St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology plan to build a joint campus in China. The corresponding agreement was signed at the 20th meeting of the Russian–Chinese Intergovernmental Commission on Humanitarian Cooperation by the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev and the President of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu.

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The ceremony was attended by the co-chairs of the Commission, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Tatyana Golikova and Vice-Premier of the State Council of China Sun Chunlan.

The joint Chinese–Russian campus of the two universities will be located on the territory of over 60,000 square metres in the historical and cultural centre of Harbin. The campus will occupy the restored historical buildings of the Chinese Eastern Railway and the Consulate General of the Russian Empire. The architecture of the new campus buildings, according to the drawings, will blend with the design of the historical buildings.

The location is very convenient: the campus will not be far from our main building and at the same time very close to the city centre. The joint campus will enhance communication between universities in Russia and China, as well as their interaction with the government of the People’s Republic of China.

President of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu

The construction is scheduled to start in 2020, and is expected to be completed within two years. In 2020, the joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology plans to enrol 120 students majoring in the following spheres: mathematics; physics; chemistry; law (with studies of Russian law and Russian language); and tourism (with study of the Russian language). When the campus has been completed, 1,500 students will be able to study there.

Academic programmes with the Chinese component have been implemented at St Petersburg University for several years now, and their number is constantly growing. At a session of the Association of Classical Universities of Russia and China, the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev mentioned that 41 such programmes have been launched at the University so far.

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‘The first school of sinology in Russia was established at St Petersburg University in the 19th h century. However, only 10 years ago our educational programmes were still limited to the study of the language and history of China. In order to enable future professionals to gain country-specific cultural awareness, a portfolio of educational programmes “with the Chinese component,” as we call it, was initiated and has been successfully developed. The programmes were developed in close cooperation with the authorities and educational organisations of the People’s Republic of China. Teachers from partner universities come to St Petersburg University to give lectures. We seek to expand the circle of partners among Chinese universities, whose academic staff will be engaged in both existing and new educational programmes with the Chinese component,’ Nikolay Kropachev emphasised.

Nikolay Kropachev noted that, at present, St Petersburg University offers academic programmes with the Chinese component for: lawyers; economists; managers; sociologists; and organisers of tourism activities. He advocated the increase of the number of academic programmes with the Russian component offered by Chinese universities.

Our goal is to facilitate the academic training of professionals who will be instrumental in solving challenging tasks within the framework of national development priorities defined by the leadership of our countries. I invite Chinese and Russian universities to cooperate in this important area, including the development and implementation of specialised academic programmes with the Russian component in Chinese universities. We, on our part, guarantee support and assistance.

The Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev

For reference, St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology concluded a cooperation agreement in 2014. Within the framework of this agreement the universities have already opened a number of joint research centres. These include the Centre of Plasma Physics and the Centre for Environmental Safety and Russia-China Legal Centre. St Petersburg University has a cooperation agreement with the People’s Government of Heilongjiang Province, where Harbin Institute of Technology is situated. The University is also the first Russian university that has a direct agreement with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. On average, every year approximately 2,000 Chinese students study at St Petersburg University and about 1,000 Russians study the Chinese language. Researchers from St Petersburg University are implementing joint projects with 150 research and educational organisations of the PRC. St Petersburg University has established contacts with more than 50 Chinese partners. Also, the University cooperates with more than 30 Chinese-owned commercial organisations.

‘Over the last decade, mobility of academic scientists and participation of Chinese researchers in scientific conferences held at St Petersburg University have increased 10-fold. And the number of experts participating in long-term internships at St Petersburg University has risen 16-fold,’ noted Nikolay Kropachev.