Saturday. Summer. Heat. Vacation. Nonetheless, at UTM, the work is in progress – preparations for the 2020 Admission, for the new study year, renovation, adjustments, and endowments. The senior system officials also show interest in the advancement of these preparations. Today, we received a visit from the Minister of Education, Culture and Research, Igor ȘAROV.

Accompanied by the rector of UTM, prof., Dr. Viorel BOSTAN, vice-rectors Dinu ȚURCANU, Serghei ANDRONIC, Mircea BERNIC, deans Sergiu DÎNTU (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Transport), Vladislav REȘITCA (Faculty of Food Technology) and the responsible secretary of the UTM Admission Committee, Radu MELNIC, the minister visited the study blocks of the Râșcani academic campus, showing a special interest in the renovations that take place there. Currently, UTM places a special emphasis on the endowment of horticultural laboratories, within the investment project “Livada Moldovei” with financing from the European Investment Bank. The 9 scientific laboratories within two departments: the Department of Food Technology (DTPA) and the Department of Industrial Processes, Machinery and Appliances (DPMAI), are specialized in scientific research. Food chemistry; Sanitation and industrial hygiene; Food preservation technology; The technology of dehydration and refrigeration of food products, all within DTPA, are located in the study block no. 5, assigned to the Faculty of Food Technology. The 4 other laboratories within DPMAI, specialized in Automation of technological equipment; Processes and apparatus in the food industry (also located in block 5), Scientific research in the field of drying process; Refrigeration Installations, are all located in the neighboring block, no. 6, which most of the works are currently focused on.

The minister was really impressed by the current progress. In addition to the actual endowment of the laboratories, the thermal insulation works of the exterior walls of block no. 5 are currently being implemented. It is a large-scale investment project, in which the EIB invests over 4 million euros, and UTM undertakes renovation works worth over 2 million euros.

Previously, all laboratories within the project were thoroughly repaired: change of electrical networks, lighting and drinking water supply systems, and sewerage. The necessary equipment was also purchased, including chemical laboratory utensils for physical, chemical, microbiological measurements, as well as the required amount of chromatogram liquid HPLC, spectrophotometer, refractometers, pH-meters, centrifuges, viscometer, laboratory oven, a device for determining fibers – a really impressive list, as far as the importance, purpose and role of these subdivisions goes, in which both Bachelor students, Master students and business specialists will be involved in scientific research.

But beyond the renovations and endowments, the minister was deeply impressed by the significance that UTM representatives give to these laboratories. Given that the role of laboratories is predominant in the development of research, and scientific research is the fundamental criterion for assessing academic qualification and performance, with major impact on the quality of the study process (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate), attracting funding through research will be a focal point of the laboratory’s activity. The academic staff will be able to apply for national and international projects, technology transfer, research and innovation, human resources projects for the growth of the scientific staff. They will also be able to conclude research-developed contracts with the economic environment in order to develop new products: foods for special nutrition, functional foods, fortified foods; establishing the correlation between food processing and their quality. Institutional and inter-institutional research partnerships and bilateral cooperation agreements will be established in order to create a significant number of consortia, to participate in projects of European interest, as well as to carry out joint activities within European technology platforms. New proposals will be submitted in European competitions funding projects dedicated to cross-border or transnational cooperation. Particular attention will also be paid to participation in European projects that support the mobility of students and teachers, such as TEMPUS, ERASMUS, etc. At the same time, the actual practical training of the students will take place here, ensuring a quality educational process, in accordance with the current requirements in the field of food chemistry; fundamental and applied scientific research skills in the field of food chemistry will be developed; services will be provided in the field of industrial hygiene, food expertise services, and testing of new technologies for storage, preservation, dehydration, refrigeration of food products.

The visit continued in the lecture room 6-2, already known for being the filming set for the courses aimed at high school students preparing for the BAC exams, classes recorded by high school teachers for students that learn from home, and, more recently, digital courses are to be recorded here, but also course materials for the next academic year at UTM – a technologization of the university academic program. The minister also welcomed the initiative of the rector of UTM to announce a competition for the most successful digital courses in order to motivate and support the effort of teachers to create and develop e-learning courses.

The visit was finished in the new networking and co-sharing space, whose preparations are approaching their completion – ZIPshop (a new ZIPhouse and UTM brand project, hence the name) will be inaugurated (on July 24), which will offer students and all visitors of the UTM Park in the Râșcani sector the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee in a unique atmosphere, but also to purchase items representative of the student life at UTM.

Impressed by the progress achieved in the renovated laboratories and classrooms of UTM, but also on the cultural and leisure spaces, minister Igor ȘAROV wished great success to teachers, students and young researchers striving to achieve all their goals and to gain impressive results in their research.

Photo credit: Dorina Pantaz Photography

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