Friday 19 August 2022

'We are exploring sinergies for future collaboration'


From left to right: Frank Lujaji PhD (DSIT), Thomas Kivevele PhD (NMAIT), and Tamás Tábi PhD (BME) at the Polymer Engineering Laboratory at BME

Two researchers from Tanzania, Frank C. Lujaji PhD (Dar-es-Salaam Institute of Technology) and Thomas Kivevele PhD (Nelson Mandela African Institute of Technology) explored the research opportunities at BME at the beginning of July. The visit of the two scholars is supported by ERASMUS+, under the invitation of Ákos Bereczky PhD, associate professor of the BME Department of Energy Engineering. Dr. Lujaji and Dr. Kivevele have already been at BME over ten years as a students of this university. 

Where did you study before, and when did you get to know BME opportunities?

Frank Lujaji: I came from Dar-es-Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), the oldest technical institution in Tanzania. I completed my Master's and PhD degrees in South Africa, and  I considered a great fortune to be invited for four months to BME with the help of a "Tét" project, by Ákos Bereczky, in July 2009. I was working at an engine test lab, where I ran biofuel tests, to investigate engine performance, and I also did characterisations at the laboratories of the BME Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (VBK).

 Currently I am the campus director to start and register new programmes, and I also work as a mechanical engineering lecturer. Today I am here for the second time, but this visit takes only ten days. We hope, that we or our fellow researchers can return soon.

Thomas Kivevele: I work for the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Technology located in Arusha, Tanzania. I obtained my BSc degree at the University of Dar-es-Salaam and I submitted my master's studies in South Africa, but I did my research in India, and Hungary. I spent some time as a postdoctoral researcher at Baylor University in Texas.

I arrived in Budapest in November 2010. I was attending the same laboratories, I was running almost all of the experiments necessary for my thesis about original African biofuels. And I was also exploring characterisations at the chemistry laboratories. 

It was excellent being here. We learnt a professional way of doing research. We could use state-of-the-art equipment. 

You are here now with the Staff Mobility For Training within programme Erasmus+. What are the exact activities during your visit? 

Ákos Bereczky PhD

Frank Lujaji:
 This International Credit Mobility programme was supposed to start with student exchange. So far, only one student could come here from Tanzania, due to COVID restrictions, but he had to travel back to Tanzania. Our current visit is taking place as part of a staff mobility. We explored areas, and we collaborated in the mobility programme, to complete the work of the current project, but also to explore other research areas for future collaborations.

The visited Faculties were the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (GPK), the Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering (KJK), the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (VBK), the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK), also two laboratories of BME Centre for University-Industry Cooperation (FIEK), the Faculty of Natural Sciences (TTK) and the Institute of Nuclear Techniques (NTI), and the Training Reactor,  the Faculty of Civil Engineering (ÉMK), the Faculty of Architecture (ÉPK), and the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (GTK).

 Thomas Kivevele: The three-year project had two mobility categories: student mobility for studies and staff mobility for teaching or training. Now we are exploring staff exchange. Our main goal is to meet different staff members, visit different laboratories, and find synergies to make this project sustainable after the the close of the mobility programme as well. Now we got to know, whom we can contact at BME.

 What are the main differences between Tanzania and Hungary?

 Frank Lujaji: In Hungary, academicians are committed to research in their private labs, while in my country, there are rather centralised labs with general access. But we have challenges having access to more specialised equipment.

Thomas Kivevele: We both have similar challenges, access to funds, et cetera. Hungarian people are kind, nothing to complain about so far. Ákos Bereczky is keeping us busy (laughing), and does not let us survive alone. We, Tanzanians are also welcoming, warm-hearted people.

 Ákos Bereczky: What is important to highlight, four years ago we were delighted that there was a possibility to start this cooperation. Unfortunately, there were challenges in making this cooperation finish perfectly. Finally, we are very happy, that one student could also come, despite the travelling difficulties and restrictions. I hope, we could not only improve our cooperation, but I hope, it can be more general cooperation with Tanzanian universities and BME. This is the target at the moment.

 László Benesóczky

(Photo: Ákos Bereczky, János Philip)