The fourth Network-Wide Event (NWE4) of MSCA ETN SOCRATES took place on September 13 and 14, 2018, in Leuven (Belgium). It was an important event, as the midterm evaluation was scheduled because the project is halfway.
The midterm evaluation meeting started with a short welcome and introduction by the project officer, Maria-Emma Campo Cossio Luhaces. She clarified that “The goal of the midterm review meeting is not to give a strict evaluation, but rather to explore how the project has been performing, how it can be improved and how any issues can be solved”.
In the coordinators report, prof. Koen Binnemans (General Coordinator) and dr. ir. Tom Jones (vice-coordinator) presented an overview of all achievements of the project so far: “The project generally is functioning very well and can demonstrate promising results. Unfortunately, there were some issues with the recruitment of ESR7, 10 and 11. Recently, ESRs 7 and 13 resigned from the project. Nevertheless, the majority of the ESRs is well on track in their PhD-research and the first peer-reviewed articles have already been published. Finally, the project video generated a lot of attention.”
Next, the ESRs presented their individual progress in a short presentation – some a bit nervous, but all very confident and proud of their results After each presentation, the PO of the EC and the external expert asked any additional questions about the work realized, the results achieved, the future planning of the PhD, and the career perspectives of the ESRs.
Afterwards, the ESRs had a closed meeting with the evaluation team without the supervisors or partners to discuss any issues the ESRs might have encountered during their first years as PhD-students.
Finally, in the final feedback session, the PO of the EC and the expert presented their positive concluding remarks: “The project is well on track. The training offered is very well thought of, providing the knowledge needed in the right order. The overall quality of the project communication and dissemination activities is very high. This is a very active consortium, in which the private sector is very dynamically involved as well. The ESRs gave excellent presentations. The working environment is so positive. Although they are in different institutions, they really work together; the project has reinforced the communication between fellows but also between supervisors. The ESRs are really a united team where communication between groups is open and fruitful. They ESRs are all highly committed and passionate about their work, the interconnection among themselves is very high both at personal and professional level.” With this encouraging message, the meeting was ended and all participants joined for a convivial dinner in the city center of Leuven – needless to say that the atmosphere was elated!
The next day, on Friday 14/09, the last day of the NWE4, the SOCRATES consortium gathered to further review the project’s progress during the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and Supervisory Board (SB). Various decisions were taken to ensure that the project stays on track.
Finally, the NWE4 concluded with a workshop about the materials flow in the project. The goal of this workshop was to strengthen the integration of the individual ESR PhD-topics into several zero-waste flowsheets. In each flowsheet, different ESR topics are related. ESRs and senior members work together in flowsheet groups to refine these flowsheets, to align the different process steps, i.e., what are input requirements for a downstream process vs. what are the output possibilities of an upstream process. Following this, a thermo-economic analysis and life cycle assessment of the flowsheet will be performed.
Previous to the NWE4, the ESRs participated to the projects’ Summer School “To mine or not to mine: Multi-criteria assessment of the landfill mining of municipal and industrial solid waste deposits”.