In 1968, a cooperation agreement was signed between Leningrad University and the Free University of Berlin. It marked the beginning of successful long-term cooperation in the academic and research fields. In honour of the fiftieth anniversary, a series of festive events took place at St Petersburg University. These included the visit of a high-level delegation from the partner university.

The visitors and their Russian counterparts discussed promising areas of cooperation, financial support for future joint projects, as well as the possibility of sharing experiences. Sergei Aplonov, Vice-Rector for Research at St Petersburg University, welcomed the guests. They had come to learn about the results of 50 years of work, and to exchange ideas on how to develop cooperation in the future.

The Free University of Berlin has always been one of our key strategic partners. Our universities share common goals and values, one of which is the creation of strong cooperation that allows us to open up new opportunities for students and researchers. I am proud that we have successfully implemented many joint projects, including a co-financing research programme and a G-RISC project.

Vice-Rector for Research, St Petersburg University Sergey Aplonov

The Vice-Rector for Research reported that over the past five years, St Petersburg University has significantly increased incoming academic mobility, and its Research Park is ready to provide researchers with unique resources. St Petersburg University cooperates with nearly 500 higher education institutions from around the world, with an important place being occupied by German universities. Sergei Aplonov also said that this year St Petersburg University and the Free University of Berlin launched the first joint postdoc scholarship programme.

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Verena Blechinger-Talkot, Vice-President for International Affairs of the Free University of Berlin, invited her Russian colleagues to attend events dedicated to the 50th anniversary of cooperation between the universities. It will be held next year in Germany. In addition, referring to the experience of launching and operating the G-RISC project, she suggested thinking about what short-term programmes could be created by the universities. The representative of the Free University of Berlin in Moscow, Tobias Studemann, said that in 2019 the representative office will be 15 years old. In honour of the anniversary it is planned to hold a conference dedicated to the management of foreign offices of the universities. He invited members of St Petersburg University to take part in it to discuss problems and challenges, share their experiences, and tell success stories.

The first representative office of St Petersburg University opened in spring 2017 at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea, the next one was established at Harbin Polytechnic University in China.

During the meeting, the parties signed an agreement on strategic partnership and a protocol on academic exchange between St Petersburg University and the Free University of Berlin. After this, in the Assembly Hall of the Twelve Colleges, there was a presentation of joint programmes of academic and research cooperation between universities for researchers and teachers, and academic mobility programmes for students. The participants of the exchanges shared their impressions and spoke about the studies that were implemented in the framework of the programmes.