St Petersburg University has won prizes in the international competition ‘Russia and Germany: Scientific and Educational Bridges’. Three academic and scientific projects implemented by St Petersburg University in cooperation with German universities have received awards. This is the best result among Russian universities.

The open international competition ‘Russia and Germany: Scientific and Educational Bridges’ was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany as part of the Russian–German Year of Scientific and Educational Partnerships 2018-2020 with the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. One of the main objectives of the competition is to draw attention to examples of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the field of scientific and educational partnerships.

The prizes were awarded in four main categories: cooperation between institutions of higher education; advanced research; support for young scientists; and innovation. The results of the competition were announced during the online closing ceremony of the Russian–German Year of Scientific and Educational Partnerships 2018/2020, which took place on 15 September 2020 in Berlin and Moscow at the same time.

In total, 124 applications entered the competition, including: scientists; experts; and research and academic organisations of Russia and Germany. 25 projects were named winners. Three of the winning projects are being implemented with the participation of St Petersburg University: the Centre for German and European Studies; the German–Russian Interdisciplinary Science Center G-RISC;and the project ‘International Collaborative Research Centre TRR160: Coherent manipulation of interacting spin excitations in tailored semiconductors’.

Centre for German and European Studies

Centre for German and European Studies (CGES) was opened on the initiative of the St Petersburg Dialogue Forum in 2004. Since then CGES has been working in partnership between St Petersburg University and Bielefeld University. CGES is one of more than 15 similar centres supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) worldwide and the only such centre in Russia. The mission of the Centre is to support the collaboration of researchers from Russia, Germany and Europe to share the best practices in research work, improve the quality of education and develop comparative and interdisciplinary studies.

For over 15 years, CGES has been: initiating and managing international research projects in social sciences; promoting and facilitating international academic programmes; organising scientific conferences, public lectures, summer schools and workshops for students; and supporting academic mobility for students, researchers and academics in Russia and Europe.

Thus, a number of innovative projects in network analysis of Russian and European societies are being carried out under the auspices of the CGES with the support of leading science foundations and with the participation of researchers from all over the world. For many years, the Centre has been holding the world famous conference ‘Networks in the Global World’ and ‘St Petersburg Summer School on Network Analysis’, which are unique for Russia and the largest in Eastern Europe. For more information about the activities of the Centre for German and European Studies please visit the official CGES website.

German–Russian Interdisciplinary Science Center (G-RISC)

G-RISC is a research and education platform for collaborative work between Russia and Germany. The joint project of St Petersburg University and the Free University of Berlin was launched in 2010 to establish effective interdisciplinary scientific cooperation between German and Russian research institutions.

G-RISC offers financial support to research projects conducted by students and young scientists from Russia and Germany, providing an opportunity for scientists from the two countries to share experiences during business trips abroad. In addition, G-RISC offers funding for short courses of lectures and joint international conferences, schools and workshops for students. G-RISC supports projects in physics, geophysics, astrophysics, physical chemistry, biophysics, mathematics and materials science. In accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed in October 2019, the project is co-funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), St Petersburg University and the Free University of Berlin. For more information about German–Russian Interdisciplinary Science Center please visit the official websites of G-RISC and St Petersburg University.

International Collaborative Research Centre TRR160: Coherent manipulation of interacting spin excitations in tailored semiconductors

The project has been implemented by St Petersburg University jointly with the Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology and the Technical University of Dortmund for almost five years. As part of the project International Collaborative Research Centre (ICRC TRR160) was established, uniting theoretical and experimental research of scientific organisations in Russia and Germany in the field coherent manipulation of interacting spin excitations in tailored semiconductors. The TRR160 main research interest is spin excitations in semiconductors with the focus on the development and implementation of fundamentally new spin manipulation strategies in various nanostructures and solid state materials.

The results of the large-scale studies suggest a wealth of novel functionalities of the spin systems suitable for practical applications in information technologies. A crucial aspect here is to develop the basic principles of spin control with minimal energy consumption, because the enormous, steadily increasing energy consumption in the IT sector represents a great challenge for the future. With its objectives, the ICRC TRR 160 opens up new perspectives that could enable all-in-one-chip solutions in information processing, in the classical and potentially the quantum regime.

The initiative offers academic mobility programmes for physicists: each post-graduate student participating in the project spends at least six months in the institute of the partner country. Besides, research scientists working in the TRR160 project regularly travel to partner institutions to participate in collaborative research.

The International Collaborative Research Centre TRR160 is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). For more information about the project please visit the official TRR160 website, the website of the Technical University of Dortmund, as well as the website of the Russian-German Year of Scientific and Educational Partnerships.

Competition awardees from Russia and Germany

Among other winners are projects from leading research and educational institutions in Russia and Germany. These include joint academic programmes, forums, conferences, and research initiatives in various fields. Thus, Lomonosov Moscow State University has received an award for ‘The School of German Law’ project, implemented jointly with the University of Regensburg. The awards have also been given to: the course in German Law at Siberian Federal University and the University of Passau; and the ‘Programme for young scientists of the German-Russian Raw Materials Conference’. This programme is organised by: St Petersburg Mining University; the German-Russian Raw Materials Conference; the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO; and Joint Stock Company VNG-Verbundnetz Gas.

A large number of winners have received awards for their projects in the natural sciences. For example, the National University of Science and Technology ‘MISIS’ and the University of Duisburg-Essen have become laureates of the competition for the joint research into nanohybrids for theranostics.  The A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research have been awarded for a research project QUARCCS (QUAntifying Rapid Climate Change in the Arctic: regional feedbackS and large-scale impacts). It studies the atmosphere, ocean and ecosystem of the Arctic in the context of global change. A competition awardee was also the joint project of the Arctic State Agrotechnological University and the University of Hohenheim ‘Strategic bridges from Stuttgart to the permafrost zone of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)’. The Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the University of Konstanz took a prize for the implementation of an international project for the study of animals from space: ICARUS.

Irkutsk State University together with the German Electron and Synchrotron Centre (DESY) have been awarded for the project ‘TAIGA Observatory - Russia and Germany open a new window to the Universe’. The State Research Centre of the Russian Federation ‘Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ and the German Aerospace Center have received a prize for the project ‘Joint experiments on the International Space Station for applications on Earth’. Also, among the laureates is the German-Russian Institute of Advanced Technologies, created by the Kazan National Research Technical University named after A. N. Tupolev and the Technische Universität Ilmenau.