During the online meeting, representatives of St Petersburg University and Ain Shams University (Cairo, Egypt) have discussed the prospects of renewing and developing further cooperation.

In his welcoming remarks, Mohamed Ayman Saleh, Vice-President of Ain Shams University, identified the opening of a joint research centre as one of the main topics of the discussion. The centre for studying nanotechnology will be located on the territory of the Egyptian university.

In the future, there are plans to expand the centre into a research park. Scientists from different fields will be able to conduct joint research there, develop prototypes for nanoproducts and devices, and participate in seminars and conferences.

There are also plans to develop academic programmes for students who are interested in studying and creating nanotechnology. The results of the centre's achievements will later be used in pharmaceuticals, medicine, agriculture and applied to large industries and enterprises.

The project between St Petersburg University and Ain Shams University includes state-of-the-art measuring equipment, teaching modern technologies to specialists, and organising projects and short-term staff exchanges. In addition, the partners from Ain Shams University have been offered the joint use of mega-science technology for diagnostics of nano-objects and nanomaterials, such as neutron and electron scattering devices.

Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research at St Petersburg University, noted at the meeting that more than 20 groups of scientists studying nanotechnology work at the University. Among them there are specialists from: the University Institute of Chemistry; the Laboratory of Biomolecular NMR; the Laboratory of Biohybrid Technologies; and the Research Park to name just a few.

According to Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research at St Petersburg University, it is best to start discussing the establishment of the future centre and set vectors for possible research in the process of communication between specialists from St Petersburg University and Ain Shams University.

The best way for interaction is to find areas of common scientific interests between our researchers and provide them with an opportunity to talk to each other. We, as administration, can only provide the conditions. It is the interaction between the leaders of research teams from St Petersburg University and Ain Shams University that will lead to successful generation of ideas.

Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, St Petersburg University

Sergey Mikushev also mentioned the possibility of interdisciplinary research by scientists from different scientific fields, such as biologists and physicists, sociologists and mathematicians, as one of the most interesting for the University in terms of international cooperation.

They also discussed the opening of a branch of St Petersburg University Language Testing Centre at Ain Shams University for teaching Russian as a foreign language. The Department of Russian language at Ain Shams University is the largest in the Middle East and Africa. The Egyptian partners expressed an interest not only in holding assessment tests at the language centre, but also in improving the work of their department and honing the Russian language and Russian culture academic programmes.

Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University, made a proposal to open a representative office of St Petersburg University at the Egyptian university. ‘We use the representative office as an accelerator for the development of international cooperation in order to give your professors and students an opportunity to learn how they can cooperate with our university,’ specified Deputy Rector Sergey Andryushin. ‘We know from experience that opening such offices is efficient for increasing academic exchanges, joint research and development, seminars and conferences, and publications and grants.’

The outcome of the meeting was a proposal to develop a roadmap for further cooperation between the two universities. The meeting envisages the resumption of the cooperation, which, as it was noted at the meeting, has declined during the period of coronavirus restrictions.

We have great potential to work together, and I believe that with your support and initiative, we can improve and implement our agreements and intensify student and staff exchanges. This is a golden opportunity for the development of scientific and research relations between our universities.

Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University

To date, there is a Memorandum of Understanding and a protocol on academic and scientific exchange between St Petersburg University and Ain Shams University.