On September 21, St Petersburg University and telecom operator MegaFon opened the first 5G laboratory in Russia where engineering and IT students will be able to study fifth-generation networks and develop new services.

The digital laboratory, opened on the Mikhailovskaia Dacha campus of the St Petersburg University Graduate School of Management, has been dubbed the ‘5G Dream Lab’.  It is equipped with a 5G test zone – a so-called sandbox – and will be used to develop new services based on the technology of fifth-generation networks.  The agreement between St Petersburg University and MegaFon to launch this project was signed at the beginning of the summer, during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The programme of the 5G laboratory academic course provides for two areas of study:  the development of digital solutions and the management of their integration.

Future developers will study the special features of fifth-generation communications, learn how to work with the latest frameworks and developer tools, and gain insights into and skills in the fields of user interface (UI), automatic quality control and programming solutions.  Future managers will learn how to launch products, work with high-tech products and manage the development process. 

‘5G networks have only just begun to take hold in various countries of the world, but the enormous potential of this new technology is clear even now,’ observed Valentina Vatrak, Director of Corporate Development and Human Resources at MegaFon.  ‘In our digital laboratory, students and recent graduates of St Petersburg University will be able to find application scenarios for 5G that people in the business world may not have even dreamed of.  The site will become a unique environment in which talented young developers, testers and project managers can fulfill themselves, and this will allow them to advance professionally and to lead the world of digital technology into the future.’

Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods at St Petersburg University, noted in her turn that ‘one of the main goals of the University is that, by the time they graduate, students will have formed the competencies that are essential today if they want to have a successful career, whether it be in academics or a professional setting.  This is precisely why we are constantly looking for new educational tools that are more effective.  We are glad that students at St Petersburg University will be among the first to learn how to work with 5G technologies, which will certainly increase their demand on the labour market.’

The opening of the laboratory was held as part of GSOM Family Day, a business forum sponsored by the St Petersburg University Graduate School of Management.  The activities included a tour of the laboratory and a talk entitled ‘5G: Opening up New Opportunities for Application Development’ given by Frederic Vanoosthuyze, Chief Technology and IT Officer at MegaFon. 

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the laboratory course will consist of three stages with a total duration of eight months.  The first stage (from September 23 until October 26) will comprise an open online educational module for all interested St Petersburg University students and recent alumni (i.e. who graduated within the past three years).  Those who successfully complete the first stage and pass the tests will be able to go on to the next one and become full-fledged participants in the laboratory.  Applications will be accepted until October 10.