17 students from universities of the Republic of South Africa arrived at JINR. The practice started with introductory lectures and excursions to the JINR laboratories. Traditionally, students will not only work intensively on research projects with supervisors in laboratories, but will also have a cultural programme. RSA leaders of preparation to the JINR practice will tell us about how it was held in RSA.
Professor Leslie Lekala (University of South Africa UNISA): Firstly, we held a practice similar to this one at iThembaLABS. Its goal was to take a closer look at students, to find out what they are able to do, who has the reason to come here, and then we selected suitable students. 25 students participated in our practice and 20 of them were shortlisted for the trip to Dubna, but 3 participants rejected to go here and, as a result, 17 students have arrived at JINR.
Do universities participating in the practice change from year to year?
There are 26 universities in RSA. The National Research Fund annually sends out information about this practice to all the universities, and everybody interested in it are always waiting for this information. Applications had been already submitted in December from which participants of the preliminary practice of iThembaLABS were selected.
Is the further scientific career of the practice participants monitored somehow in order to assess its effectiveness?
Motsakwe Rakgoale (National Research Fund NRF): There is no need to do it on purpose, we monitor scientific articles with participation of former trainees, monitor their achievements.
Leslie Lekala: This is the task we face now, we need to collect some statistical information on the participants of the practice. I keep in touch with scientific leaders of the students, learn about their success stories. Many students, who have participated in the practice, are now supervisors of new students or work as lecturers. I am often asked how to count the effectiveness, we are looking for a scientific method to reflect it. Together with Motsakwe Rakgoale, we want to collect all possible statistical data on all students who participated in the JINR practices and organize it in the form of a brochure: whom they were and whom they have become.
Julia Rybachuk (JINR UC): Why is this practice special? First of all, it is held in June instead of May because it is more convenient for the students. Secondly, the second group of RSA students will not come in September, this group is the only one. Thirdly, there are two places in which the practice coincides with the JEMS training programme: today, participants were given a lecture by D.V. Kamanin, on Wednesday, they will listen to the lecture by E.A. Bazanova on the history of Russia. Maybe all this will lead to a new tradition, just like the tradition of the International morning was established during international practices. An excursion to Moscow will be organized to participants as usual, and in addition, we have decided to try to introduce students to Dmitrov. We have found young and creative people who are ready to provide an excursion around the Dmitrov Kremlin, the museum and organize an interactive quest, but this is still a secret!
The practice will be finished on 22 June by defense of research projects and award of certificates to participants.
Olga Tarantina, JINR Weekly Newspaper
Photos by Elena Puzynina , JINR Scientific Information Department
translated by Julia Rybachuk, JINR University Centre