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The goal of Project 5-100 is to maximize the competitive position of a group of leading Russian universities in the global research and education market.

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Press Services of Project 5-100 Participants Studied International Promotion Strategies

April 23, 2015

On 20-21 April, Project Office 5-100 and Newton Group conducted a seminar-workshop for press services and PR departments of the university-participants in Project 5-100. The workshop, which was organized in the International Agency “Rossiya Segodnya”, was the first of a series of events aimed at studying the specifics of international promotion and working with foreign media outlets and various international audiences.

Julia Selyukova (Head of University Marketing and Development, Project Office 5-100) described the current situation as follows: “5-100 universities are already working effectively in the Russian media environment; however, the goal of the Project is the internationalization of universities and the building and strengthening of their reputation worldwide, which would enable these universities to attract more foreign students and professors”.

Russian and foreign specialists in academic marketing and PR shared their professional secrets with the participants in the workshop. For example, Moonju Cho (Press Manager of Seoul National University, SNU) told the audience about how modest indicators in global rankings had forced the leading South Korean university to develop and implement a world recognition strategy. Sarah Failla (Communications and External Relations Officer at Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University) shared her organizational experience in the realm of popularizing “knowledge” as a general concept with limitless benefits both practical and idealistic. Davis Center conducts many seminars and public lectures which are recorded and published for the general public. The Center also makes documentaries, digitalizes library resources and develops awareness within the alumni community.

The topic was continued by Sergei Samoylenko, who presented the case of George Mason University (USA) – one of the pioneers in the sphere of training specialists in academic communications. “In Russia only about 400 people are academic communicators”, Samoylenko said. “Russian scientists do not have a culture of promoting their products”, echoed Maxim Khomyakov (Provost, Ural Federal University).

Many speakers said that giving scientific news a “human dimension” is extremely effective. This can be done in the form of commentary of university experts on general problems concerning our society (climate changes, healthcare etc). These comments must have a simple, friendly form, with, videos often being the best means of conveying and promoting these ideas

How the mechanism of transmitting scientific university news to the general public works in practice was demonstrated by Jaoming Fu (Professor of the National Taiwan University). His colleague – Sun Yue (Professor, journalist and popular blogger) shared his vision of the manner in which leading Russian universities can strengthen their position in the Chinese educational market.

Ilya Kiria (Professor, Department of Communications, Media and Design, Higher School of Economics) presented the main components of a PR strategy of an educational institution aimed at strengthening external ties in the international community. “There is no information vacuum”, the expert said. According to Kiria, university press services must be able to manage newsworthy events and the media cycle and never ignore the task of constant maintenance of the information background.

Another section of the program was devoted to the tools which can make the work of press services more effective and enable them to best evaluate the results of their efforts. This workshop featured representatives of the information and analytical system “Medialogia”, the consulting company “Silamedia”, a system of social media monitoring known as “BrandSpotter,” and the leading international player in the sphere of communications - “PR Newswire”. Oksana Silantyeva (Founder of Silamedia) surprised the audience by stating that Internet marketing is experiencing a “second birth” and that direct e-mail is highly effective. Mira Bergelson (Editor of the English-language version of the website of the President of the Russian Federation) spoke about the main communication channel between a university and its desired international target audience – English-language websites. She pointed out the most typical errors made by website administrators when filling the website with English content.

The seminar also featured a practical workshop – group work led by Ilya Kiria, Alexei Glazyrin (Director of Newton Group) and Konstantin Pogorelsky (Director of the Expert club Ural-Eurasia).

Representatives of Project 5-100 universities participating in the workshop in turn shared their opinions:

Kamill Gareev (KFU): “I really liked the idea mentioned by several speakers that when an academic article is written for Scopus its popular double in simple layman language is published as well. People had been trying to convince me that scientists’ job is science while popularization is a job for other people and that these two things never intersect. It turned out that this is not true: international experience clearly demonstrates that we must work together. Now I have a strong argument and an example of how to organize my work.”

Evgeniy Kornilov (SSAU): “The progress of these events is obvious – the topics and the selection of speakers are getting more precise – more in line with the type of situation our universities are currently in. The level of speakers and the quality of their presentations are improving. A presentation where nothing interesting or important was said? No, we didn’t have anything like that here.”

Stanislav Goryachev (MIPT): “In the course of the 2-day seminar I found out, on the one hand, many new and interesting things; and, on the other hand, I became more certain that the solutions chosen by Phystech for its communication strategy are correct. The importance of the steps made by our institute in terms of public communications was confirmed in this seminar. I am inspired to continue working in this direction and see success in the future.”