In 2002, refining and petrochemical group Unipetrol launched its collaboration with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (UCT), which culminated in 2015 with the foundation of the University Centre UCT Prague – Unipetrol Litvínov. The Centre is situated right on the premises of Unipetrol’s manufacturing plant in Záluží near Litvínov. It is a unique project in the Czech Republic but also in Europe when a public institution of higher education is located on a commercial production site. It also provides a unique opportunity to use theoretical knowledge in practice, which is what both schools and industrial businesses have wished for many years. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague has now become another partner of the Centre. It plans to include the instruction of two to three subjects on the site. With the University Centre’s expansion, Unipetrol is increasing the opportunities for university studies in the Ústí Region and helps to build the region’s attractiveness and competitiveness.
The new name will be University Centre Litvínov UCT – FE CTU – ORLEN Unipetrol (in Czech: Univerzitní centrum Litvínov VŠCHT – FS ČVUT – ORLEN Unipetrol). All three parties agreed on the name when signing a memorandum of cooperation. The University Centre is based in Chempark and is significantly involved in collaboration with the Unipetrol Centre for Research and Education (UniCRE). UniCRE offers students a broad range of possibilities to be engaged in real-life projects. They register 35 undergraduates in three bachelor’s and one follow-up degree programmes. Chempark in Záluží near Litvínov is the largest manufacturing site of the Unipetrol Group with 2,500 employees.
“We are pleased that the foundation of our development has gained another level thanks to the collaboration between the University Centre on our production site and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University. With this move, we are getting another step forward on the path of the Czech industry to a more intensive combination of theory and practice. With expanded study opportunities in the Ústí Region, we will also contribute to boosting the region’s attractiveness and competitiveness in the Czech Republic,” says Tomasz Wiatrak, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unipetrol Group.
“As part of its competences, CTU’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has long felt its shared responsibility for the competitiveness of the local industry, hence the entire Czech Republic’s economy, in global markets. We want to prepare enough graduates with appropriate education, offer knowledge with innovation potential for the industry, and build the ecosystems of collaboration with industrial partners actively,” says Michael Valášek, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University. He adds: “The memorandum we have signed materialises this approach of the Czech Technical University, which goes well beyond the attitudes of standard universities. The expanded University Centre Litvínov UCT– FE CTU – ORLEN Unipetrol is actually an ecosystem where our role is to transform the knowledge of UCT colleagues into the application in the facilities of Unipetrol, which is our common industrial partner. Of course, the University Centre has a much broader reach, and it will impact the entire segment and region.”
“Education is the fundamental prerequisite for any future increase in the living standards of any nation. We must educate new experts and managers who will continue the efforts of the current and past generations. As a significant employer and one of the largest companies in the Czech Republic that is part of its critical infrastructure, we are aware of our responsibility and invest in support and promotion of education at all levels. Over five years of existence, a total of 112 students have successfully completed at the University Centre. I am pleased this number will multiply thanks to the new era we are opening right now,” explains Tomáš Herink, a member of the Board of Directors of the Unipetrol Group and a UCT graduate and university pedagogue.
“The University Centre Litvínov offers university education with an individual approach to students, as is a good tradition of the University of Chemistry and Technology. It is also possible thanks to exceptionally close contacts with the industrial practice of Unipetrol and research-oriented centre, UniCRE. We want to continue developing our activities within the University Centre Litvínov UCT – FE CTU – ORLEN Unipetrol with regard to the requirements of modern industrial firms in the region. We want the centre to be attractive for the prospective students and to offer them education with good prospects on the labour market. I am pleased that the new partnership with FE CTU will not only expand the offer of subjects for students but also contribute to the development of joint research activities that are an integral part of any university environment. For the benefit of all stakeholders, we will work towards the joint submissions of scientific and research projects in the Czech Republic and abroad, including the programme calls of the European Union. As a native of nearby Louny, I am delighted that the University Centre’s expanded collaboration will encourage high-quality education opportunities and drive world-leading applied research in the beautiful, yet historically sorely tried Ústí Region,” says Pavel Matějka, Rector of University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.
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