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A week in Freiberg… (SULTAN Network-Wide Event 2)

Following the first SULTAN Network-Wide Event (NWE) held at the Novotel in Leuven (Belgium), the second SULTAN NWE took place at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF-HZDR) in the beautiful mining town Freiberg, in Germany, from the 10th until the 13th of September 2019.

On the first day, the SULTAN colleagues reunited in Freiberg, almost 7 months after the kick-off meeting in Leuven, and were happy to greet each other again before the official meeting started. After a progress update by the SULTAN management board, the project members regrouped into their respective work package (WP) groups, discussed both WP-specific and inter-WP matters, along with the progress made by the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). Following the WP Parallel Sessions, the ESRs gathered to form the first ESR Researchers Council. They discussed good practices that they have developed to help their own research, as well as how to use social media to effectively engage with the public about the SULTAN project. In the afternoon, each of the ESRs presented their work to their colleagues and gathered feedback. To finish off the day, the ESRs met with the Management Support Team, where the progress and setbacks of each ESR were discussed and recommendations were made.

The ESRs started the second day with two training lectures, one on how to get ideas for scientific research and the other on efficient data management, given by Professor Koen Binnemans (KU Leuven). After the interesting lectures, the whole SULTAN team met with the EU Project Officer assigned to the SULTAN project. Here they received a full presentation on what the role of a EU Project Officer is and how the project evaluation process works. After a brief introduction by the partner organisations and their research team, the SULTAN management team presented the mid-term progress report regarding scientific, training and management aspects. Finally, the ESRs started presenting their research progress to the EU Project Officer.

The day finished with a visit to the world-class mineral collection at the Terra Mineralia Museum in Freiberg (https://www.terra-mineralia.de/). At this museum the SULTAN team could contemplate the astonishing collection of minerals, gems and fossils, divided by floors representing all of the continents in the world. The collection was so extensive that one of the next blog posts will be completely devoted to this amazing tour. Stay tuned!

On the third day, the remaining ESRs presented their research progress presentations to the EU Project Officer. The ESRs had a successful meeting with the Project Officer, with time for questions and general information about the programme guidelines. Subsequently, the EU Project Officer met with the SULTAN coordination and management team as well as the Beneficiaries and Partner Organisations. Overall, the EU Project Officer was satisfied and left the meeting with a very good impression on the ESR’s research and the progress of SULTAN project. On this day, the first Women Researchers Council meeting took place, where the female ESRs in the SULTAN project met to discuss how the SULTAN project can increase the visibility of women in research. Afterwards, the ESRs received individual feedback on their research, training and dissemination progress and their personal career development plan. The day ended with a detailed overview of the project’s data management plan and open access policies of the future SULTAN scientific papers.

On the final day of the Network-Wide Event, the ESRs received training on automated mineralogical systems which are available at HIF, and will be used by many of the ESRs during their work for SULTAN. The day was focused on the use of the Scanning Electron Microscope-based Mineral Liberation Analyser (SEM-based MLA), particularly how this technique can be applied to the assessment of mineral processing potential of tailings materials, as well as environmental assessments.

The SULTAN ESRs would like to express their gratitude to all of the SULTAN consortium for another successful Network-Wide Event, and especially to Dr. Max Frenzel from HIF-HZDR for organising the event.

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