, more widely, between national and international scientific community. It is expected that industry and public sector will show big interest in the curricula offered by the proposed postgraduate study. Selection of doctoral theses will determine priority areas of scientific research at the Faculty. In response to this, the Faculty will be disseminating latest knowledge and principles of the profession
2.7. Competences, continuation of scientific-research work, further training, employment
Having gained their PhD in chemical engineering, the students are expected have full command of its methodology and to be capable of independent performance of scientificresearch projects in chemical engineering within the scope of social interest. Their future will be determined by their many personal factors and overall social status, and their employment opportunities will depend primarily on their status at enrolment in the study (whether they are coming from the University, public administration or enterprises or are driven by their personal interest). It would be ideal and at mutual interest for national economy to easily absorb the whole population of these PhDs. Materialization of this, with significant state subsidies, is possible by establishment of entrepreneurial clusters. There, in the entrepreneurial atmosphere or in cooperation with the interested self-employed persons fresh postgraduates can start up their own small firms, physically and otherwise permanently linked with the Faculty. It is the attitude of the Faculty that its obligations towards PhDs remain permanent with regard to any type of cooperation, including postdoctoral training, subsequent enrolment in studies – if necessary, joint research projects, etc. all in line with the frequently addressed principles of lifetime education.