On 11 November, St Petersburg University will launch its annual contest of interdisciplinary projects 'SPbU Start-Up 2022'. Applications will be accepted until 10 December. This year, along with students of St Petersburg University, the contest will also be open to pupils of the Faddeev Academic Gymnasium of St Petersburg University.

The winning team will receive 350,000 roubles, 250,000 roubles shall be awarded for second place and 150,000 roubles for third place. Finalists who decide to establish a start-up enterprise at St Petersburg University will also receive grants of 1,000,000 and 700,000 roubles from the Endowment Fund of the University.

To compete for the grand prize, applicants should form a team of three to five people with three undergraduate or postgraduate students enrolled in different academic programmes at St Petersburg University. For students of the Faddeev Academic Gymnasium, the team should consist of at least three pupils enrolled in one or more academic programmes.

A participating team may choose a research supervisor from St Petersburg University. The team from the Faddeev Academic Gymnasium must also have a team supervisor who is a member of the faculty of St Petersburg University. The research supervisors of the winning teams will also be entitled to a prize of 100,000 roubles.

The members of the  teams in the final will receive three monthly scholarships of 10,000 roubles each (in March, April and May 2022) so that they can devote more attention to working on their projects in the final stages of the competition. The members of the three leading teams will also be able to defend their projects as a course or graduation project (Graduation Project).

Participants are invited to submit projects in the following topics: artificial intelligence; bioinformatics; high-tech healthcare and biomedical technologies; robotic systems; ecology; sustainable development and agro-technology of the future; smart space technologies; digital University; IT-technology; next generation propulsion and fuel systems; educational and development game design; technologies and solutions in telecommunications; Internet of things; and platform and corporate software for business. The organisers point out that participants can either take inspiration from the proposed list, or propose their own topics for a knowledge-intensive project.

The SPbU Start-up contest has been held for the seventh time. Last year, the first place was awarded to the  Terrior Concept  team for their innovative system to develop grapevines. ProteoSensity came in a close second place. The team developed a hand-size device to detect heavy metal emissions and other emissions into the atmosphere by using a specially designed analytical technology. The third place went to the PreLife team, which produced a functional beverage that could help reduce the concentration of harmful molecules in the body of expectant mothers.

The creators of business ideas will have to complete three stages: remote evaluation, the results of which will be known by 20 December; personal meeting with experts and presentation of projects, scheduled for 24 and 25 February; and the final contest on 24 May.

This year's finalists will take part in several new events: a round table with representatives from the Gazpromneft Science & Technology Centre; a workshop on building a business model; a masterclass by business speakers; and a masterclass in public speaking.

According to the rules of the contest, each team are allowed to submit no more than one start-up project, and participants are allowed to represent only one team.

More information and the application form can be found in the contest regulations.

This publication has been prepared in cooperation with students from St Petersburg University.