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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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Project 5-100 seminar-conference held in St. Petersburg for the first time

December 16, 2014

On 8 and 9 December, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic Universityhosted a quarterly Project 5-100 seminar-conference where the realization of the roadmaps by Project participants was discussed.

The session was opened by a number of distinguished hosts who all made contributions regarding the role of their university in this process. Alexander Borovkov (Provost for promising projects, SPbPU) delivered a presentation about the progress of the university’s academic excellence program. Dmitry Arsentyev (Provost for international affairs), Maxim Odnoblyudov (Director of the united research and technology institute) and Sergei Makarov (Director of the institute of physics, nanotechnologies and telecommunications) then addressed specific aspects of the Program within the special areas of their expertise. Afterwards, the participants in the meeting were invited to take a tour of the university’s labs. The visitors had an opportunity to observe the Computer Engineering Center, the Russo-German Laser Center, the Waste Disposal Lab, and several other research facilities.

This time the traditional Project 5-100 seminar had an international component: a separate session was dedicated to a detailed presentation of Brazilian higher education. Some of the speakers and experts at the session included senior managers of the leading Brazilian universities: the University of Sao Paolo (UNESP), the Federal University Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), the Federal University Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) and the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA). The meeting was moderated by Jose Selso Freire (President of the Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI)), who spoke in detail about the specific features of the academic system of Brazil. He emphasized the fact that Brazilian citizens are granted the right to a free education under the constitution of Brazil. The meeting was continued by his colleagues, who spoke about the educational and research aspects of their universities, special programs, entry-level contest, cooperation with industrial enterprises and the common interest with the Russian universities from Project 5-100.

The round table “Charitable foundations and universities” chaired by Natalia Kaminarskaya (Executive Secretary of the Donor Forum) also attracted a considerable amount of interest. Much attention was given to the activity of the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF). Its Director, Anna Danilina, spoke about the 60 scientific innovations supported by the Foundation through a system of small grants and also emphasized the Foundation’s cooperation with the participants in Project 5-100ITMONNSU and SSAU. Speaking about the specific features of cooperation between non-government organizations and universities, Mark Pomar (USFR Director) said: “The foundations are ready to take risks and to support innovation”. This thought was supported by Oxana Oracheva (Executive Director of Vladmir Potanin’s Charitable Foundation), who made the following remarks: “The foundation provides grounds for experiments, including the necessary stimuli and support for promising start-ups which can be bulwarked by the government.” Konstatin Petrov (Programs Directors of Dmitry Zimin’s Foundation “Dynasty”) spoke about grant opportunities provided by his organization to talented young physicists and mathematicians. Philipp Kazin (ITMO representative) shared his university’s experience of cooperation with charitable societies and the Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko. He told his audience about the building of a stable system of social design as of the elements of a university ecosystem. His colleague Alexei Demidov (Head of project development) drew everyone’s attention to the legal aspects of the collaboration between universities and charities and paused to elaborate on details of the relevant provisions of the Russian law.

On 8 December, meetings were organized by the two network cooperation groups. Tatiana Ishmuratova (Advisor to Provost, HSE) and Yulia Grinkevich (Director for internationalization) acted as moderators and guided the members of the group “University Staff Reserves” in discussing and preparing a functional plan for next year. The second working group “Single Contract and International Recruitment” was chaired by Maria Dudenkova (HR Counsel, HSE), Alina Volkova (HR Director, HSE) and Elena Artyukhova (Deputy Provost, HSE) who summed up the results of the year 2014 and discussed the upcoming changes in labor legislation and the prospects of future work.

The second day of the seminar-conference opened with a discussion panel where Michael Antonov (Director for the Project Office 5-100) was the keynote speaker. Expounding on the results of the Project in 2014, he made reference to a great deal of information provided by the Council on Competitiveness Enhancement of the Leading Russian Universities among the Leading Global Research and Education Centers. He also touched on some current problems which the Project is experiencing and gave recommendations regarding reporting procedures and preparation of the “roadmaps” for the second stage of Project 5-100. In addition, he made an announcement of the next seminar-conference, which will be organized in Tomsk in February 2015.

Speaking of the results of the networking cooperation groups in 2014, Irina Karelina (Director for development programs, HSE) said that some universities actually came up with initiatives to start new working groups.

Evgeniy Kuznetsov (Deputy General Director of the Russian Venture Company) listed the main trends of academic management in his presentation. For example, he talked about the fact that business is not sufficiently involved in educational processes. He also spoke in support of returning medical education (departments) to classical universities, which would enable them to integrate into such market segments as digital health and pharmaceuticals. The discussion continued within the framework of a strategic session for innovative university ecosystems. The session was moderated by Evgeniy Kuznetsov, Vladimir Knyaginin (Director of the CSR Foundation), Igor Rozhdestvensky (Director of the INGRIA business incubator), Inna Yanykina (Head of Innovation in ITMO), Alexei Borovkov (SpbPU Provost), Mikhail Rayak (Executive Director of the Pre-Seed Investment Fund) and several invited experts. They discussed the position of academic engineering centers, the university ecosystem management tools and other aspects of university activities within Project 5-100.

The meeting of the working group “E-Learning” was held on 9 December. It was moderated by Vasili Tretyakov (Director of the Institute of open education technologies, UrFU), Andrei Lyamin (Director of the Center of Distance Learning, ITMO) an Evgeniya Kulik (Head of the Center for Development of Educational Environment, HSE). Together with other specialists in this sphere, they focused on such problems as the maintenance of the quality of education, ways to assess knowledge, creation of a national open learning platform, promotion of Project 5-100 universities in the international market through cooperation with similar platforms, financial models for online courses, etc.

HR directors, heads of academic recruitment and representatives of 5-100 project offices attended a training module “Transformation management and improvement of the quality of academic research in universities (from HR point of view)”. The workshop was conducted by Elena Chernyshkova (Director of the Center of University Marketing and Academic Recruitment, Project Office 5-100) and Victor Salamatov (Partner in Odgers Berndtson). Alexander Molochkov (Professor of the School of Biomedicine, FEFU), Maxim Buyev (Head of the Department of Economics of the European University in St. Petersburg) and William Rosenberg (Honorary Professor at the University of Michigan), who were invited as external experts. The workshop was designed to help the trainees develop an understanding of the stages of transformation of a university and to make a list of the necessary actions at each stage of transformation. The trainers explained how to get the message across to every employee involved in modernization, how to help them understand their role, task and the purpose of the change. The representatives of Project 5-100 universities discussed quality and performance indicators for research activities, opportunities for enhancing the reputations of university research centers with the help of HR instruments, and shared their transformation experience in large educational institutions, while talking about the potential obstacles on the road to success.

The seminar in St. Petersburg was an upbeat way to finish the year 2014. Its participants got a chance to discuss pertinent issues and future cooperation opportunities, sum up the results of various working groups, and set goals for next year.