En blogg från Högskolan i Borås

måndag 3 oktober 2016

Staff mobility at the Technical University of Liberec, Czech Republic

Sina Seipel - Doctoral Student at the Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business, Department of Textile Technology

Dobrý den! (Hello!)

In September I had the opportunity to take part in the Erasmus+ staff mobility program for training. For my exchange I chose the Technical University of Liberec, which was founded in 1953 with a background in mechanical and textile engineering. Today the university has 7 faculties and a total number of approx. 10 000 students. 
  • Faculty of Mechanical Engineering 
  • Faculty of Textile Engineering 
  • Faculty of Science-Humanities and Education 
  • Faculty of Economics 
  • Faculty of Arts and Architecture 
  • Faculty of Mechatronics, Informatics and Inter-Disciplinary Studies
  • Faculty of Health Studies

As I am a doctoral student in the field of Textile Material Technology I visited the Department of Material Engineering at the Faculty of Textile Engineering to learn more about the characterisation of smart dyes applied on textiles with spectrophotometry. The department is, among other areas, specialised in colorimetry and the development of textile sensorical systems based on smart materials. Their educational and research activities are in large extent compatible but at the same time very much complementing to the specialisation of my doctoral field. This match made it ideal for me to learn more in depth about spectrophotometry and its application for photochromic textile materials. Throughout my stay I could gather a lot of new knowledge and ideas by job shadowing of lab work and participating in group workshops and presentations together with the professors Martina Viková and Michal Vik, doctoral students of the department and an exchange student from Turkey. Eventually, I also did some hands-on work at the measurement instrument to get practical experience. 

Research group meeting
Spectrophotometric measurement of photochromic prints 

The city of Liberec is the former textile center of the Czech Republic and lies in the very North of the country. It is not only comparable to Borås because of its textile background, but also in size and landscape-wise. With round about 100 000 inhabitants Liberec is the the third largest city in Bohemia with only Prague and Plzeň being larger. Liberec is surrounded by mountains from northeast and southwest with the river Lusatian Neisse flowing through it. For the textile industry it was essential to have access to a river for the production. The climate in the area was ideal for flax to grow, which was the reason for linen weaving mills and cloth manufactures to arise during the 16th century. In the late 19th century, the textile industry and the city's wealth had reached its peak. During this time countless villas and the beautiful town hall were built. 

Villa area around the university 
Former textile worker accommodation area
Liberec town hall 

The city is also known for its abundant sports activities that the beautiful surrounding nature invites to: mountain biking, trail running, paddling, cross country skiing and much more. One of my first impressions of the life in Liberec was when I passed by a nearby lake. The local kayaking club was training for a competition which took place the next weekend, children were swimming in the lake and playing by the beach and at the shore was an inviting restaurant where people enjoyed some food and a refreshing drink (in Sweden it is called beer, but in the Czech Republic it is more referred to as water). I liked the mix of all leisure activities at the same time and felt invited to join in one way or another. 

Kayak training at lake Harcov
A proper glass would have made it perfect 

On the weekend I could not hold myself back from doing what I love to do in my free time - compete in running. On a chilly and rainy Sunday, I took part in a mountain race at Liberec's famous landmark and local mountain Ještěd: 20 km and 1350 m of elevation. Unfortunately, the day was too misty so I could not enjoy the view when I reached the top, but I was very happy anyways when I reached the finish line.

Ještěd peak and tower
Start of Ještěd half marathon
Tired but happy me 

Overall, I am glad for the experiences that I have made during the three weeks in Liberec - both educational and cultural. I am thankful for the knowledge and new perspectives to look at my field of doctoral studies that I have learned from the staff at the Faculty of Textile Engineering. This exchange was important for me as a young researcher and teacher to get to know practices at other educational institutions. Furthermore, I hope that this stay can strengthen collaborations and exchanges between our research teams in the future. And last but not least, I am happy for the personal experience. To stay in a different country, to meet new people and to get to know a new culture is always enriching and nothing I want to miss in life. 

Sina Seipel

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