“To Win, You Must Give It Your All,” Says Valeria Trunova, Winner of UMNIK Program


South Ural State University and UMNIK Program provide a unique opportunity for young scientists to fulfill their research projects.

A development’s commercialization is a crucial indicator of the demand for it, and namely through UMNIK Program young scientists learn if there is demand for their scientific developments, as well as win 500 thousand roubles for their projects’ fulfillment. The contest aims at supporting commercially oriented scientific and engineering projects; its finalists are chosen from such priority fields as information technologies, medicine of the future, modern materials and technologies of creating them, new devices and hardware systems, and biotechnologies.

A second-year Master Degree student Valeria Trunova became the winner of UMNIK Program in2016. Her project is dedicated to “Creating Transparent Infrared Ceramics Based on Yttrium Oxide Produced from Yttrium Sulphate to Be Used in Modern Electronics”.

− How did you begin to study chemistry?

− When I was in the 8th grade of school, we began studying chemistry, and I instantly liked it. Having passed my exam I decided to give this field my full attention in the 9th grade. Initially I was more prone to choosing medicine to major in at a university, but in the 11th grade of high school I changed my mind I decided to enter the SUSU’s Chemistry Faculty. Now, having been studying here for almost 6 years, I haven’t regretted my decision – not even once. I chose to study at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Chemistry for my Bachelor Degree, and the Department of Ecology and Chemical Technology to obtain my Master Degree.

− How did you come up with the topic for your project?

− At the fourth year of studies, when I needed to write my graduation thesis, Dean of the Chemistry Faculty Vyacheslav Avdin became my academic advisor. He suggested an interesting topic for my thesis. This work subsequently transformed into my Master Degree thesis, and afterwards into the project for UMNIK Program.

− Please tell us more about the essence of your project?

− We are producing nanostructured yttrium oxide. Its properties allow to use it in infrared ceramics, and infrared ceramics in its turn is a thin plate to be used in devices of special designation. Infrared ceramics shall be very strong and transparent, and it shall absorb light in certain wave-length ranges.

− How do you produce ceramics of this type?

− To produce nanostructured yttrium oxide, we chose a sol-gel method using solutions of yttrium sulphate as precursors and aqueous solutions of ammonia and sodium hydroxide as hydrolytic agents.We are varying the speed of adding hydrolytic agents, and final рН values, thus producing nanostructured particles of different shapes and sizes, and based on that we select conditions suitable for producing of infrared ceramics.

− How did you learn about UMNIK Project, and why did you decide to participate?

− I learned about the project from Maxim Vakhitov, the Head of the Service for Projects Attraction and Support at the Department of Scientific and Innovative Affairs. I read all the contest’s terms and decided to file an application. By the moment of participating in the contest I had already had some developments which resulted from my graduation thesis, and that helped me a lot.

− What rounds did you have to take, and how did you learn that you became the winner?

− The first one was a distance round. We registered and executed an Application the major criteria for which were the project’s novelty and relevance, as well as the existing analogues and a possibility of the project’s commercialization. The second round included an in-person presentation where we described our project and answered some questions. The jury consisted of the directors of production enterprises, and who can assess a project’s commercialization better than they can? Especially that it was the main focus of the second round. I felt most nervous while I was awaiting the results, since according to the new Provision the results are declared only once approved by the Foundation. The waiting took quite some time, but when the results did come, I was very happy of course. After that I filled out a contract and received the first part of the money I had won in the amount of 200 thousand roubles intended for the fulfillment of my project. UMNIK 2017 is to be held soon, and to pass to the second year of the contest I will have to give another presentation for the jury revealing the results of the performed work. 250 thousand roubles are awarded for the second year of the project fulfillment.   

− What stage are you at with your development currently?

− Now is the stage of producing of nanostructured yttrium oxide, and namely of determining the conditions suitable for production of strong and transparent infrared ceramics. Further on, we will have to select conditions for ceramics pressing without the use of binding agents.

− What is required to win this contest?

− I believe you must give it your all in order to participate in this contest and win it. You should follow the advice provided by the organizers regarding preparation and execution of your presentation, it really helped me a lot. And if you do not succeed this time, you shouldn’t get desperate but give it a try the next year.


Let us remind you that any Russian Federation citizen aged 18 to 30 dreaming to fulfill his/her research-and-innovation project may take part in the contest. You may file your application athttp://umnik.fasie.ru/

Dates of preliminary rounds:

The distance program phase will be held all through November 5th.

November 6th to 20th the final phase participants will be selected.

On November 21st the lists of the final phase conference participants will be approved.

On November 22 – 28 presentation materials of the final phase conference participants will be collected.

On November 29th and 30th the in-person presentation phase of the conference will take place.


Marina Kovyazina, photo from Valeria Trunova’s archive
You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.