Saint-Petersburg State University has been the venue of a working meeting attended by St. Petersburg State University Pro-Rector for Research Sergey Aplonov, Deputy Rector for International Affairs Sergey Andryushin and Deputy Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in St. Petersburg Stefan Kordasch.
The meeting has also been attended by St. Petersburg State University researchers, winners of the German Research Foundation (DFG) prize for co-financing joint research projects of SPbU and scientific organizations of the Federal Republic of Germany (9 Russian-German projects have received funding from SPbU and the DFG).
In his opening speech, Sergey Andryushin has emphasized the unique nature of a direct agreement between the DFG and the University: "SPbU is currently working with 40 German universities, and we are confident that our cooperation will prove to be even more fruitful in future. Our recent joint research agreement with the DFG is a big step in this direction. The German Research Foundation used to collaborate exclusively with foundations and never with universities. St. Petersburg State University was the first one in the world to sign an agreement directly with the DFG."
Sergey Aplonov has described the project selection process and the prospects of cooperation of SPbU researchers with their German colleagues. "Projects that were to be presented at the contest went through a rigorous selection process: first, at St. Petersburg State University, and then in Germany. The grants were given to groups of scientists carrying out research in Germany and Russia. The total sum offered by the DFG is more than one and a half million euros. The next planned development in the relations with our German partners is the March visit of the St. Petersburg State University delegation to the Free University of Berlin, which we have an ongoing academic exchange project with. Among other things, we are planning to discuss the scientific component in Master's and Doctoral educational programmes."
Deputy Consul General and Head of Economics Department of the Federal Republic of Germany in St. Petersburg Stefan Kordasch underscored the importance of cooperation in terms of science and education. Stefan Kordasch's primary goal at the meeting was to get first-hand information on the joint research programmes of SPbU and German universities.
SPbU Professor, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Yakov Nikitin (see Department of Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics) has attended the meeting as the representative the research group comprised of scientists from SPbU and from the University of Bielefeld. Friedrich Götze, one of the leading scientists in the field of modern probability theory and mathematical statistics, works in the latter university. He has trained a great number of our scientists on their study visits, with a number of co-authored papers subsequently published in high impact journals. Professor Nikitin has declared the intention to engage colleagues from the Universities of Münster, Jena and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in research under the DFG-SPbU grant.
Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, SPbU Professor Oleg Vyvenko (Department of Solid State Electronics) began his collaboration with the University of Göttingen in 1982. Joint research with this university is still being carried out today under the DFG-SPbU grant. Later on, for more than 20 years, Professor Vyvenko worked in a research project on photovoltaic technology financed by BMW. For the SPbU physicists working with the solar energy, the DFG-SPbU project means bringing research to a new level. Oleg Vyvenko has emphasized that "Our project is based on the synergistic effect. Ten years ago, Russian scientists went abroad with their ideas and samples in order to use experimental equipment that we did not have at the time. Today, the St. Petersburg State University Research Park is equipped better than most foreign universities. And we would like to see not only the cooperation of minds, but also that of equipment."
Sergey Aplonov has stressed the fact that the resource centres of SPbU are open for scientists from all over the world: "St. Petersburg State University Research Park is not an asset of a single university, but that of the whole country and the world of science in general. Researchers can conduct experiments here and publish the results. The only requirement is the affiliation of such research with St. Petersburg State University. Researchers from our mega-laboratories led by scientists from around the world are actively using the resources of our Research Park. Among them is Professor of the Free University of Berlin Detlef Bahnemann, the Leading scientist of the Laboratory for Photoactive and Nanocomposite Materials at SPbU."
Associate Professor, Candidate of Physics and Mathematics Dmitriy Usachev has attended the meeting as the representative of the Laboratory of Electronic and Spin Structure of Nanosystems headed by Evgeniy Chulkov. Usachev began his cooperation with German scientists in a project of the Russian-German laboratory at a synchrotron radiation facility BESSY II. Many years of cooperation with scientists from the Dresden University of Technology have been followed by a new joint research project on graphene-based systems.
SPbU Spin Optics Laboratory has been represented at the meeting by the leading research fellow, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Aleksey Kudinov. The laboratory, funded by a Russian Government's Mega Grant and led by Aleksey Kavokin, works on fundamental questions of the interaction of light with solid crystals. The team is comprised of a number of prominent scientists, and Dr. Kudinov is confident that the project will bring significant results, especially with the help of the DFG-SPbU grant.
German diplomats have spent the second part of their visit to St. Petersburg State University in Peterhof, where they have been given a tour around the resource centres of the University Research Park.