Project 5-100 to Receive Eleven Billion in 2016May 19, 2016
On 19 May, the Government of the Russian Federation met to discuss, among other things, the competitive abilities of Russian universities among global research and education centers. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that 11 billion rubles will be allocated to Project 5-100 in 2016.
Medvedev told the Government that each university has to formulate its own unique development concept and present it to the Council on Competitiveness Enhancement of Leading Russia Universities among Leading Global Research and Education Centers. The Prime Minister attended the last meeting of the Council and observed how the universities’ results are summed up. Medvedev informed the cabinet that “Overall, 30 billion rubles have been allocated so far. In the current year we have provided for university subsidies in the amount of 11 billion rubles; this money is being allocated at the moment”. He also spoke about the development of Project 5-100 and its interim results: “The number of universities in general university rankings is growing (so far, our universities are not in the places where we want them to be, but they are moving in the right direction). The positions in by-subject rankings are also improving; mind you, not only those positions where we have always been strong (physics and math), but also, in the last two years, we have significantly improved our standing in several social sciences”.
Dmitry Livanov (Minister of Education and Science of Russia) continued listing the results of Project 5-100 and noted that “Project universities have increased the number of their publications in international science journals by 2.5 times over the last 3 years; the number of most highly cited publications (the top 10%) has grown 3.5 times”. He also noted the success of our universities in the field of internationalization and how much they have improved their positions in the rankings: “The number of foreign students studying in Project universities has doubled; the number of employees with experience in the world’s leading university centers has increased by more than 10 times. As a result, the number of Project universities appearing in the best university rankings has increased from five to thirteen; moreover, five Project universities are listed in the top 400 of world university rankings”.
Livanov noted the importance of by-subject rankings and the results of our universities therein: “Historically, our universities are strong in physics, natural sciences, mathematics and information technologies. That’s why we are monitoring by-subject rankings along with general university league tables. We have achieved significant progress in by-subject rankings as well. In various field ratings our universities have taken fourteen positions in the top 200. I’m speaking of Novosibirsk State, MIPT, MEPhI (in the physics and math rankings) and of the Higher School of Economics (in social sciences and humanities). Kazan Federal University, Tomsk University, St. Petersburg Polytech and many others are also actively climbing towards the top”.
At the end of his speech, the Minister mentioned international cooperation, modernization of the system of university governance and the wisdom of having the Project shift its attention from merely backing general common measures to supporting individual priority directions of those structural subdivisions of the universities which will ensure their rapid development, solutions of scientific and technological problems, and dissemination of the best practices of the Project to other schools.
Eduard Galazhinsky (Rector of Tomsk State University) and Sergei Kirienko (General Director of RosAtom and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI) also spoke at this meeting of the Government and told the ministers about the processes of real changes and transformation of TSU and MEPhI. Galazhinsky noted that Project 5-100 “is not just a vehicle for assisting the government to subsidize universities, but an extremely important tool in helping to re-build Russian education and take it to the avangarde of global education. In my opinion, the program itself is a powerful stimulus -- a strong driver helping to form a community of leading Russian universities-- to encourage experience sharing and to set an example of how Russian education should develop in the future”. Sergei Kirienko agreed with Galazhinsky and added “We joined the program at the very beginning, and I must say it works. People at MEPhI have started to think differently. This is the first time that I have seen university people think and communicate similarly to large business corporations. They are thinking about strategy and are weighing their competitive advantages. I believe this is the biggest and the most important change”.
Veronica Skvortsova (Minister of Healthcare) said that her ministry is a sincere supporter of Project 5-100 and noted that the first medical school – Sechenov First Moscow Medical University – joined the Project in 2015. Skvortsova went on to add: “We can now say with certainty that the goals set by the Project are extremely important; they help to raise the universities to a higher level and re-build their development programs. We are preparing a significant number of our medical schools for participation in further contest procedures and, we certainly want them to develop in accordance with programs close to the one proposed by the Ministry of Education and Science”.
Vladimir Fortov (President of the Russian Academy of Science) said that “Of course the numbers are very impressive, meaning that this is obviously a movement in the right direction” and encouraged his colleagues to pay future attention to the science part of the process saying that “the potential of the Academy of Science must be used, and we are willing to help”.
In conclusion, Medvedev offered: “Notwithstanding several small nuances, we believe that we are on the right path toward improvement of our leading universities. We will continue our support; the money will be allocated and the universities will receive it. I hope that they will spend wisely and reach the goals that we have in mind. Let me repeat that, obviously, we need these rating not for the ratings’ sake, but for the improvement of knowledge”. He went on to add that “As far as the use of scientific criteria is concerned, there can be no doubt that we have to do everything possible to develop university science, and, therefore, this science has to be a key indicator in these ratings”.