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Important dates:

Abstract submission:
1st April

Acceptance notification:
1st May

Full paper submission:
1st July


Conference:
17 - 19 September 2015

Interviews with conference participants

Interview with Olga Tricolici (INCD ECOIND, Romania)

Olga, please tell us about YWPs in Romania?

Recently, this year, a group of young enthusiast started the Romanian YWPs Chapter under the auspi- ces of International Water Association and with the support of Romanian IWA Governing Member (Romanian Water Association). For the moment one of the major goals of the chapter is to recruit more and more interested young water professionals in order to develop a strong and multidisciplinary network which will assure the needs from water sector at national and international level and create a bigger community of YWPs IWA members. Moreover, as dialog and networking are key ingredients for a success story, the Romanian Chapter is looking to create partnerships with other similar groups from neighboring countries and the rest of the world and to be actively involved in dedicated YWPs events.

Could you tell us your impression about 5th YWPs IWA Conference in Kiev?

Participation at the 5th YWPs IWA Conference was for me a great opportunity and wonderful experi- ence. First of all, it was my first participation at a Young Water Profes- sionals Conference and I was very impressed by the participants, who presented interesting works and shared their experience and opinions regarding the water addressed topics. In the second I had the possibility to speak with great people and gather contacts of researchers with similar interests and this was extraordinary.

Olga: Scientific career involves a wide range of activities incorporated in a complex “cycles” in which the end is always a start for a new “cycle”...

In my opinion YWPs Conference has a great impact on young researchers activities due to the fact that at the event is not only exposed the in- novation in the field, but are also identified the future necessities which must be accomplished in the water resources sector. I am very happy that I had the chance to participate at the 5th YWPs IWA Conference and I highly recommend the participation of other young water professionals to these events.

Olga, why do you think it is important for YWPs to participate at the Conference?

Scientific career involves a wide range of activities incorporated in a complex scientific “cycles” in which the end is always a start for a new “cycle”. Thus, researcher begins by gathering existing scien- tific information, follows the knowledge development through experimentation, data analysis and “finishes” with results dissemination and use. The last mentioned activities open undoubtedly new research challenges characterized especially by the need of improvement and evolution through innovation in the studied field.

In my opinion, participation at Conferences and results dissemination are one of the scientific activi- ties which promote the integration of researchers in a complex network of collaboration, which in- volves scientific information/experience exchange and knowledge development.

What do you think could be improved in making the water sector more attractive for young wa- ter professionals?

In my opinion the way in which we perform the research activity is mostly dependent of our desire and passion. When you get to do something with love, everything seems easier and more interesting. Of course, beside passion, it is very important to have scientific and technical support and also, to have results appreciation. For instance, I felt extraordinary when I saw that after my presentation at the 5th YWPs IWA Conference participants asked me different questions because they were interested in the topic and this increases my confidence in what I perform and also motivated me to go further.

Interview with Jürgen Heinrichmeier (WTE Wassertechnik, Germany)

Jürgen, why it is important for YWPs to participate at Conference during scientific carrier?

IWA conferences are different from exclusively national ones. It offers the opportunity to meet profes- sionals from different regions, countries and continents. As a consequence you get in touch with ques- tions which possibly are not even been asked inside your home region. To some of the foreign problems you can provide solutions. Or the other way round, some of your “exotic” tasks are already done elsewhere. Beside the scientific or engineering correct work, the possibility to see further than the end of one’s own nose helps to get inspiration for own future works.

Has network played any role in your career?

Private or career? :-) Nobody can know, do or take care about everything without the help of others. The majority of the daily challenges can be met only in teams. I see networking just as a bigger type of team play. Without networking it would be impossible to do the engineering pro- jects at my work.

Jürgen: networking will get more and more important the bigger the network will be - the longer the career will persist!

Also science has reached a level of complexity where different institutions have to work together. The more you participate in networking, the more efficient you will be. So the question has to be answered with an “of cause, and it will get more and more important the bigger the network will be and the longer the career will persist”.

How could we make the water sector more attractive for young people?

Taking care about water is equal to taking care about health and lives. It is like being healthy, you are just aware of its importance if there is a lack of it. But working as a young water professional in the water sector is also a matter of course in every days live. This idealistic motivation of doing something for the society comes along with a constant demand for people working in the water sector. As long as there are people living in cities, water will be regulated, consumed and finally discharged. It is a good approach for long time expectations and planning of future incomes, careers or projects. But also creativity is needed to find the best possible solutions for the problems you are faced with.

Jürgen: use your knowledge to develop a systematic line of actions and cross-linked thinking against the direction of normal design calculations

There are always plenty of solutions available, each with specific line of actions and cross-linked thinking against the direction of normal design calculations (dis-) advantages. Beside the “dry-as-dust theory” this enthusiasm must be transferred to the young water provisional as well. The focus at universities or conferences is always the pure theoretical approach to water. Maybe one possibility would be to increase the content for practical aspects, how to use this knowledge for solving problems or sometimes even more important to find the origin of the problem.

Jürgen, do you have some ideas for the workshop at the next YWP conferences?

I think workshops are practice-orientated, integrating the participants and giving back direct response. Personally I have a distinct play instinct. Let’s resume the “riddles” I mentioned in the answer to the previous question. For example simulation games basing on real plant data are going into that direction. Suddenly some values have changed. Starting from there you need to find out what consequences might happen, why the values have changed and finally what to do to come back to normal. Apart from normal lectures you are forced to use your knowledge to develop a systematic line of actions and cross-linked thinking against the direction of normal design calculations.

Interview with Sandis Dejus (Riga Technical University, Latvia)

Sandis, what do you think could be improved in making the water sector more attractive for young water professionals?

I think that the most significant problem is related to the public opinion about the water sector, ordi- nary people thinks that the water in a tap in his flat and toilet flashing are natural phenomenon. They do not realize that those are very complex systems that provides the drinking water and discharges the wastewater. Since the drinking water is vital for human beings and none of them can survive without it, the public opinion should be changed in way that the drinking water is a privilege. Consequently, if you are a person who is capable to provide such a privilege, you are a person in a price of gold. If you are an engineer or a scientist in a water sector, you do not do only your daily work to get the salary, but also ensure that every human being gets a drinking water, you bring life into the city. With such an opinion in the society, there must be numerous new water professionals provided.

Tell us about YWPs in your region? What has been done, what can be improved?

Unfortunately, we have no YWPs organisation in Baltic region. We have tried to make the organisation that would gather not only young water professionals but also senior water professionals from the Baltic region. However, we have arranged one local Conference and tried to arrange the second one but there was minimal activity from partners and the idea of organisation perished.

Sandis: ... ordinary people think that the water in a tap and toilet flashing are natural phenom- enon whereas it is a privilege!

Besides that, I think that the Baltic States are 3 very small countries with relatively small scientific institutions and if we could collaborate we could make research studies on a larger scale. It takes a lot effort, time and finances to make such an organisation, hopefully there will be some governmental support to develop organisation for water professionals in Baltic region.

Sandis, has the network played any role in your career?

Due to contact and partner network made by our institute, it was possible to do my studies and research in leading scientific organisations of Norway. We have developed some collaboration with experienced and sophisticated colleagues abroad to solve problems related to my scientific work and PhD thesis as well. This networking has helped to develop the own private business in water sector as well.

Which kind of workshop do you think could be interesting for the next IWA YWP conference?

I think that it would be very useful to have a workshops about the bringing the scientific results into real life engineering. Some case studies and discussion about that would be very useful for YWP. That would be very reasonable and useful to try to bring together people from scientific organisations and professional engineers for a discussion about the urgent problems of water supply and wastewater treatment companies and try to make aims for future collaboration.

Do you have any suggestions to IWA YWP Program?

There are a lot of great and valuable ideas not only in water sector but in every scientific field which have no financial support to realize them. The IWA could promote the very best ideas in water sector. I think that it would be a great honour and prestige for the YWPs to and more than that a huge motivation to bring such ideas for the public review.

Interview with Zeljka Rudic („Jaroslav Černi“ Institute, Serbia)

Zeljka, what do you think are the reasons to participate at the IWA YWP?

The first and the main one is that young professionals have to focus and learn how to present the work or research in manner that everyone understands (what is it about and what are highlights and conclu- sions of the work), for a relatively short time. This is in general very important for future work, coop- eration, application for a funds or seeking a job, when you have to explain shortly your proposal in the best manner, if you want to be successful.

Tell us about YWPs in Serbia? What has been done, what can be improved?

Activities of YWP in Serbia are changeable. In 2010, Balkans Regional Young Water Professionals Conference was held in Belgrade. It was a nice gathering of young professionals from differ- ent Balkans countries, such as Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, also Hungary, etc. Of course, Serbian YWPs’ activities can be improved.

Zeljka: if you want to be successful you have to learn to explain shortly your research/proposal in the best manner that everyone understands

I believe that target group for improving YWPs’ activities should be mainly students that are close to graduation or students of senior years. They are the future of every country and they should be motivated to be more proactive. Unfortunately, Serbian YWPs that don’t work in research institutions usually become passive, due to different reasons. That is why they should be approached while still studying – to be more active and to promote their profession.

What do you think could be improved in making the water sector more attractive for young water professionals?

Any sector can become attractive to young people if there is an opportunity for them to find a job and make living, to have a chance for further education and promotion. I believe that water sector fulfils mentioned. But there is a doubt, if young people, future students recognize this.

Zeljka: YWPs are the future of every country and they should be motivated to be more proactive.

There is a large target mo group of young people that are undecided what to study or do in the future. In my opinion, schools, faculties and other educational institutions related to water sector should provide more information on what they can learn and become after graduation. In other words, they should focus on promotion of water sector.

Which kind of workshop do you think could be interesting for the next YWP conference?

Water sector covers a variety of specialties, so it is difficult to say what kind of workshop would fulfil most of needs. Common for everyone are legal issues, although regulations have often dissimilarities in different countries. We all compare measurements to certain standards, but they (can) change. In my opinion, exchange of experiences and opinions about topics if some water standards (including drinking water, surface water, groundwater, sediment, sludge, etc.) are too loose or strict, or some reg- ulations are good or too limiting, or similar issues, can be valuable.

Interview with Joel Sepulveda (University of the Basque Country, Spain)

Joel, what do you think could be improved in making the water sector more attractive for young water professionals?

Everyone who is working in the water sector (professionals &researchers) knows about the importance of water as a concept. Undoubtedly water field is very attractive so maybe the change should be more focused in adapting YWP desires or expectative in to real attraction tools. The main idea is that very person has different motivations for working. Some people work for love; others work for personal fulfillment. Others like to accomplish goals and feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves, something important. The last case is the one called transcendental motivation. Thus the objective must be to found the equilibrium between internal and external motivations of persons to work.

Joel: a good idea is only one part of the equation in science and engineering, the funds to carry out the work is another very important element of the formula.

The motivation factor plus the socioeconomic context in where each YWP is developing the activity should be taken into account to develop more specific programmes according to these factors. People want clear expectations that provide a picture of the outcomes desired with goal setting and feedback and an appropriate structure or framework.

Is it important for YWPs to participate at the Conferences?

Perhaps the most important reason is to confirm and contrast or corroborate that the work that you and your colleagues are developing is in the correct way. Before attending the conference you have to pass a review of experienced scientific and professional committee and during the confer- ence you have the opportunity to defend and have a direct feedback of your own research.

Tell us about YWPs in Spain? What has been done, what can be improved?

Until I know the YWP activity in Spain is inconstant. I mean that depending on the year there had been quite interesting activities (2010 YWP Barcelona conference for example). The real situation cor- responds to an YWP network working individually in their labs at Universities or Technologic Cen- ters. There are few cases that work collaborating but this is an exception. One of the things that should be improved is the perception that YWP ́s has regarding to research world. My optic is that they do not see how to add value to their ideas apart from the research world. There should be more work (knowing that IWA already do a big effort in that issue) showing them professional opportunities or start ups options.

Do you have any other suggestions to IWA YWP?

Public and private funds support research at different institutions. Having a good idea is only one part of the equation in science and engineering. Having the funds to carry out the work is another very important element of the formula. Thus, from my point of view IWA should develop a total internal research funding programme focus on the potential revenue that could be obtained (as prestige and also as business model). It will be also a source of partnering more members (public, private, individuals). I think that senior and YWP ́s could find a new motivation and also a new way to work each other with this kind of promotions.

Interview with Ina Bulskaya (Brest State University, Belarus)

Ina, could you tell us about YWPs in Belarus? What has been done, what can be improved?

According to what I know, there is no network for YWPs in Belarus. YWPs work separately in univer- sities and technical facilities, and there is little collaboration between researches and engineers. I’m sure that the first and the most important step for YWPs in Belarus should be creating of national network of YWPs. That would allow us to work together on solving existing problems, to cooperate in our research and would create more possibilities for international cooperation.

How could we make the water sector more attractive for young water professionals in Belarus?

In making water sector more attractive I would like to name two points: improving cooperation between researchers and professionals and expanding the education on water related issues. To improve cooperation between researchers and professionals is important because it will open knew possibilities for both sides - research can be focused on practical problems that need innovative improvement, professionals would be aware of advanced research in the field.

Ina: cooperation between researchers and professionals is very important: research could be focused on practical problems that need innovative im- provement, professionals would be aware of advanced research in the field.

Education on water issues is important to attract young people into the field. Unfortunately, only water professionals are aware of how complicated and broad are questions, related to water, but the average person is concerned only about household needs like clean drinking water. If we will make knowledge about water problems more commonly known, we can engage more young people in research and practice in the field.

Ina, why is it important for YWPs to participate at the Conference during scientific carrier?

I think that participating in conferences during scientific carrier is important because of several reasons. First of all, it is a good possibility to have the feedback on your work from your colleagues from different places. Young scientists can get advices from senior colleagues, and senior professionals can get the chance to see the problem from another point of view. Every conference is a good chance to meet people that work in the same field, to share opinions, to discuss problems. Another important point is making new contacts with colleagues. It is also a good possibility to broaden your knowledge in the field you work and related issues, to update what you do know about the advanced research.

Do you think that IWA should have a strategy to promote senior and YWP ideas trough research funds apart from the very well known awards of IWA?

Promotion and support of research ideas is very important. I think the most important is promotion of collaboration between researches and professionals. It would be good if IWA will help professionals to find researches that have ideas for improving water sector functioning, and researchers to find professionals that are ready to introduce new ideas to practice.

 

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