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).

2. The Institute for Cognitive Studies

University Professor Tatiana Chernigovskaya addressed a proposal to Rector Nikolay Kropachev to establish the Institute for Cognitive Research at the University. The University has been developing this cross-disciplinary research area since 2007 on the basis of the Laboratory for Cognitive Studies, that deals with cognition, thinking, perception, and other brain mechanisms and complex behaviours. Today the Laboratory staff are linguists, neurophysiologists, and experimental psychologists. The Laboratory capacities are essential to implement the main educational master’s bilingual programme in ‘Cognitive Studies’ (Russian and English). Over the last three years the Laboratory research projects have received four grants: three from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research; and one from the Russian Science Foundation. From 2017 to 2019 the Laboratory staff published 21 papers in Scopus indexed journals.

Directors of institutes and faculty deans supported Professor Tatiana Chernigovskaya. Her proposal was submitted to the University Academic Council for consideration.

3. Admission to the University

Admission to comprehensive education programmes (Academic Gymnasium named after Dmitry Faddeev at St Petersburg University) is over. On 7 August 2020 Admission Resolutions were issued to admit 197 students to the Gymnasium.

Admission to comprehensive vocational education programmes is still under way (the University Medical College, and the University College of Physical Training  and Sports, Economics and Technology). 114 applications have currently been received, which shows 10% growth compared with 2019.

21,268 applicants had submitted applications to bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes by 10 August 2020. This is 25% less than the number of applications received by the same date last year.

Entrance exams to master’s programmes, subsequent appeals and exhibitions of student works are over. On 7 August 2020 ranking lists of successfully admitted applicants were published on the St Petersburg University Admissions Office portal; consents for admission are accepted until 14 August.

Entrance exams to Aspirantura programmes are under way. Ranking lists will be published on 17 August 2020.

Applications to clinical residency programmes are accepted until 11 August 2020.

On 8 August 2020 the competition for extra quotas allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for foreign nationals was concluded. Lists of applicants recommended for admission to St Petersburg University were submitted to the Ministry.

Last week the Council of St Petersburg and Leningrad Region Rectors held its regular meeting to share preliminary results for the 2020 admission campaign in the city and region.

This year city and regional universities have allocated 30,543 state-funded quotas for applicants to bachelor’s and specialist’s  programmes (those include 2016 quotas by St Petersburg University, i.e. under 7%). These quotas attracted 161,000 applications (including 49,509 received by St Petersburg University, i.e. over 30 %), compared to total 374,000 applications received by city and regional universities in 2019 (those include 41,607 submitted to St Petersburg University, i.e. under 12 %).

City and regional universities have attracted less than 1,000 applications by winners and prize-holders of School Olympiads approved by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, i.e. 25 % less than in 2019. Those include 409 applications submitted to St Petersburg University, i.e. over 40% of all applications submitted by winners of School Olympiads, who are eligible for admission without entrance exams (compared with 389 applications received by St Petersburg University in 2019, i.e. under 10% of the total number).

Moreover, this year city and regional universities received some 9,000 applications from foreign nationals, i.e. 11 % less than in 2019. St Petersburg University, however, has outperformed with 5,000 applications submitted by foreign nationals, which is 35 % more than in 2019. The increase in the number of foreign applicants wishing to study in St Petersburg University was significant. It prompted the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation to allocate extra quotas to ensure admission of foreign nationals to St Petersburg University.

Many universities demonstrate a decrease in competition. For instance, the admission campaign monitoring results presented to the Council of St Petersburg and Leningrad Region Rectors show that in 2019 the competition in Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University was 16.58 applications per quota, dropping down to 5.54 in 2020; in St Petersburg Mining University the competition has fallen from 10.8 in 2019 to 3.19 in 2020.

St Petersburg University also shared information with the Council of Rectors on the dynamics of admitted master’s and aspirantura applicants who have completed a previous degree at other universities. In 2010 non-University degree applicants to master’s programmes accounted for some 17% versus some 30% in 2014 and 70% in 2020 respectively. For Aspirantura programmes, those accounted 5% of all applicants in 2010 compared with 22% in 2014 and some 50% in 2020.

Over the last week applicants and their parents submitted over 100 enquiries to the Virtual Reception on a broad range of admission-related issues, in particular those regarding reliability of IT systems, applicant portfolio competition, credits for individual achievements, admission of winners and prize holders of School Olympiads, as well as an array of issues regarding master’s programmes, admission appeals, and many other. All enquiries submitted to the Virtual Reception are responded to with timely resolutions; if the substance an appeal is valid, the resolution is ruled in favour of the applicant.

4. Preparations for the new academic year

Preparations for the new academic year are underway in accordance with the COVID-19 prevention measures approved by the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia on 29 July 2020, see above.

On 1 September 2020 St Petersburg University resumes its academic process to satisfy the outlined requirements of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor). 90 % of the teaching workload has already been distributed. The final changes will be introduced to ensure that teachers aged over 65 or having chronic conditions are not allowed to work offline. The timetable for the autumn semester is being drafted to comply with this principle.

5. The list of University online courses that will be implemented in 2020 is approved

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic St Petersburg University online courses have become even more in demand. St Petersburg University students are not the only ones who are enrolled: students from other universities want to listen to lectures delivered by top St Petersburg University teachers (‘Online courses of St Petersburg University attract students from all over Russia’; ‘ St Petersburg University online course in Japanese enters the world’s top 20 most popular courses’; ‘Exclusive St Petersburg University online course in neurolinguistics supervised by Tatiana Chernigovskaya is now available in Russian’).

Despite the epidemiological situation, the University is continuously monitoring and analysing the demand for courses to identify the most promising areas that require extra training and new online courses.

The results of these efforts were formulated in the Resolution dated 24 July outlining 65 topics for St Petersburg online courses to be developed in 2020. Overall, 92 courses are currently implemented including 35 in foreign languages.

In 2019 the performance plan included 64 courses compared with 36 in 2018.

The list includes: online courses proposed by the academic staff and selected in competition; courses to be implemented as part of grant-supported research; and online courses that expand the range of general university subjects lectured remotely.

6. Results of the public discussion to outline requirements for bidders to provide goods, works, and services to St Petersburg University

Over the past years, the University has been consistently improving efficiency and transparency of its procurement procedures. Public monitoring by University students, student communities, and individuals who do not belong to the University is among the tools to boost efficiency throughout the bidding process. In January 2020, Leonid Ivanov, Chairman of the Trade Union of University Workers, suggested that representatives of companies that participated in similar bids over the past years be engaged in open public discussions held in the run-up for new bids. They would consider potential flaws in the bidding terms, and elusive or unjustifiably stringent requirements for bidders (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 27January 2020).

Such a round table – an unparalleled one for St Petersburg University and Russia – was held in the first quarter of 2020 to consider the bidding terms for occupational medical check-ups among St Petersburg University staff (St Petersburg University hosted a round table on procurement). The results of the event exceeded organisers’ expectations. A broad range of participants was indeed impressive representing both public educational organisations (North-WestPublic Health Research Center) and private organisations (MedPlus, Integrated Medical Center, and others). The participants held a vibrant discussion and changed opinions on various issues: from rules and regulations to the most efficient bidding criteria. Meanwhile, health care providers were informed about the University demands and procurement plans. In the follow-up this allows to optimise the procurement system and enhance its transparency. Moreover, such public discussions are a practical tool to avoid potential bidders’ claims produced by misunderstanding, biased formulation of procurement requirements, or bidding and auction procedures.

A few more round tables are scheduled for before the end of the year. During the initial stages, if necessary, directors and deans can submit proposals to Mikhail Kudilinsky, Vice-Rector for Economic Development of St Petersburg University, to consider procurement in such format.

7. Recognition incentives for academic staff

Further to the decision of St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev, over the past years incentives have also been paid to members of the academic staff in August in order to recognise their achievements in the previous academic year (Minutes of the Rector’s meetings dated 10 August 2015, 17 October 2016, 14 August 2017, 13 August 2018, 05 August 2019).

Deans were tasked to identify members of their academic staff for recognition. Although incentives for specific criteria are granted by the resolutions of dedicated vice rectors, heads of academic subdivisions may also submit their suggestions for vice rectors to consider in their decision making.

8. Organising the Rector’s meeting in MS Teams

Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova reported that the next Rector’s meeting will be held via a new software platform – MS Teams. Preliminary connection check-up will be scheduled.

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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