1. St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology laid the first stone of the joint campus

On 7 June 2020 the ceremonial laying of the first stone of the joint campus of St Petersburg University and Harbin Institute of Technology took place in Harbin (PRC). Wang Wentao, Governor of the People's Government of Heilongjiang Province, the Rector of Harbin Institute of Technology Zhou Yu, and other officials witnessed the ceremony. Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, participated in videoconference format (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/spbgu-i-harbinskiy-politehnicheskiy-universitet-nachali-stroitelstvo-sovmestnogo).

Based on the shared resources of the two universities, the joint campus 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, applied mathematics, and Russian as a foreign language. All study programmes include mandatory Russian as a foreign language, history of Russia, and other subjects in the St Petersburg University benchmark curriculum. The construction of the joint campus is expected to be completed by 2022. Once finished, the campus will be able to house 1,500 students.

A work group was set up to handle academic issues. It will be led by Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods. Proposals from all University students and staff are welcome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. Meeting of the Russian Union of Rectors

On 5 June 2020, the Board of the Russian Union of Rectors held a meeting. It was attended by: Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; and Aleksandr Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Tatyana Golikova highlighted that Russia has successfully implemented the transition to online learning, and expressed hope that the admission process will be a similar success. She noted that considering the last months’ events, the system of higher education has been scrutinised. This includes the preliminary results of efforts to boost the competitive potential of Russia’s higher education on a global scale.

Valery Falkov shared key points of the Strategic Academic Leadership Programme. It promotes the principles of competition, transparency, and partnership among academic and educational organisations. The Minister mentioned that competitions are scheduled for autumn this year. Based on their results, the Top University Ranking will be expanded (up to 70 maximum) and efficiency of national research universities reassessed, the number of the latter supposedly shrinking to 25. The Ministry of Education experts assume that, so far, some 150 universities satisfy the admission requirements.

The Minister underscored the exceptional role of two Russian universities – Moscow State University and St Petersburg University – for national research and education. He added that these two universities do not participate in the initiative, as they are developing according to individual programmes (in conformity with the Two Universities Law).

Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, Vice-President of the Russian Union of Rectors, and Chairman of the Association of Leading Universities of Russia, participated in the meeting. He expressed support and high appreciation of the programme presented by the Minister of Science and Higher Education. Both in his speech at the meeting and a follow-up interview, Nikolay Kropachev underlined that the cornerstone principles of the programme (transparency, fair competition, accessibility of the programme to both educational and academic institutions) should also include the principle of fostering integration within the entire academic and education system. According to Nikolay Kropachev, a well-integrated academic and education system of Russia (i.e. 724 universities and over 1,000 academic and industry-specific research institutions) is the only way to enhance shared performance; given that due to the economic setting, financial support is only provided to individual institutions or clusters.

Nikolay Kropachev noted that the goals of the programme (to promote development of technologies in the Russian Federation; to facilitate acquisition of digital technologies; to establish a high-performing and export led cluster across basic industries; to promote the Russian Federation to the top five largest economies in the world) do not cover all of the national development goals formulated in the Russian Presidential Order No 204 dated 7 May 2020 ‘National Goals and Strategic Objectives of the Russian Federation through to 2024’. In particular, social and human goals, formulated in the Presidential Order, are still missing from the programme, which is incompatible with the mission of higher education. Moreover, the goals of the programme shall be better coordinated with programme-specific initiatives. Otherwise, the declared goals will not be achieved by implementing these initiatives formally.

Participants of the Rector’s meeting decided to comprehensively discuss the strategic academic leadership programme in two weeks at a different Rector’s meeting.

3. Organisation of interim assessment

The current assessment process at the University includes 32,608 online tests and exams. Over the last week, the Virtual Reception received 69 enquiries from students and teachers regarding the educational process set-up; on top of that, Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods, received 31 more enquiries through her corporate email.

For example, University students were concerned about the timetable of online courses and the procedure of taking tests online. The Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes reported that some students expressed concerns that the exams in the so-called ‘difficult’ subjects – mathematical analysis and mechanics — were scheduled close to the end of the examination period. On 5 June 2020, the Dean and representatives of the Academic Affairs Department met with students in videoconference format to engage students in the timetabling process. All issues were successfully resolved during the meeting.

4. Organisation of final assessment

Since 20 May 2020, the University is running graduation project defence procedures. 1,430 students have already presented their graduation projects (including 837 over the last week). 235 more law students have passed the first part of the state exam. The results are a success: 1,044 defences were graded ‘excellent (78 %); 248 – ‘good’; 36 – ‘satisfactory; with only 3 failures. Some students filed appeals: 5 appeals in Philosophy; 2 in Control Processes; and 1 in Mathematics and Mechanics.

The meeting delegates were reminded that research supervisors, fellow reviewers, and representatives of industrial partners and organisers of industrial training can participate in the defence procedure. A relevant request must be submitted to Marina Lavrikova (https://guestbook.spbu.ru/prorektory-spbgu/lavrikova-marina-yurevna/15441-ob-uchastii-v-zasedanii-gak.html).

Meanwhile, the meeting delegates noted that it is important to ensure that supervisors and peer reviewers cannot impact fair assessment of graduation projects. The delegates emphasised that such defence format gives more time to the State Assessment Board (SAB) to familiarise with the graduation project, as well as to assess the student’s oral presentation and answers to questions addressed by SAB members.

Incidentally, not all student welcomed this format. Some students have already submitted enquiries that SAB members should be limited in time to familiarise with the graduation project, presentation, and defendant’s answers to their questions. The meeting delegates noted that in contrast to such appeals, the University is committed to ensure that SAB members take as much time as they require to analyse and assess students’ performance without bias.

5. Preliminary tests of Cryptoveche e-voting system

The Cryptoveche e-voting system was demonstrated at the Rector’s meeting a year ago (https://dltc.spbu.ru/ru/). Delegates were provided with a detailed description of the e-voting system. It is powered by a technology developed at the University Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre. The system will soon be available through a regular smart-phone (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/itogi-zasedaniya-uchenogo-soveta-spbgu-86, Academic Report section). It was also mentioned that the technology can resolve confidentiality issues of secret e-voting.

The delegates noted that Cryptoveche has successfully passed the tests (Order No 5137/1 dated 5 June 2020). Siberian Federal University used Cryptoveche to elect the University President (https://news.sfu-kras.ru/node/23087). This technology ensures confidentiality of secret e-voting at meetings of the St Petersburg University Academic Board and institute or faculty academic boards. The technology has successfully passed the model tests, simulating alternative election of academic and teaching staff by members of the Chemistry Institute Academic Board. HR Department are going to provide training to secretaries of faculty and institute academic boards. Cryptoveche technical support will be set up to provide fast responses to any issues that meeting participants may face during e-voting.

6. Lyudmila Verbitskaya Fellowship

Following the plan of efforts to commemorate the memory of St Petersburg University President Lyudmila Verbitskaya (https://spbu.ru/openuniversity/documents/materialy-rektorskogo-soveshchaniya-411#p15), the Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya Fellowship was established to honour the University undergraduate and postgraduate students of all degree programmes for outstanding performance in studying different aspects of the Russian language (Order No 4877/1 dated 1 June 2020).

7. University students win the Globcom 2020 competition

Anastasiia Alekseeva and Daria Rodicheva, St Petersburg University students (‘Advertising and Public Relations’ degree programme) have won the Globcom 2020 international competition (https://www.globcom2019.com/). This year the finals were to take place at Vilnius University, but eventually participants had to defend their projects online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with other members of their international team, St Petersburg students developed a PR-project and defended it orally. Ultimately, this project was selected best out of the nine projects submitted by the other teams who were able to make it to the finals (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/nashi-studenty-pobediteli-mezhdunarodnogo-konkursa-globcom-2020).

8. University students as camp counsellors

Children’s healthcare camps in the Leningrad region are going to open on 1 July 2020. To successfully organise summer activities for campers, assistance of students as camp counsellors, as well as commitment of professional teachers is crucial. Camp counselling is great fun and an exceptional experience, with useful skills and new career competencies, respecting traditions, true friendship, and a memory of a lifetime.

This year University students have an opportunity to work as camp counsellors in healthcare camps of the Leningrad region. Students wishing to assume these responsible duties can submit applications (https://students.spbu.ru/mmen-novosti/5294-priglashaem-na-rabotu-vozhatymi-v-detskie-ozdorovitel-nye-lagerya-leningradskoj-oblasti.html). Over 130 students have applied so far.

Remarkably, the University student squads have a long-standing tradition. Student activities at the University include membership in one of the five student teaching squads: Granat (‘Pomegranate’), Perspektiva (‘Perspective’), ROS (‘The Republic of Burning Hearts’), Skazka (‘Fairytale’), and Unison (‘Syntony’). Established in 1979 by law students of the Leningrad University, ROS (‘The Republic of Burning Hearts) is the oldest teaching squad in St Petersburg. Student teaching squads Skazka and Unison also have a long history. They were established in  1984 and 1987 respectively by Leningrad University students of mathematics. Granat is the youngest squad established in 2012 by psychology students; in 2019 Granat was recognised best pedagogical squad in St Petersburg.

9. Image events at St Petersburg University in 2021

The list of the University image events for 2021 has been approved. The list includes all international and national events where the University is among co-organisers or standing participants (St Petersburg International Legal Forum, St Petersburg International Economic Forum, St Petersburg International Labour Forum, St Petersburg International Cultural Forum, etc.) Directors and deans can submit feedback to amend the Order No 5088/1.

10. Financial management monitoring

The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has published preliminary results of annual financial management monitoring, performed by major federal public funds managers. Over the three years the University has improved its ranking 84 to top 5, outperforming the Kurchatov Institute (top 12) in its group (АА+). The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is ranked 37, whereas Moscow State University is 79.

A detailed description of the monitoring procedure is available at: https://www.minfin.ru/ru/perfomance/budget/fin_quality/results/res2019/?id_65=130274-otchet_o_rezultatakh_provedeniya_predvaritelnogo_godovogo_monitoringa_kachestva_finansovogo_menedzhmenta_po_sostoyaniyu_na_01.01.2020_go

The meeting delegates noted that the monitoring performance of universities and other organisations is taken into account in making funding allocation decisions.

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 November 2020

1. The conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the KRD Forum

On 5 November 2020, a strategic conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the Korea–Russia Dialogue Forum took place at St Petersburg University. The conference was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia. The event was held online.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 2 November 2020

1. Organisation of the learning process

Last week, 35 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents including 7 enquiries on academic issues were sent to the Virtual Reception. 16 enquiries were sent to the e-mail of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods including 13 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and other documents, questions on the procedures of transfer and reinstatement, financial aid requests, etc.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 October 2020

1. The commission for discussing the suggestions offered by Dr Yury Fedotov

Dr Yury Fedotov, Senior Vice-Rector for Medical Care and Director of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University, applied to the University's Rector to open a department of postgraduate medical education and to set up an academic council of the Pirogov Clinic. The aim is to improve the quality and efficiency of education and research carried out in the Clinic. The Clinic has 16 Doctors of Sciences and 70 Candidates of Sciences (Medicine). These suggestions were discussed by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Medicine and the Academic Council of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 19 October 2020

1. The University has five winners of the RSF - DFG joint competition for grants

The results of the fifth joint competition for grants from the Russian Science Foundation and German Research Foundation (DFG) have been announced. The competition was held within the priority field of research 'Fundamental Research and Exploratory Research by International Research Collaboration Teams'. Among the competition winners are 18 projects, including 5 projects proposed by scientists and scholars from the University. Three scientists work in the natural sciences and two in the humanities: A. Timoshkin, M. Vinarski, A. Saraev, L. Moskovkin, A. Filyushkin. The amount of each grant is six million roubles to be allocated annually. The implementation period of the research project is within 2021–2023 (The Russian Science Foundation will support 18 joint Russian–German projects). Our University has the best results among all research and educational institutions across Russia. No other institution has won more than one grant.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 12 October 2020

1. New members of the University Academic Council elected

On 21 September 2020, at a conference of research and teaching staff, a new University Academic Council was elected for a five-year period along with representatives of other categories of workers and students (Conference on the election of a new Academic Council of St Petersburg University).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 October 2020

1. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Taking into account the revised version of the Resolution of the Government of St Petersburg No 121 'On Measures to Counteract the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in St Petersburg' dated 13 March 2020, additional measures the University should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were discussed at this Rector's meeting. All University employees working under civil law contracts and not participating in the technological processes necessary for the life of the University are transferred to the online mode of work. The same mode is maintained for academic staff aged 65+ and employees with chronic diseases.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 September 2020

1. A representative office of St Petersburg University at the University for Foreigners of Siena

A week ago, a representative office of St Petersburg University was opened in Siena, Italy. The office is housed at the University for Foreigners of Siena, a partner of St Petersburg University. This is the sixth foreign representative office of St Petersburg University and the second in Europe. The University uses its representative offices to organise various events, such as lectures, seminars, conferences, roundtable discussions, exhibitions of students' creative works, and joint competitions. The efficiency of the representative offices is reflected in the positions occupied by the University in the rankings, especially in such an indicator as internationalisation. Therefore, it is very important to organise the activities of the representative offices by filling their work with particular content. In this regard, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, asked the meeting participants to submit proposals on the activities that could be organised at the new representative office in Italy.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 September 2020

1. Influenza vaccination campaign

This year earlier than ever St Petersburg University has started the seasonal influenza mass vaccination. Influenza vaccination is the responsibility of territorial healthcare authorities. The University Rector addressed enquiries to concerned vice-governors to deploy mobile vaccination points on University campuses in Vasileostrovsky and Petrodvortsovy districts, so that students and staff could benefit from getting a vaccine near their homes, work or study place. The enquiry is still to be considered. Without further ado, the University approved the student vaccination schedule with Outpatient Clinic No 3 and its administration; vaccination points will be set up inside University buildings at 16/18 7th Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The vaccination schedule for another point at 35 Universitetsky prospect is pending approval with St Nikolas Hospital administration. Vaccination schedules will be tailored to the academic timetable and posted on the University website.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 7 September 2020

1. The results of the meeting of the Council for Governmental Support of the Creation and Development of World-Class Research Centres carrying out research and development in the priority areas of science and technology – the world-class research centre 'Agrotechnologies of the Future'

On 28 August, a meeting was held of the Council for Governmental Support of the Creation and Development of World-Class Research Centres carrying out research and development in the priority areas of science and technology. It was chaired by Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The meeting summed up the results of the competitive selection. Valery Falkov announced that 60 applications had been received in 2020 (St Petersburg University was presented in four applications). 11 out of 60 applications were selected for face-to-face consideration featuring presentation of charts.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 24 August 2020

1. Preparation for the new academic year

This year the academic timetable is the most crucial challenge of all the preparation efforts, considering that it must comply with all the COVID-19 spread prevention measures and requirements. Currently, the timetable for the 2020/2021 academic year is 70% ready and reflects the proposals submitted by deans and directors.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 17 August 2020

1. St Petersburg University in ARWU-2020 ranking

The ARWU-2020 university ranking, that reflects statistics for 2019, has been published. St Petersburg University is the only Russian organisation recognised for in the Highly Cited Researchers criterion (Researchers from St Petersburg University are listed as the most cited scientists in the world).

In this group the University is represented by three luminary scientists: Gennady Leonov, Nikolay Kuznetsov, and Raul Gainetdinov who are registered with St Petersburg University as their primary affiliation. The University was therefore awarded an extra 12 points, which raised its ranking by dozens of positions as the common graph  shows. The University Administration is committed to seeing more high citation researchers among the University academic staff, as well as to support already employed high citation researchers.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 10 August 2020

1. Organisation of work amid measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

The University continues its operation in the existing format through 16 August 2020. Since 29 July the University Scientific Library has been open by prior registration to University visitors, teachers, research fellows, and administrative staff (Order No 6896/1 dated 24 July 2020 ‘Amendments to...’). A temporary procedure for all visitors to access the University museum collection was also approved. Now the Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and Archives and the Vladimir Nabokov Museum are operating according to a temporary timetable; the University is going to reopen access to its other collections in the near future (Museums of St Petersburg University reopen to visitors). The number of visitors inside the museum is strictly limited (5 or 10 visitors maximum depending on the museum indoor area).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 3 August 2020

1. Admissions to degree programmes

31 July was the deadline for acceptance of documents and applications for aspirantura programmes. Compared to 2019, this year the number of applicants has grown by almost 300. At the moment, the period of admissions tests for applicants to aspirantura programmes has started.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 27 July 2020

1. Measures to prevent COVID-19 spread

From 27 July to 16 August 2020 the University continues to operate in the existing mode. Since 29 July the University Scientific Library is open by prior registration to University visitors, teachers, research fellows, and administrative staff (Order No 6896/1 dated 24 July 2020 ‘Amendments to...’). The Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and the Vladimir Nabokov Museum are reopening their doors to visitors. The number of visitors inside the museum is strictly limited (5 visitors maximum).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 July 2020

1. Meeting of the St Petersburg University  Board of Trustees

On 15 July the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees held a meeting that was attended by President of the Board Dmitry Medvedev. The agenda was focused on the territorial development of St Petersburg University. Dmitry Medvedev noted that St Petersburg University has a fairly positive image in international university rankings. He highlighted that the University’s territorial development is bound to ensure future success of its students by establishing technical capacities for years to come. The full text of Dmitry Medvedev’s speech is available in the VKontakte official group of St Petersburg University.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 13 July 2020

The Rector's meeting was held on 13 July 2020 via video conference. It addressed the following issues:

1. Admission to the academic programmes of St Petersburg University

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 July 2020

The Rector's meeting was held on 6 July 2020 as a video conference. It addressed the following issues:

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 29 June 2020

The meeting was conducted as a video conference, and it addressed the following issues.

1.  Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 June 2020

As proposed by the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Korpachev, the meeting began with a moment of silence to mark the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow.

The participants of the meeting also held a moment of silence for Vataniar Saidovich Yagya, professor emeritus of St Petersburg University (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-pochetnogo-professora-spbgu-vatanyara-saidovicha-yagi) and the deceased St Petersburg University student Egor Panshin. 

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 June 2020

The University Rector Nikolay Kropachev suggested observing a minute of silence in tribute to the death of Vladislav Golikov, a University student (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-vladislava-golikova).

On 15 June 2020 the Rector’s meeting was held in videoconference format. The agenda was as follows:

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