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Hungarian - Norwegian Educational Project in Chemistry

An EEA-funded, inter-institutional educational collaboration in chemistry was completed this month. The project has entailed a joint summer school and several exchange visits between departments in the field of organic chemistry. It was successfully realized through close collaboration between chemists at UiT and two Hungarian universities and has laid the groundwork for future joint educational and research projects

Stephanie Ramona Hansen 14.03.2016 08:14   (Last updated: 14.03.2016 08:41)

Theory Discussion. Photo: Morton Attila Kiss
Hungarians at work in the lab.

EEA Grants and Norway Grants

The EEA Grants and Norway Grants system, funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, aims to reduce social and economic differences as well as forge stronger bilateral relations in Europe.  Grants are offered to various institutions in public and private sectors of 16 EU-member states in Central and Southern Europe, covering a wide range of program areas. In the period 2009-14, these grants amounted to €1.79 billion, of which 97% is contributed by Norway. One characteristic feature is that the receiving institutions must collaborate with institutions from the donor countries in the granted projects.

Crucial connections

In 2015, a grant was awarded to the inter-institutional project "A Smooth Transition from Master to Doctoral Education" initiated by the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Szeged, Hungary. This was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, and the Department of Chemistry at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The project aimed at organizing and implementing a joint intensive summer school in organic chemistry for the three universities, as well as forging stronger connections between the partner universities to generate long-lasting future collaborations.

Students performing lab experiments. Photo: Ferenc Joo

Immersed in theory, practice and cultural experiences for 20 days

In July 2015, UiT hosted a 20-day long intensive summer school involving 15 Hungarian and 2 Norwegian university students from a variety of disciplines and covering educational levels from BSc to PhD. Drawing from complementary strengths of the three collaborating departments in different areas of chemistry, a broad program of lectures, workshops and practical laboratory work was implemented during the summer school. Chemistry relevant to industrial applications was emphasized throughout the program in order to build job-relevant skills. Krisztian Bogar, at the time a postdoctoral researcher in the Organic Chemistry Group at the UiT Department of Chemistry, carried out most of the local organization for the summer school.

Arctic Experience Photo: Henrietta Kovacs

Future for friendship and collaboration

In addition to the intensive program, the visiting students and faculty were able to experience the exotic features of our Arctic city, including cultural and historical sights. Of course, the unique Arctic nature was explored during several outings. The visiting team also documented their experiences in a professional movie clip that was aired on national television in Hungary (available on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQF2fKggO6Q).

The project has clearly enriched the perspectives and skills of all attendees. But, perhaps more importantly, it has laid the groundwork for friendship and closer connections between the organic chemistry environments in Tromsø, Szeged and Debrecen.

"We plan to continue and expand on the collaboration to generate joint research and educational projects, as well as student exchange and faculty visits in the near future. This new friendship will expand the horizons of all partner universities and is really an exciting connection for our local organic chemistry environment" says Associate Professor Jørn H. Hansen at the UiT Department of Chemistry.