In November, Seoul has held the V Forum of Rectors of the world’s leading universities as part of the “Dialogue Russia-Republic of Korea”. The event was visited by about 30 universities from both countries.

The major focus was how to adapt education to the technological challenges and Korea-Russia cooperation.

The head of SPbU delegation, Deputy Rector for International Affairs Sergei Andrushin told about what has had the most considerable influence on education today, how the University attracts the high-tech corporations in Korea, and what opportunities the Forum has opened for the universities.

Which aspects of what you have discussed have a primary influence on education?

The forum mainly focuses on how artificial intelligence and IT-technologies can influence education. How can the universities adapt to the technologies? How can we modify our education to make our graduates more competitive globally? What is the role of the traditional universities? These were the questions we were trying to answer.

Scientifically and commercially, is artificial intelligence an up-to-date topic for SPbU?

Primarily, we discuss artificial intelligence from an interdisciplinary approach. St Petersburg University is a world’s renowned centre for traditional education bringing together sciences and humanities. So, first, our graduates must acquire competences in various areas. Second, artificial intelligence is highly problematic: in IT, mathematics, neurosciences, psychology, law, and others.

The University is developing artificial intelligence technologies and delving into how it will influence our future. In other words, we are trying to answer whether machines will be able to substitute humans in law, economics, management, and what will make a so-called “creative” niche for humans where we will be able to realize our potential?

How do our Korean colleagues approach the problem?

We have the same approach as we have the same aims and challenges to respond.  We have reached an agreement with them that we will be developing our academic cooperation, including in artificial intelligence. We are interested in being at the forefront of research and set the ball rolling.

The Korean universities are going to collaborate with SPbU and other Russian universities that took part in the Forum. Our University has no rivals in the fundamental sciences, so does South Korea in applied sciences. We can learn from each other. Research in artificial intelligence is impossible without cooperation.

What experience have you shared?

Primarily, how we can modify higher education. The participants shared their experience in how they solved this problem. In particular, St Petersburg University presented its concept of university-employer collaboration in education. Many IT specialists are actively engaged in education and it makes our students more competitive.

Our Korean partners are of the same opinion. If you have an expert advice, you can modify the way how you teach, adapt education to the market, and incorporate technologies into education. It is one of the overarching priorities globally.

Did you meet with the South Korean high-tech corporations?

We have visited the headquarter of the Samsung Electronics — Samsung Digital City where we presented what we had achieved in IT research and development. We told about our IT team that was a winner of the ACM — ICPC for several years. It stirred interest in our Korean partners: they are planning to open a laboratory on artificial intelligence in Russia. We hope that next year we will meet to discuss the opportunities for our collaboration.

What are the plans you have outlined at the Forum?

We have so far signed about 15 agreements with our South Korean partners. The Forum had a number of events where we discussed the opportunities for our collaboration with a particular focus on research.

We have agreed to hold a round-table on the research collaboration to open our representative office in Sungkyunkwan University. All in all, we are going to gain momentum in our research collaboration.