September 16, 2015

Faculty Spotlight Prof. Helmut KROISS

Today in conversation with Em.O.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Dr.h.c. Helmut Kroiss (TU Wien, Institute of Water Quality, Resources and Waste Management), Faculty Member

What do you think is special about the ETIA master program?
The ETIA master program is still unique on a global scale. It is based on a combination of diplomatic and environmental engineering postgraduate courses open to a great variety of academics from different disciplines. The courses are held by highly qualified professionals from also a great variety of disciplines and it is an international course in English language with participants from all over the globe. All this contributes to a unique environment with a high challenge for the students as well as for the teachers. For the students it provides an excellent opportunity to become a member of a global network of experts for solving environmental problems which always need political and legal as well as scientific and technological expertise.  The master program is favouring networking of the students also with their teachers. The contact with international experts plays also an important role.

What are the key aspects of your lecture?
The key aspect of my lecture on waste water infrastructure is a basic understanding of the problems caused in urban settlements by the use of water for different purposes and  solutions able to protect public health to prevent flooding during rain fall and to maintain receiving water adequate technologies. This topic also offers the possibility to teach a basic scientific understanding of living systems with their specific properties. On the one hand human behaviour is reflected in the waste water characteristics on the other hand biological processes are used to restore the quality of the waste water in a way that the water and valuable waste water compounds can be reused or recycled.

How is the contact with the students? And what are the differences to students of regular study programs?
As the number of students is between 20 and 30 we are teaching a team rather than to a number of students. It is especially interesting and challenging to have students with completely different scientific background and also from a great variety of different mother tongues and cultures. The main challenge seems to realise that the goal of our courses primarily is not to enable the students to solve environmental problems themselves but to enable them to catalyse solutions in the complex reality between policy, science and technology.

What do you think are the prospects of ETIA graduates on the (international) labour market?
Environmental problems have a strong international aspect as air and water are global transport systems for materials. Air pollution, climate gases and also water pollution cross national borders and have to be solved by co-operation and mutual understanding. Without international co-operation on the policy level and sound scientific analyses of the problems solutions cannot be developed and implemented. ETIA masters have a great opportunity to find a job in all international organisations dealing with environmental problems like UN agencies, European institutions, large NGO’s but also increasingly internationally acting companies providing technology and solutions. There is an increasing number of international river basin management organisations like Danube, Mekong and Nile. All these organisations have to solve the political problems based on diplomacy as well as financial and technical problems based on sound scientific methods and adequate technology strongly depending on the specific local situation.

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