Organizing this year’s Dubrovnik International ESEE Mining school has been a real challenge due to Covid-19 circumstances which made it impossible for most of our European partners and collagues to participate live from Dubrovnik. Therefore, by the end of August the decision was made to organize a ”hybrid” event where some of the participants will be present live in Dubrovnik with full implementation of all safety measures, and others will participate online via interactive b2match platform. Lecturers were asked to pre-record their lectures and remain at disposal for a live Q&A session during DIM ESEE week.

DIM ESEE school was finally held from 12th to 16th October 2020 at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik under the topic Small mining sites – Innovation in exploitation and processing, gathering 15 participants from Croatia on the spot and additional 40 international participants connected via b2match platform. Online participants had to follow their b2match agenda every day and connect directly to live sessions or watch pre-recorded videos uploaded to Vimeo. During Q&A sessions, questions were asked directly in the meeting or via Chat session.

The hybrid form of event proved to be an advantage when it comes to the number of participants – the course gathered altogether 55 participans, more than it would have been possible if the event was only in physical form. Among the participats, there were academicians, MA and PhD students and engineers representing 16 different institutions from 12 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine), while 14 lecturers, prominent experts from raw materials sector, represented Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Only the lecturer from Croatia held the lecture live from IUC, Dubrovnik.

On the first day, Monday 12th October, there was an Opening ceremony including speeches by Krzysztof Kubacki (EIT RawMaterials Innovation Hub CLC East, Innovation Hub Director), Prof. Michal Cehlar (Dean of the Faculty of Mining, Ecology, Process Control and Geotechnologies,Technical University of Košice) and Assist. Prof. Vječislav Bohanek – School director (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering). Afterwards at the Round table on the topic Small mining sites: Innovation in exploitation and processing, four panellists, Krzysztof Kubacki, Dr. Doru Anghelache (EFEE – European Federation of Explosives Engineers), Prof. Roman Dychkovskyi (Deputy vice-rector for Scientific Affairs, Dnipro University of Technology) and Ing. Darina Štyriaková, PhD (Ekolive s.r.o.) discussed current trends and challenges related to explosives, mechanic excavation, mineral processing and innovation in the sector.

Throughout the week, participants worked in three groups on selected case studies, mentored by the lecturers via online meetings. On Friday, the most successful case study pitch earned a symbolic prize to the members of the group. During the Closing ceremony, school organizers presented outlines of the new version of the project that will be implemented under the title DIM ESEE-2: Implementing innovation for the following four years.

DIM ESEE organizers would like to cordially thank all the lecturers and participants for their patience and support during the hybrid school implementation. Hope to see you next year in Dubrovnik!