Distance Learning Course in Chemometrics 
for Technological and Natural-Science Mastership Education

Granted by

by the Nordic Council of Ministers in the frames of the programme: Nordic Russian Cooperation in Education Preparatory Actions 2008

Background 

In the last two decades, considerable advances in measuring instruments have made possible their on-line use in different industrial processes resulting in obtaining huge sets of data. At the same time, progress in computer engineering allowed these data sets not only to be collected and stored but also to be processed. The data related to for example process control, product quality control, environmental monitoring, etc. are generally multivariate and it is difficult to determine relative importance of the measured variables. Classical statistical approach has definite limitations in solving similar tasks and multivariate methods are essential in processing such data sets. 

Chemometrics as a multivariate data analysis represents the modern approach to modeling different processes allowing to handle large data sets and to analyze links existing in the system under study. Nowadays chemometrics applications cover a wide range of industrial and scientific tasks. Chemometric methods have found their use in the food, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, petrochemical, and chemical industries. Environmental monitoring is also the area where the multivariate approach is intensively used. In the research field, chemometrics originated from processing NIR-spectra data finds nowadays the wide use and has revolutionized for example biological investigations when applying to handling metabonomics and metabolomics data. 

Presently an engineer and a researcher face increasingly with a need to use mathematical and statistical methods in their everyday practice and it is essential for them to master chemometric approach to multivariate data processing. A number of Nordic Universities have a great experience in chemometrics education, which could be shared with the Russian University partners. On the other hand, the Russian partners have developed an outline of the internet-based chemometric learning program, which could be of interest to the Nordic partners, including special software in Excel. This cooperation could result in developing of a new Mastership Chemometrics program with emphasis on distance and virtual learning. The submitted project combines the partners represented by Nordic and North-West Russia's Universities including those who are interested in working out Master's Degree Programmes for Chemical and Environmental Engineers and a Research institution dealing with theoretical studies in chemometrics.

The goal 

of the project is to enhance a long term partners' cooperation in developing of a new Mastership Chemometrics program with emphasis on distance and virtual learning.

Project Partners and Their Responsibilities 

The project partners have a long-term scientific cooperation history. The project outlines have previously been discussed during the partners meetings at the chemometric conferences WSC-5 (Samara, 2006), SSC-10 (Lappeenranta, 2007), and WSC-6 (Kazan, 2008). The partners constitute a congruous team in which all members play their individual role. The team includes the following partners. 

Saint Petersburg State Technological University of Plant Polymers (SPb STUPP), an applicant and a project coordinator, - is the only higher educational establishment in the Russian Federation providing integrated training of specialists for industrial enterprises engaged in in-depth chemical processing of wood as well as for power sector. The majority of University graduates work in the forest, pulp and paper industries, the chemical industry, the power sector of Russia, CIS and foreign countries. These are the industries where on-line multivariate data analysis is strongly required in many manufacturing aspects as it has been demonstrated in a lot of applied studies carried out by other project partners. Because of this, the university is making efforts to include chemometrics training components into its educational process. SPb STUPP will contribute to the network with voluntary work on organization of the one-day workshop on theoretical and applied chemometrics issues in Saint Petersburg as well as with compiling a data base on the available chemometrics training courses (in-kinds contribution). 

Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Department of Chemical Technology  is a national university of technology and economics financed by the Ministry of Education (Finland). LUT`s areas of strength are related to the forest industry and metal clusters, electrical engineering, energy, economics as well as to information and communication technologies. LUT`s location on the border between the EU and Russia has also had a major impact on the university's activities and orientation. LUT provides a range of international study opportunities. For example, there are nine international programmes in technology and business offered in English. There have also been established programmes in so called double diploma scheme, between LUT and SPb STUPP in particular. The LUT contribution will come out through Chemometrics Group (Laboratory of Chemistry) which is well known both nationally and internationally. Research and teaching of chemometrics has been started in early 1980's. Application areas have covered both academically and industrially interesting topics. The most well-known members of the group are Prof. Pentti Minkkinen and D.Sc. Satu-Pia Reinikainen, who has contributed internationally in organizing several international conferences, as well as, acted as editors for several years in various editorial tasks for Elsevier and Wiley. The Group has been a partner in an EU funded Network of Excellence: Virtual Institute for Chemometrics and Industrial Metrology (VICIM), together with 12 other international partners. The group also holds chemometric courses on regular bases on the M. Sc. and higher levels. Distance and e-Learning methods constitute a part of most educational programmes of LUT. 

Aalborg University Esbjerg (AAUE) is well-known for its chemometrics activity. One of the leading university research group, Applied Chemometrics, Analytical Chemistry, and Sampling Research Group (ACABS), is a significant world wide contributor to frontline R&D in applied chemometrics, analytical chemistry, sampling, applied biotechnology and bioenergy production. ACABS has good relations with Russian Chemometrics Society, takes part in organization of Winter Symposia on Chemometrics and the head of the group, Prof. Kim Esbensen, is an author of popular textbook "Multivariate Data Analysis in Practice". Another important part of AAUE activity is informational and communication technologies with two related departments - Computer Science and Mediology. ACABS will contribute to the network with an ICT specialist who is also a developer and web-master of web-site "Chemometrics in Russia". 

Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics Russian Academy of Sciences (ICP RAS) is an internationally respected and networked research centre, which is represented by the Department of Mathematical Methods in Chemical Physics. ICP RAS is famous as a world leader in chemical physics, kinetics, and, now, as a focus of chemometric dissemination in Russia. ICP RAS is a host for a non profit science association Russian Chemometrics Society (RCS), which secretary Dr. Oxana Rodionova represents ICP RAS in the project. ICP RAS will contribute to the project with an outline of the chemometric educational program presented now at the web site Chemometrics in Russia. This program is to be used as a model for the virtual learning in chemometrics being developed in the project.

Objectives 

The short-term objective of the project is to enhance the network for collecting and exchanging information on the distance and virtual learning in chemometrics, compile data base on this basis and draft educational materials for establishing new internet based curricula elements at partner-universities. The long-term objective is expanding cooperation in both educational and research fields, involving students, post-graduates, teachers and researchers through their participation in project activities. The latter will also contribute to further development of university cooperation in the frameworks of the Bologna Process. The overall objective of network cooperation as the project follow-up is providing conditions for development of chemometrics applications in North-West Russia's economy and science through improved training of specialists skilled in this field. In addition, the project will contribute to further collaboration between partners on the basis of common interest in development of theoretical issues of chemometrics and their integrated use in practice including the industrial applications and environmental monitoring. 

Project targets: 

-- Information Collection and Exchange Target: 

  1. Summing up of project partner countries experience in chemometric education. 

  2. Collecting information about the software products used in chemometric education. 

  3. Compiling data base of the information collected - in-kinds contribution of SPb STUPP.

-- Educational Target 

  1. Listing subjects of the existing Chemometrics profile Curricula in some of partner universities for them to be enriched with urgent chemometrics issues. 

  2. Listing the requirements to a software product to be the most suitable for chemometric education. 

  3. Developing recommendations for introducing Chemometrics course into Master's Degree Programme Curricula at SPb STUPP Faculties of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

  4. Evaluation of feasibility of distance learning in chemometrics as a part of joint education at LUT and SPb STUPP in the frames of a Double Diploma Scheme: particularly, adaptation of this course to a LUT' international Master's Degree Programme in chemical and process engineering. 

-- Research Target 
  1. Discussing new developments in applied and theoretical chemometrics through arrangement and holding of a Workshop in Saint Petersburg with presentations to be made by network representatives and Saint Petersburg scientists dealing with chemometrics. 

  2. Drawing up long-term plans for further collaboration based on the enlarged network established during a period of project implementation. 

  3. Drafting the joint projects in educational and research fields for fund-raising in order to achieve further sustainability of the network. 

Events

1. A Workshop in Esbjerg, AAUE, Denmark - 3 days in October of 2008.  

2. A Workshop in Saint Petersburg, Russia, SPb STUPP - 4 days in February of 2009. 

3. A Meeting of a project team in Lappeenranta, Finland, LUT, 3 days in May of 2009. 

Proposed effect: 

Evaluation: 

the number of publications (including joint ones) and presentations at the events inside and outside the project; formed data base, the number of technological curricula discussed in terms of their potential for inserting virtual chemometric components into them.. 

Dissemination: 

through the web-sites of partners, publications in different specialized journals, presentations at workshops (including those arranged inside the project), conferences and other events as well as through the specialized web-site of the Russian Chemometrics Society.

Report: 

may be found at web-site Chemometrics.RU


Last modification: 06.01.13