Education at MINATEC: 2021 achievements
Interview: Grenoble INP third-year student and cofounder of the Think What Matters student collective, David Martin-Chevalier
Tell us about Think What Matters.
We are a collective of around ten students from Grenoble INP, Sciences Po Grenoble, UGA, and INSA Lyon. We started the collective in late 2019 to make information about the environmental transition more accessible and, therefore, make the transition more inclusive, something that was missing. We organize lectures and panel talks not only for students, to make them more aware of their role, but also for scientists. The idea is to hone our critical thinking skills by working together and to explore new approaches to innovation.
What do your fellow students think of it?
Interest is definitely growing. Increasingly, students want a forum to express their ideas and a way to make a difference. This year we plan to bring more students in so that we can expand our initiatives.
And what are those initiatives?
We use social media, where we regularly post non-specialist articles on a variety of topics, from consumption trends to energy in Africa. At the December 18 Midi MINATEC we talked about 2Q2F, the method we are developing for scientists to help them ask the right questions about innovation and for engineers to rethink how they approach specifications. In January we started working with Phelma faculty on how to bring social and environmental issues into the curriculum. And, coming up next spring, the collective will take part in the student COP2 as well as an IRT Nanoelec webinar on sustainable electronics.
Phelma engages students through flipped classrooms
Grenoble INP-Phelma faculty members Fanny Poinsotte and Nicolas Ruty have been using flipped classrooms to teach their electronics classes for three years now. They are both contributing to a project called CHA(I)Se to encourage more active learning and group work. Four classrooms at MINATEC and two on the Grenoble-Alpes University campus have been equipped for this kind of learning through the project, which is financed through the French government’s IDEX educational initiative.
The traditional classroom furniture was replaced with much more modular six-person tables and movable chairs. The classrooms also got new displays, touch screens, and moveable whiteboards. This type of classroom—in high demand from both faculty and students—is removing the physical barriers to more student-centered learning at Phelma.
Osiris robotic irrigation system could help make farming more sustainable
Once upon a time there were three engineers, and all three came from farming families. One day, they decided to invent a smart, autonomous robot to help farmers spend less time irrigating, fertilizing, and protecting their crops. They also wanted the robot to make more economical use of water and agricultural inputs. The name of this (true!) story is Osiris Agriculture, a startup cofounded by Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA 2020 graduate Léon Guyard.
A prototype of Osiris will be tested this summer in France’s Oise district on a potato crop. The time and water saved will be calculated by comparing Osiris’ crop with a neighboring crop watered using conventional methods. If the prototype works, the company will raise funds to scale the technology up for manufacturing. Osiris Agriculture would like to see five systems in service by 2022 and 40 by 2023.V
New Masters in Biorefining and Biomaterials
The Masters in Materials Science and Engineering at Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA has added a new specialization: Biorefining and Biomaterials. The focus is the conversion of biomass into environmentally-friendly synthetic gas, hydrocarbons, cellulose fibers, biosourced cosmetics, and biomaterials.
The curriculum covers all stages of the transformation process, from plant material to fibers, and, finally, to biomolecules. All courses are taught in English. It is a joint program offered by Phelma with Grenoble INP – Pagora, UGA.
The Covid-19 pandemic did not prevent the program from getting off to a strong start: The inaugural cohort had eleven students, including ten international. The teaching team would like to double the incoming class next year and, ultimately, accept 32 students per year. The goal is to respond to growing demand from businesses seeking these competencies.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; Severin.Van-Gastel@grenoble-inp.fr
Anne Vilcot reappointed director of Phelma, focuses on 2030 strategy
Anne Vilcot, director of Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA since 2016, was reappointed for a new five-year term. She will be focusing on two major projects as part of the school’s 2030 strategy.
First, with several department heads expected to retire in the next two years, the school will need to plan ahead for a smooth transition to the new administrative team.
Second is continuous improvement, which will be intensified to achieve more efficient overall operations and make the school a better place to work for faculty and staff.
Director Vilcot plans to pursue the work she has already begun on the school’s academic programs, corporate relations, and international projects.