Our PhD students Marek Jelínek, Jan Staš and Eduardo Duque Dussán, along with Assoc. Prof. Hynek Roubík, travelled to Ukraine as delegates of the FTA under the scientific cooperation project "Strengthening scientific capacities and cooperation of Ukrainian universities in AgriSciences" supported by the Czech Development Cooperation via Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
After arriving in Kiev, a 4-hour trip was waiting for them to travel to the city of Sumy. Located in the north-eastern part of the country, Sumy served as the venue of the "2nd Multidisciplinary Conference for Young Researchers – Sustainable Development Trends and Challenges under COVID-19", the first activity in the schedule. The conference was part of the project “Interuniversity cooperation as a tool for enhancement of quality of selected universities in Ukraine” supported by the Czech Development Agency.
Sumy is a small, well organised, picturesque, and exciting city, founded by Cossacks on the bank of the Psel river, house to several universities, among which the Sumy State University and the Sumy National Agrarian University belong to the development cooperation project. On Monday, November 29, the conference began with the oral sessions. Even though the conference was conducted in a hybrid way, the captivating variety of topics in different areas of knowledge kept the online and in-person attendees focused on the presentations. Various discussions and debates were held throughout the day, expanding scientific knowledge on novel topics until the last sessions were reached. The first day ended successfully, sharing a delicious Ukrainian supper as a group.
The next day, the poster session was held for half a day. Participants from all over the world shared their research within the framework of the challenges caused by covid 19. In the same way, virtual and physical assistants interacted dynamically, actively participating in the event. The organisers and managers of the conference are to be congratulated, as the event was carried out with high standard order, punctuality and quality.
Once the conference ended, the FTA team continued to prepare the set of workshops to carry out in different universities in Ukrainian territory. The first stop was the Sumy National Agrarian University (SNAU). In addition to touring the campus and attending various meetings, the FTA delegates carried out different workshops in mechanical design and 3D modelling and sensory analysis of tea and dietary diversity exercises. The audience participation, attention, and interest were surprising, composed of professors, students, university staff, and anyone interested in the topics discussed. By the end of the workshops, the FTA group visited the Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection Technologies labs at the Sumy State University (SumDU).
The next stop was Kharkiv, the second biggest city in Ukraine, full of history, architecture, and cultural traditions. After a short morning walk through the streets and landmarks of Kharkiv, the FTA experts visited the Kharkiv National Agrarian University (KNAU). The seminars and workshops were also performed with two extra lectures: How to work with Mendeley? and how to write a scientific article – practical information. It was delightful how the partner university's assistants were excited and looking forward to learning, teaching, and sharing different points of view about the discussed topics. After a long and cold day of activities, the FTA group and the KNAU representative gathered together for a warm plate of typical Ukrainian food, celebrating the scientific cooperation.
Afterwards, the FTA delegation split up. Jan and Eduardo travelled back to Kiev, making a quick stop in Poltava to try its exquisite cuisine, while Marek and Hynek continued the tour to the city of Dnipro. They met the Dnipro State Agrarian University committee to discuss further cooperation steps in various projects and joint research activities. They also visited a biogas plant with an output bigger than 5MW to talk about future association and collaboration, followed by an exciting visit to a cossack village!
The trip to Ukraine was quite successful in terms of scientific cooperation and development; important milestones were settled, and relevant cooperation continued. The FTA looks forward to visiting again Ukraine and keeping up the teamwork.