The ceremonial laying of the first stone of the joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology has taken place in Harbin. It will occupy about 60,000 square metres in the historical and cultural centre of Harbin. The first students will be able to study in three bachelor’s programmes: chemistry, physics, and applied mathematics.

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The Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev congratulated his colleagues on the landmark event – the centenary of the founding of Harbin Institute of Technology. He also noted that cooperation with it and Heilongjiang Province occupies a special place among the international partnerships of St Petersburg University.

‘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,’ said Nikolay Kropachev.

Together, we will be able to create a world-class institution that will be based on the best practices of Russia and China in the fields of development of education and science.

The Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev

The construction of the joint campus is expected to be completed by 2022. It will partially occupy the restored historical buildings of the Chinese Eastern Railway and the Consulate General of the Russian Empire. According to the drawings, the architecture of the new campus buildings will blend with the design of the historical buildings.

During the initial stage, students will be trained in three bachelor’s programmes: chemistry, physics, and applied mathematics. While training at the joint institution, all students will master the Russian language and the history of Russia. 1,500 students will be able to study on the campus when it is finished.

‘I am sure that the new joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology will serve the mutual development of our countries. I wish this project an eventual success. Let the youth of our countries learn from each other and go forward hand in hand! Let Chinese and Russian scientists use shared resources! Let the universities of our countries begin to work together and enjoy the best of both worlds!’ wished the Rector of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu.

‘St Petersburg University is a first-class university in Russia. Outstanding scientists and experts have graduated from this university. Harbin Institute of Technology is also of great importance for the development of science and technology in China. The City of Harbin and Heilongjiang Province are proud of it. Thanks to the development of the railway, the foundations of these houses were laid in Harbin 100 years ago. Today we are celebrating the centenary of the Chinese Eastern Railway in this very quarter. Here, together with St Petersburg University, a Chinese-Russian joint campus is being created. It will combine the resources of the two universities and add a new chapter to educational cooperation between our countries. I think that this will be noted in the history of the development of relations between China and Russia,’ said Wang Wentao, Governor of the People's Government of Heilongjiang Province.

To commemorate the ceremonial laying of the foundation of the campus of the Joint Institute, Nikolay Kropachev planted a plum tree, which will serve as a reminder that St Petersburg University has another campus in China.

During the ceremony, the Rector of St Petersburg University noted that in Chinese there is a fixed expression ‘peaches and plums filled the Celestial Empire’ (Chinese 桃李满天下). It symbolises a teacher or educational institution, which has a great many worthy disciples around the world. ‘Now the Joint Institute of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology will begin to generously give “peaches and plums” to Russia and China,’ emphasised Nikolay Kropachev.

I am sure that the new joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology will serve the mutual development of our countries.

The Rector of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu

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.

Every year, over 2,000 Chinese students study at St Petersburg University and over 1,000 Russians study the Chinese language. Researchers from St Petersburg University are implementing joint projects with 150 research and educational organisations of the Peoples Republic of China. St Petersburg University has established contacts with more than 50 Chinese partners. Also, the University cooperates with more than 30 Chinese-owned commercial organisations.

At present, every 10th academic programme of the University contains a Chinese component. All in all, there are more than 40 of them. Also, new programmes are being implemented at St Petersburg University. These include: Economics (with Advanced Study of the Economy of China and the Chinese language); Jurisprudence (with an In-Depth Study of the Chinese Language and Legal System); Organisation of Tourist Activities (with Advanced Study of the Chinese Language); International Management (with Study of Modern European and Oriental Languages); and many others.

In June 2019, St Petersburg University awarded the diploma of an honorary doctor to President of China Xi Jinping. The event was attended by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.