Conference “Environmental Protection and Energy” – Science and a new way of teaching

img_9494_webNearly 160 scientists participated and more than 90 presentation were given during the Conference “Environmental Protection and Energy”, held on December 9 at the Department of Energy and Environmental Engineering of Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland. It was 4th edition of the Conference which is organized by students of Clean Fossil and Alternative Fuels Energy Msc program as a part of project based learning implemnetation activity. Opening ceremony was conducted by the Chairman of the Scientific Committee Krzysztof Pikoń Ph.D and President of the Organizing Committee MSc. Magdalena Bogacka.

This year’s edition – similarly to previous editions – was organised by students of Waste Managment specizalization in cooperation with students of Clean Fossil and Alternative Fuels Energy and by two PhD students from Environmental and Power Engineering Department.

img_9297_webThis event had attracted a large number of participants and the audience. They represented many scientific and academic centres form different countries. “The attendance again exceeded our expectations – says Magdalena Bogacka MSc, President of the Organizing Committee – as a result of such high frequency it was necessary to organize conference in 7 lecture halls at the same time”.

The Conference is a special event, because it is practical example of implementation of new didactic methods. The event was organized in “learning by doing” manner and according to “project based learning” requirements. Students created a virtual company which has conducted practical project aimed to organise the Conference. Students were divided into working groups, with leaders and the project manager. Full documentation of project was also created. The Value of such approach to teaching is – says Krzysztof Pikoń – that students experience the heavy burden of responsibility and have possibility to see practical effects of their work. They can notice why precision planning is important. They face the consequences of their mistakes and they have to react is crisis situations. For students this was not only learning of project management theory with elements of risk management but also soft skills like teamwork and leadership. This was a “playground” for students to learn how to act in real life environment.

img_9408_webThe conference started with an opening lecture about Genetic Algorithms “How nature taught us to find the best solutions”, presented by Ryszard Białecki Prof. PhD from Silesian University of Technology.
The discussion “Waste to Energy – Threats and opportunities” was organized as one part of the Conference. The panel was led by academic staff and guests form research canters and the industry. Prof. Jan Nadziakiewicz (SUT) was the moderator and the invited guests were: Józef Pastuszek Prof (SUT) Mr Rafał Psik (Doosan), Karol Sztekler PhD (AGH), Simon Ciuk PhD (SUT and Amec Foster Wheeler), Janusz Lasek PhD (ICHPW). The discussion had open character, and the participating audience was actively engaged in the debate. In addition to conference participants and students, representatives of non-governmental organisations interested in waste incineration topics were present.

img_9423_webAdditional innovative part of the Conference was “Scientific Lunch” during which all participants could discuss issues related to the Environmental Protection and the Energy – by choosing the appropriate part of hall assigned to the topic which were interesting to them.

All the papers will be published in 3 volumes of the scientific monograph, which will be distributed in Open Access formula. The conference was therefore, not only chance to improve scientific workshop and presentation skills but also an opportunity to increase scientific achievements record.

The scientific committee evaluated delivered presentations. This year nine awards were granted in three categories: for the best presentation, the best scientific workshop and the most interesting topic.

Special thanks should go to our students, staff of InnoEnergy and our Faculty who were involved in this project. Their precious energy and hard work transformed the idea of “learning by doing” and “project based learning” into the reality. Skills developed by students during the project will be certainly needed in their future careers, no matter which direction of a professional path they choose. “We are looking forward to the next edition! See you then! ” – Magdalena Bogacka MSc.

Link to a video from last years conference

Link to photo gallery from this years conference