South Ural State University supports young scientists who contribute to development of science. Every year SUSU students and postgraduates take part in UMNIK programme aiming at supporting commercially oriented scientific-engineering projects. This programme allows to check if an innovation by researchers is in demand and to what extent, as well as to obtain a grant of 500 thousand roubles to perfect it.
Postgraduate student at the Department of Mechatronics and Automation of the SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology Tatiana Lisovskaya became a prize winner under UMNIK programme with her project on Engineering of a Digital Complex System of Control over Multiple Type Draw Bench. When defending her project, she not only provided substantiation of how metal treatment may be improved using this method, but she also made a significant contribution into creation of draw benches, which found their application both in Russia and abroad. The SUSU researcher shares on why one should try oneself in research activity, and why her innovation is unique.
— Please, tell us why you started your research activity? What made you think of taking part in UMNIK programme?
— I started my research activity while still studying under Bachelor’s programme, thanks to my academic advisor at our Department. It was really interesting to listen to him explain the material, and we studied issues many of which were not included into the standard course of our academic programme. I believe that namely my academic advisor cultivated the love of science in me. Once I came to work at Uctech-Profi Educational Equipment Manufacturer, I found that they had very interesting projects there, not only in terms of practice, but also with regard to science. In the process of work my interest in science only grew.
Last year I noticed information about UMNIK programme on the SUSU website. At that moment my colleagues and I were working on a new interesting project on creating triple type draw bench. So I decided to participate, since we not only already elaborated the theoretical scientific base — we even engineered and assembled it in practice. I, in particular, was working on the complex control system.
— What is the main peculiarity of the draw bench created at SUSU?
— Our product is unique for the Russian market. Such draw benches are not manufactured for productions, let alone created for scientific or academic purposes. We discovered this niche, which turned to be in high demand — specialists need something to train on, and our equipment allows them to obtain the required skills, and learn about the drawing process in practice. For UMNIK programme we had to substantiate the commercial value of the project. Therefore, the commercial idea behind UMNIK programme was fulfilled in our work. We were working on the project under guidance of the Head of the Department of Metal Forming Lyudmila Radionova.
— What was the most interesting in the course of working on the project? What difficulties did you face?
— On one hand, we faced difficulties practically at all stages since it was the first time ever that we were producing such draw benches. But on the other hand, that was the interesting part as well. We engineered, designed and then assembled the draw bench at our Department on our own, jointly with Uctech-Profi Educational Equipment Manufacturer. It was really fascinating that my team and I together got to theoretically develop the project, and then to follow up with the process of its fulfilment, and directly participate in making an idea become a reality. First, it was just on paper, and when modelled, it becomes a ready-to-be-used equipment, which I also had a hand in. And it’s really great.
— Where are the university-produced triple type draw benches used?
— We have already assembled three triple type draw benches, and they all found application in different fields. The first one is installed at South Ural State University, at the Department of Metal Forming. Also, one of the draw benches is now at Ural Hi-Tech Park in Yekaterinburg (major innovations centre of the Sverdlovsk Region). The third draw bench was delivered to Uzbekistan, to the Technopark the University of Navoiy. That is we stepped beyond the borders both of our region and of Russia.
— What did participation in UMNIK programme give you? What are your plans for the nearest future?
— It’s a huge motivation to do science and applied projects. For me it was important that the programme jury comprised people who earn money by fulfilling and promoting scientific ideas and developments. And when you see such examples, you understand that science can become a work of a lifetime, and you can build your own business on it.
We’re planning to improve the project, and possibly, take part in other contests, for instance in START programme. It is also a very interesting one and provides great opportunities to keep developing in science.
— What would you advise to students and postgraduates who wish to take part in UMNIK?
— You should always give it a try, even if you think that your project is just at an initial stage and probably does not yet meet all the requirements of the programme. You should file an application anyway because you will be sure to receive a review of your project, and thus you will get an unbiased outside opinion. Experts might advise on what needs extra working on or correction. I filed the application without even thinking that I might make it to the finals. I just liked my project, and I was really passionate about my scientific work. And first of all I wanted to obtain competent assessment by the Foundation’s jury. But it all turned out really great.
Here is to remind you that any Russian Federation citizen aged 18 to 30, who dreams of fulfilling his/her scientific-innovation project, can take part in UMNIK programme. You may file an application on the official web-site. Applications are accepted till November 4th. On November 28 and 29 the in-person round of the conference will be held.