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.

The University prepared charts for two of the submitted applications:

  • The world-class research centre 'Khimbiomed: Breakthrough Technologies in Medicine' (employees in charge: N.R. Skrynnikov and I.A. Balova) in collaboration with the Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • The world-class research centre 'Agrotechnologies of the Future' (employee in charge: I.A. Tikhonovich) in collaboration with: the initiator of the project, Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy; Federal Research Centre 'Fundamentals of Biotechnology' of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Federal Research Centre 'Informatics and Control' of the Russian Academy of Sciences; All-Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Microbiology; V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute; and N.I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources

The winners were selected in accordance with the following criteria: research experience in the centre's activity areas; the research programme; human resources; and the scientific infrastructure of the centre. Other things taken into account were: the innovative resources of the centre; its integration into international research activity; its planned contribution to the implementation of priority areas of development of Russia; the number of scientific publications of the researchers; the relevance of the planned research; and the prospects for its further use.

Based on the results of the discussion, a list of ten world-class research centres in six priority areas was approved. A project participated in by St Petersburg University was supported. It belongs to the area of research titled 'Highly productive and environmentally friendly agriculture and aquaculture; creation of safe, high-quality and functional food' and will be implemented by the 'Agrotechnologies of the Future' centre.

In total, based on the results of the two competitions, four world-class Centres will operate in St Petersburg in various areas of the Strategy for Science and Technology Development in the Russian Federation. The centres will be based at the following organisations:

  • St Petersburg University
  • St Petersburg Department of V.A. Steklov Institute of Mathematics at the Russian Academy of Sciences (PDMI RAS)
  • Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University
  • St Petersburg State Marine Technical University
  • P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology at the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry at the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • St Petersburg Electrotechnical University 'LETI'
  • All-Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Microbiology
  • I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources
  • Almazov National Medical Research Centre
  • Institute of Experimental Medicine

This year, Lomonosov Moscow State University became a member of the consortium (represented by seven partners). It was supported in the creation of the world-class research centre 'Supersound' in the research area of 'Intelligent transport and telecommunication systems, research and effective development of the Earth's geosphere and the surrounding Universe (outer space and aerospace, the World Ocean, the Arctic and the Antarctic)'.

The Higher School of Economics, in collaboration with the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Miklouho-Maclay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was supported in the creation of the world-class research centre 'National Centre for Interdisciplinary Research of Human Potential' in the research area of 'Humanitarian and social studies of the interaction of man and nature, man and technology, social institutions as effective responses of society to great challenges'.

Remarkably, in the research area of 'Personalised medicine, high-tech healthcare and health-preserving technologies', this competition resulted in the support of one individual project of the National Medical Research Centre of Endocrinology – the world-class research centre 'National Centre for Personalised Medicine of Endocrine Diseases' received support. The project aimed at the creation of the world-class research centre 'National Centre for Personalised Medicine' was also supported.

2. The competitive selection for Presidential grants

A competitive selection for Presidential grants has been announced. This project is aimed at governmental support of young Russian scientists – candidates of science and doctors of science – in 2021/2022.

Competitions are held for governmental support of the following types of research:

  • research led by young (under 35 years old at the end of the grant, i.e. persons born in 1988 and younger) Russian scientists – candidates of science (MK-2021 Competition). Works related to the subjects of candidate's dissertations may be submitted for competition. Such works must have significant scientific novelty demonstrating noticeable contribution of these young scientists to the development of science and technology, and their creative talent. Works related to the preparation of doctoral dissertations are also accepted;
  • research led by young (under 40 years old at the end of the grant, i.e. persons born in 1983 and younger) Russian scientists – doctors of science (MD-2021 Competition). Works related to the subjects of doctoral dissertations may be submitted for competition.

Applications can be submitted in the following areas of science: natural sciences (mathematics and mechanics; physical sciences; chemical sciences; biological sciences; earth and environmental sciences; computer sciences and informatics); social and human sciences; medical sciences; technical sciences; agricultural sciences; and space sciences.

Grants are awarded for a two-year period. The size of a grant for a young candidate of science is 600,000 roubles per year. The size of a grant for a young doctor of science is 1 million roubles per year.

Applications will be accepted electronically from 9 September to 13 October 2020. All grant applicants are required to register on the website of the Russian Presidential Council for Grants and fill in interactive forms. They must complete their work on the website before 2pm Moscow standard time on 13 October 2020.

Please contact the Research Support Service if you have any questions.

3. The competitive selection for Presidential scholarships for young scientists and postgraduate students

The competitive selection for Presidential scholarships for young scientists and postgraduate students has been announced. It is aimed at individuals engaged in research and development in the priority areas of Russian economic modernisation in 2021–2023.

The following researchers can take part in the competition: young (under 35 years old) scientists and postgraduate students, who are citizens of the Russian Federation, and are engaged in promising research and development in the priority areas of Russian economic modernisation. They must: have scientific publications in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and editions; either occupy teaching positions, or be scientific, engineering and technical workers at Russian scientific organisations or educational institutions of higher education, or be enrolled in full-time postgraduate studies.

Applications can be submitted in the following priority areas of Russian economic modernisation: energy efficiency and energy saving (including the development of new types of fuel); nuclear technologies; space technologies (related to telecommunications, including GLONASS and the ground development infrastructure programme); medical technologies (primarily diagnostic equipment and medical drugs); and strategic information technologies (including creation of supercomputers and software development).

The Presidential scholarship is 22,800 roubles, and it is paid monthly. The scholarship is awarded for the whole period of the research and development programme in accordance with the schedule approved by the Academic Council.

Applications will be accepted electronically from 9 September to 13 October 2020. All scholarship applicants are required to register on the website of the Russian Presidential Council for Grants and fill in interactive forms. They must complete their work on the website before 2pm Moscow standard time on 13 October 2020.

Please contact the Research Support Service, if you have any questions.

4. Admissions organisation in 2020

1.1. This year, 197 people were enrolled in general education programmes (Academic Gymnasium named after Dmitry Faddeev at St Petersburg University). The number of applicants for these academic programmes in 2020 was 732 (in 2019 it was 679, an increase of 7.8%). For the first time ever, the admission tests to the Academic Gymnasium were held as a competition of documents (portfolios).

1.2. 1,603 people applied for the programmes of non-university level higher education (St Petersburg University Medical College and St Petersburg University College of Physical Culture and Sports, Economics and Technology). In 2019 this number was 1,020, an increase of 57.2%. At the same time, according to Rosstat, last year the overall increase in the competitive situation for programmes of non-university level higher education in Russia was 6.3% compared with 2018. The admission quotas were filled completely; the number of contractual students remains at the level of 2019.

1.3. 25,181 people applied for bachelor's and specialist's degree programmes (the total of about 80,000 applications). In 2019, there were 16,912 applicants, an increase of 48.9%. At the same time, the universities of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region saw a 15% growth in the number of applicants compared to 2019. The number of state-financed students is 2,016 (the admission quotas were filled completely). The number of those enrolled on a contractual basis is 1,797 (in 2019 this number was 1,355, an increase of 32.6%). Remarkably, the admissions quality is very high this year. Indeed, the Uniform State Examination grade point average of our first-year students soared to new heights: 93.61 (in 2019 it was 92.49).

1.4. This year, more than 6,000 university graduates applied for master's programmes at St Petersburg University. This is almost 20% more than a year earlier (2019: 5,296, 2020: 6,248 applicants). At the same time, according to Rosstat, last year the number of people wishing to become master's students decreased by 7% in the Russian Federation as a whole.

The significant increase in the number of prospective master's students is primarily caused by the high demand for master's programmes implemented by St Petersburg University. The format of admissions tests was also important for the applicants: in 2020, all tests were conducted online only, making it possible for the applicants to be tested without coming to St Petersburg. It should be noted that over the past few years the University has been conducting admissions tests to most of the master's programmes in the form of a competitive selection of documents (portfolios).

More than half of the enrolled (almost 60%) are graduates of other universities; in 2019 their number was 52% of the enrolled applicants. The annual increase in the number of applicants from other universities is facilitated by the openness and transparency of the University's admissions campaign, as well as by the demand for university education (Dismissal for anti-corruption activity; Admissions are transparent). Over 400 students were enrolled in master's studies on a contractual basis, which is 15% more than last year.

1.5. 1,406 applicants were enrolled on the postgraduate programmes (in 2019 there were 1,136 applicants, an increase of 23.8%). The admission quotas were filled completely.

1.6. Compared to 2019, the number of applicants for clinical residency programmes increased by 13% (in 2019 there were 1,270 applicants, in 2020 – 1,443 applicants). The number of state-financed students is 96 (the admission quotas were filled completely). The number of contractual students is 250 (in 2019 there were 157 students, an increase of 59.2%).

5. The legal consequences of submitting enrolment consents for budget-funded places to several higher education institutions

In accordance with paragraph 3 of Clause 14 of Order No 726 of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science 'On the Specific Features of Admissions to Academic Programmes of Higher Education (Bachelor Programmes, Specialist Degree Programmes, Master Programmes, and Postgraduate Programmes for Training Research and Teaching Staff) for the 2020/2021 Academic Year' dated 15 June 2020, all applicants state in their enrolment consent applications for state-financed places within the admission quotas that they have no active (not revoked) enrolment consent applications submitted to places within the admission quotas of any programmes of higher education of this level, including those submitted to other organisations.

Thus, pursuant to Order No 726, the applicant may submit his/her enrolment consent application only to one organisation and to one academic programme.

In accordance with Clause 15 of Order No 726, the applicant has the right to revoke a previously submitted enrolment consent application by submitting an enrolment refusal application using the same means he/she used when submitting the enrolment consent application.

Only after meeting this requirement, the applicant has the right to submit an enrolment consent application to another educational organisation or to another academic programme within the deadlines for acceptance of documents from applicants established by Order No 726.

At the same time, in accordance with Sub-clause 2 of Part 2 of Article 61 of Federal Law No 273-FZ 'On Education in the Russian Federation' dated 29 December 2012, educational relations may be terminated early at the initiative of the educational organisation if the admissions procedure has been violated by the student resulting in his/her illegal enrolment in this educational organisation.

Thus, in case the applicant has violated the above requirement (enrolment consent application to two educational organisations of higher education), pursuant to Sub-clause 2 of Part 2 of Article 61 of Federal Law No 273-FZ 'On Education in the Russian Federation' dated 29 December 2012, he/she is subject to expulsion from the educational organisation to which he/she submitted his/her enrolment consent later.

Over 112,000 applications were submitted to all academic programmes implemented at the University (bachelor's degree, specialist's degree, master's degree, clinical residency, postgraduate studies, non-university level higher education). During the admissions campaign, all cases of enrolment consent application submission are recorded in Rosobrnadzor's Federal Information System (FIS for USE Results and Admissions). Only seven applicants to St Petersburg University were recorded to have had difficulties caused by previously submitted enrolment consents to other universities. All these problems were promptly resolved.

6. Accommodation organisation

The University provides accommodation at its halls of residence to all non-resident and international full-time students who need it. After the University administration allocated two large halls of residence in the city centre to private companies in the early 2000s (Information on the situation at the University halls of residence), more than half of the student accommodation is now located at the halls of residence in Peterhof. That makes it impossible to accommodate all of the students, who are studying in the central districts of St Petersburg, at the halls of residence on Vasilyevsky Island and in the Nevsky District of St Petersburg.

Taking into account the opinion of the Student Council, the University approved the rules for providing accommodation at the University halls of residence and the rules of resettlement from halls of residence located in Peterhof to the halls of residence located in the Vasileostrovsky and Nevsky Districts of St Petersburg (Regulation on the provision of accommodation at the St Petersburg University halls of residence).

According to these rules, orphaned children, disabled persons, as well as winners and prize-winners of the All-Russian School Olympiad and other school olympiads enrolled without passing any admissions tests, are eligible for priority accommodation at the halls of residence on Vasilyevsky Island and in the Nevsky District.

At the same time, students who were initially provided with accommodation at the halls of residence located in Peterhof may later move to the halls of residence located in the Vasileostrovsky or Nevsky Districts of St Petersburg. Resettlement is carried out in order of priority in accordance with the same rules for all students. The resettlement procedure is absolutely transparent: information on a single queue for resettlement is made available to the public on the University website. If a student does not plan to live in a Peterhof hall of residence, he/she preserves the right to a resettlement queue for a hall of residence in the Vasileostrovsky or Nevsky Districts.

Resettlement is carried out to vacant accommodation throughout the academic year. Thus, the students of the University have the opportunity to get accommodation at a hall of residence in the Vasileostrovsky or Nevsky Districts in the order of the established priority.

Since 30 August, the Virtual Reception has received complaints related to dissatisfaction with the work of the accommodation department (long queues, low speed of paperwork). This problem was faced only by the contractual students. This year, the dates of enrolment in St Petersburg University were shifted. This shift was caused by the later dates of the Unified State Examination at Russian schools. In addition, there are additional admissions tests for a number of academic programmes. In this regard, the last portion of enrolment orders, namely contractual students, were issued only on 29 August. Only after they were issued, it became possible to accommodate first-year students at the halls of residence pursuant to the common rules, in order to start accommodating students before 1 September. Information was posted on the University website that accommodation would take place from 30 August to 6 September, and classes for most of the first-year students (90% of them) would begin only after 6 September. Due to the fact that the employees of the Department for Youth Affairs had only a few hours to accommodate the contractual first-year students, for the first time in recent years (The University Halls of Residence Complex: the past and the present) first-year students were accommodated through the accommodation department (as it was ten years ago). They had to do all of the work manually: process the students' personal data, select accommodation, and draw up the required documents. That resulted in an increase in the service time. In the previous years it took 5 to 10 minutes for one student to be accommodated.

At the same time, 2,889 state-financed students were assigned rooms and accommodated at the halls of residence in a regular mode and without any queues.

Despite the fact that accommodation will take place till 6 September and classes for 90% of the first-year students will begin only after 6 September, more than 2,000 students decided to move into the halls of residence on 30 August (for example, in previous years less than 700 students were accommodated on the very first day). About 200 students came to the accommodation department to have their documents processed.

This problem was, where possible, promptly resolved. All the necessary steps were taken to automate documents processing for that category of students, and the speed of service was significantly reduced.

Remarkably, after the employees of the accommodation department finished their work at 8pm, all the students who had not had time to register and their parents, were accommodated in guest rooms on the territory of the hall of residence complex.

7. The condition of the University halls of residence

The participants of the Rector's meeting traditionally discussed the condition of the University halls of residence. Over the past ten years, a capital renovation of Halls of Residence No 6, 8, 10, 12 (a total of 2,843 places ) has been carried out. In addition, ongoing repairs of individual residential premises are constantly being carried out by contractors and the University maintenance crew. During this period, 5,938 places were renovated.

For more details see:

Despite these measures, the halls of residence still have a significant degree of general physical wear and, unfortunately, no longer meet modern international quality standards.

As of 1 September 2020, 2,301 places were decommissioned and 1,431 places are on the verge of being decommissioned due to the probability of the occurrence of risks to the students' life and health. About 62% of the places require capital renovation.

At the same time, the requirements of students and their parents to accommodation quality are increasing year by year. For example, this year there were complaints from students and their parents that the provided living space did not suit them. It did not meet their ideas about the living standards. Remarkably, the premises provided to them have only recently been renovated and comply with the current sanitary standards.

These situations clearly demonstrate that the quality of life has changed, the requirements for the living conditions at halls of residence have increased, and, even after renovation, living premises meeting the standards of the 1970s no longer satisfy a significant part of the 21st century University entrants.

Halls of residence are a key component of the social and living conditions for students, so they are becoming the most important competitive advantage of any university. Therefore, it is crucial to build new halls of residence meeting the world quality standards of life.

The project of the University's territory development and construction of a new hall of residence on Vasilyevsky Island will solve both the problem of accommodating students close to the University and the quality standards problem.

8. The matriculation ceremony for first-year students

Due to the ban of Rospotrebnadzor on holding public events, the 2020 matriculation ceremony for first-year students of St Petersburg University was held online. The ceremony was broadcast on the official YouTube channel of the University and attracted thousands of viewers. Most online viewers watched the first part of the ceremony: at the moment when the St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev presented student cards to the best applicants, almost two thousand viewers watched the broadcast. In total, there were over 12,000 viewers. A detailed report is published on the University website. Watch the broadcast and the popular science lectures given by top University scientists on the official YouTube channel. The participants of the Rector's meeting noted that the matriculation ceremony was also held online in other Russian universities. Yet, the celebration organised by St Petersburg University was distinguished by a large number of viewers and a lot of feedback from the audience.

9. The beginning of the new academic year

In accordance with the approved schedule, classes started in the new academic year on 1 September. The format of the teaching and learning process has been repeatedly reported: it is a mixed format combining classroom-based studies and distance learning. This format of training is applied due to the constraints associated with the requirements for the prevention of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These requirements are specified in the Recommendations for the Prevention of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) at Educational Institutions of Higher Education approved by the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation on 29 July 2020.

Prior to the start of classes, a meeting was organised by the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods with the heads of other University subdivisions. The main tasks of organising effective training in the new format were discussed. As a result, a decision was made that the heads of the University subdivisions must continue regular meetings with student councils. They must promptly respond to any requests from students and teachers related to current issues. In addition, it is important for everyone to take a responsible attitude to compliance with the anti-epidemic recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor (to observe the face mask mandate, ventilate the classrooms between classes, use disinfectants, etc.) and promptly respond to violations.

During the first academic week, six heads of academic subdivisions have already held meetings with student councils. Information on the first week of classes was received from the directors and the deans: 14 of them did not mention any problems, three heads reported that the schedule needed to be adjusted (for example, in some cases, either no information about the teacher was displayed, or the classroom number was not specified, or it was offered to change the format of classes). Obviously, in this new situation of combined teaching and learning with certain restrictions imposed, it is impossible to completely avoid such situations. Yet, any problems are quickly resolved when they are discovered.

Over the past two weeks, the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods received 67 requests from students related to various educational and methodological issues (32 requests to the Virtual Reception and 37 requests sent by e-mail). They were mostly typical and related to: the format and beginning of the classes; and opportunities for international students either to come to St Petersburg University or to study online. All questions are answered in a timely manner.

10. The schedule of classes

The schedule was approved within the period established by the Academic Regulations (on or prior to 31 August). For most programmes, the electronic timetable was published on 29 August. It is important to note that, due to the late enrolment of bachelor's students this year (the last and biggest part of the enrolment orders was only published on 30 August), in the vast majority of bachelor's programmes the first week of September was used for organisational events and accommodating students at the halls of residence (from 30 August to 6 September), so classes started on 7 September.

As it has been repeatedly reported, both classroom-based and online training is planned for almost all of the academic programmes in this semester. The format of classes is specified in the electronic timetable, and students are informed about the applied distance learning technology in their personal accounts.

There were several requests to the Virtual Reception related to these issues. For example, the students of philology first came up with arguments and requested offline classes, but today, referring to the fact that some of the students cannot work offline and taking into account the epidemiological situation, asked if they could return to online classes. Another example is the question of a break between classroom-based and online training in one of the medical programmes. The student asked to increase the duration of such a break. After a comprehensive analysis of the situation, the duration of the break was increased. One more appeal was received from a group of students with a proposal to transfer online classes into a classroom-based format. The proposal was carefully analysed. Initially, when determining the format of the classes, the age of the lecturer was taken into account due to certain restrictions, as well as the total number of students who would be present in the buildings and the need to assign a particular classroom to the group. Taking into account the available opportunities and the proposals of the deans and the directors, the format can be changed, since, re-emphasising, initially the schedule was made up on the basis of proposals received from the heads of the University subdivisions.

11. Organisation of the teaching and learning process for international students

Currently, due to the ongoing pandemic, Russia's borders with most countries remain closed. At the same time, 650 international students are now living in the University halls of residence and studying at the University. The total of about 4,400 foreigners are to study at St Petersburg University in the 2020/2021 academic year. 2,391 of them are first-year students.

If the Russian borders with other states remain closed and there are restrictions on entry into the Russian Federation, the teaching and learning process for international students must be organised using distance learning technologies. The Virtual Reception received several questions from international students related to this issue. To clarify the conditions for organising the teaching and learning process for international students who cannot come to St Petersburg University, information letters were sent to them, and a webinar is to be held to answer the incoming questions. To help organise the training, it is planned to involve volunteers from the St Petersburg University's International Students' Club.

After arriving in the Russian Federation, international students will be admitted to the teaching and learning process after a mandatory 14-day isolation (starting from the day of crossing the border), with a PCR test for COVID-19 done on the 10th –12th day of their isolation.

12. Training University staff to work in MS Teams

In the new academic year (after a summer discussion with the heads of subdivisions), it is planned to use the MS Teams system to conduct online classes using direct communication. This system demonstrated good performance during the previous academic year in several academic programmes. About 20% of online classes in the spring semester were conducted using this resource. This system makes it possible not only to conduct a class, but also to record it automatically using various functions for methodological support of the teaching and learning process.

To teach the lecturers how to operate this system, webinars were organised on 27 August 2020 and 02 September 2020. They were held by experienced MS Teams users among the University lecturers and the head of the University Information Technology Service. Explanations were provided on the technology of working with this system. Several hundred teachers took part in the webinars. The recording of these webinars is available to all MS Teams users at St Petersburg University. A methodological guide was prepared on the use of the system in the teaching and learning process. It was published on the University website.

13. The announcement of an open tender for research and development within the framework of the capital construction project 'Design and Construction of Facilities in the Area of St Petersburg University Development'

On 1 September 2020, the University announced an open tender for  research and development within the framework of the capital construction project 'Design and Construction of Facilities in the Area of St Petersburg University Development'.  The design part of the project is to be completed in December 2021.

Invitations to take part in the tender were sent to all archITECtural bureaus that have designed large educational and scientific facilities in Russia in recent years.

In 2019, the interdepartmental working group on the development of proposals for the creation and deployment of a unified University campus developed the following model for funding the construction of facilities in the Area of St Petersburg University Development:

  • at the expense of investors within the framework of a public-private partnership, it is planned to build halls of residence, sports facilities, a university clinic, and a congress centre;
  • at the expense of the federal budget, it is planned to build educational and laboratory buildings, a research laboratory unit of the Scientific and Technological Medical Complex, premises for the teaching and learning process, scientific and other statutory activities of St Petersburg University (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 23 September 2019; Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 20 July 2020).

The tender was announced only for the design of objects that will be built at the expense of the federal budget. The design of facilities to be built at the expense of investors will be carried out at the expense of the appropriate investors. The design assignment, approved by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, was drawn up on the basis of proposals from University staff and students. It was analysed by six working groups formed in 2019: 'External infrastructure', 'Medical activities', 'Science', 'Education', 'Sports, culture and extracurricular activities', and a working group formed to study the experience of relocating Leningrad State University to the Petrodvoretsovy District (Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 14 October 2019; Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 21 October 2019).

The proposals of the University staff and students related to the composition of the facilities were taken into account. In particular, the Botanical Garden should be designed with an area of ​​at least 1,500 square metres; the greenhouses should occupy the area of ​​4,000 square metres; the experimental fields – ​​50,000 square metres. The observatory should consist of a scientific and educational building, an assembly and repair workshop, and scientific and educational instruments, that is, telescopes, a transit instrument and a geodynamic station. In addition, at the suggestion of the 'Science' and 'Education' working groups, the design assignment includes proposals for space-planning solutions. These include: 1) ensuring the universality and functionality of buildings, modularity, 'open' archITECture of premises; 2) maximum use of natural lighting, including vertical lighting; and 3) the need to provide wide staircases and passages (elevators should not be considered as the main means for transporting streams of people). That was formulated in many proposals and therefore included into the design assignment.

The participants of the Rector's meeting highlighted that the announcement of the tender coincided with another competition important for the University students and staff. In early September, the Committee for the Development of Transport Infrastructure of St Petersburg announced a tender for the creation of a draft area plan of the Line1 of the St Petersburg Metro (Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line), from the Prospekt Veteranov station to the Pulkovo projected station. This creates opportunities for further extension of the oldest line of the St Petersburg Metro to the Area of St Petersburg University Development.

In addition, the meeting participants noted that the University continued to implement its project related to building new halls of residence for 1,000 people in the 4A quarter of Vasilyevsky Island, within the framework of a public-private partnership.

14. The creation of a medical complex in the Area of St Petersburg University Development

Petr Iablonskii reported that on behalf of the Rector, from 23 March to 19 August 2020, two on-campus and three online meetings devoted to the creation of a university clinic in the University Development Area were held:

  • with a representative of the Japanese Centre for the Development of Trade and Economic Relations (Mr Akihiko Satake);
  • with the executive director of the ITEC consulting company (Mr Jun Takahashi);
  • with the executive director of Medical Excellence Japan, a governmental organisation (Ms Noriko Yamada); and
  • with the Japanese Consulate General in St Petersburg (Ms Etsuko Shimoda, the Vice Consul).

At the first meeting, Vice-Rector Mikhail Kudilinsky outlined the main provisions of the concept of building a university clinic as an integral part of the scientific and technological complex in the Area of St Petersburg University Development.

The subsequent meetings revealed a great interest of the Japanese party in the implementation of this project. Through the mediation of Mr Satake, Director of the Japanese Centre for the Development of Trade and Economic Relations, the Japanese party has already twice given a detailed presentation of the Japanese approach to the implementation of the St Petersburg University Clinic project developed by ITEC. Since 1981, the company has implemented a third of all medical projects in Japan related to the design and construction of clinics for public (12 out of 43 – 28%), municipal (3 out of 8 – 38%) and private universities (9 out of 29 – 31%). The company has all the necessary licences and certificates not only in the field of archITECtural and construction activities, but also in the field of management of medical organisations' activities.

Moreover, the company has experience in building clinics outside of Japan: in Iraq and Vietnam. At the time of the negotiations, the company has been implementing 900 contracts with medical institutions in Japan and over 100 contracts in more than 100 countries around the world.

As a first step, upon signing a memorandum of cooperation with St Petersburg University, the Japanese party is ready to start implementing, at its own expense, a medical and technical assignment for the design of a medical cluster in the Area of St Petersburg University Development. That was confirmed by Mr Suzuki, a deputy of the ruling party.

One of the most valuable additions to this information is the fact that the Japanese party fully shares the position of the University administration that the clinic should become a cementing link in the Area of the University Development.

The meeting participants expressed their support for this project, noting that the participation of such an experienced and reputable partner in the medical field would help avoid many of the currently existing risks.

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 March

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 21 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. These included 7 enquires on teaching and methodology. 11 enquiries were sent to the email of the Vice-Rector. They exclude the enquiries on the University reorganisation (see paragraph 2 below). The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 10 March 2021

The participants of the meeting observed a moment of silence in memory of the University Professor Emeritus Evgeny Veremey.

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 45 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Nine enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 February 2021

1. The format of training sessions from 1 March 2021

The Rector’s meeting addressed the proposals of the heads of academic and research departments on the format of training sessions from 1 March 2021. The following decisions were made taking into account the experience of organising the teaching and learning process with the use of information and communication technologies and the need to comply with the Recommendations for the prevention of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in educational institutions of higher education, approved by the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation on 29 July 2020.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 January 2021

1. Current issues with organising the academic process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 35 enquiries from students and teachers including 23 enquiries on academic issues addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Seven enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting (The quality of the heating system in hall of residence No 18;St Petersburg University branch in Tashkent;Competition for funding to cover participation in student olympiads, intellectual contests, conferences and other scientific events in 2021;  Imposing disciplinary liability).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 December 2020

1. St Petersburg University is a co-founder and the sole Russian representative in the Global Alliance of Massive Open Online Courses

The Global MOOC Alliance is a non-commercial partnership of higher educational institutions, online educational platforms and international non-profit organisations initiated by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education (UNESCO IITE) and Tsinghua University (PRC). Its creation was officially announced in Beijing at the global online conference ‘Learning Revolution and Higher Education Transformation’, which took place on 9-11 December 2020. St Petersburg University’s participation in the founding of the Global MOOC Alliance is a great honour and gives us worldwide recognition in the field of online education.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 7 December 2020

As proposed by the Rector, the meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Professor Igor Froyanov.

1. About a meeting with Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

On 2 December, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko met with the heads of the following organisations, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government: Moscow State University, St Petersburg University, Kurchatov Institute, the Higher School of Economics, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and the University of Economics. St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev and Vice-Rector for Research Sergey Mikushev participated in the meeting, during which the work of the Situation Centre of the Government of the Russian Federation and new approaches to contemporary digital management were demonstrated. Two lines of development were highlighted in the work of the Centre: teams of professionals, ad hoc groups of experts and government officials, who are engaged in dealing with particular tasks, and an approach to work predicated on the principle of co-working.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 November 2020

1. The Second International Congress of the Russian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science

On 27-29 November, the Second International Congress of the Russian Society for History and Philosophy of Science was held at St Petersburg University. The main areas of history and the philosophy of science that are presented in Russia were considered, as were new, emerging areas of research that are just beginning to develop in our country. Emphasis was placed on a discussion of issues involving the interplay between philosophical, academic and technological research and society from both contemporary and historical perspectives. These included the relationship between the goals of academic activity and significant public objectives, the place of scholarly expertise in relevant public discussions and the ability of scholarship to meet the fundamental challenges of our time. More than 400 Russian and over 50 foreign scholars (from such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Germany) took part in 14 panel discussions and 9 roundtables.

It was noted at the Rector’s Meeting that St Petersburg University was more and more frequently the organiser or co-organiser of international scholarly events, and this helps to promote the University’s image.

2. The All-Russian Academic Conference — Theology in the Field of Education and Scholarship: Challenges and Solutions

On 25-26 November, the All-Russian Academic Conference — Theology in the Field of Education and Scholarship: Challenges and Solutions was held at St Petersburg University. It included three roundtables, which took place on 25 November. The conference was organised with the support of the Association of Leading Universities (ALU).

On 26 November, a plenary session was held by videoconference, and it was opened by Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University, Chairman of the ALU and a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, President of the Scientific-Education Theological Association and Rector of the Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies of the Russian Orthodox Church, also delivered a welcoming address. The following representatives of different faiths participated in a discussion of complex theological issues: Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar; Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of St Petersburg and the North-West Region of Russia and Mufti of the Cathedral Mosque of St Petersburg Ravil Khazrat Pancheev; Rector of the St Petersburg Theological Academy Bishop Siluan of Peterhof, Chairman of the Council on Islamic Education, and Rector of the Russian Islamic Institute Rafik Mukhametshin — along with their secular colleagues, theologians and scholars. The materials of the conference will be published in the journal Issues of Theology, which is published by St Petersburg University and the Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies.

3. Organisation of the teaching and learning process

In the past week, the Virtual Reception has received 29 appeals from teachers and from students and their parents (of which 11 were about academic issues), and the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods has received another 22 through her email. These included questions about transfers and reinstatements, the time period and the timetable for resitting exams, the awarding of scholarships, and also about requests for certificates and duplicate documents.

There was a question in the Virtual Reception from a student who wanted to know about advance notice for the resitting of exams. Students are informed about the schedule for resitting exams two weeks before the first pass/fail or graded exam. These exams are held throughout the entire semester, especially for those students who have been given their own schedule for classwork. The student was asking why they had been notified only four days before a pass/fail German exam. It was explained at the meeting that, according to University regulations, a student must be informed about the date and time of a resitting (as part of an additional period of exams) three calendar days prior to their first pass/fail exam and one week prior to a graded exam. So, in this case, the rules had been observed.

All of the directors and deans continue to be in regular contact with the teachers and the student councils of the academic and research departments. To wit, the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Sergei Ivanov, passed along a question that he had been asked during a meeting with the faculty’s student council about the proctoring system that is used for exams in online courses. The same question was recently raised by biology students (‘Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 2 November 2020’). It was reported at the meeting that the Director of the Centre of E-Learning Development at St Petersburg University, Vladimir Starostenko, is prepared to hold separate meetings with students from different academic programmes in order to explain everything, to answer questions and to remove all of the students’ apprehensions about what is for them a new procedure. The heads of the academic and research departments are requested to organise such meetings (as needed).

There were a number of complaints about the operation of technical equipment and software, the first one being that when working in MS Teams, there are problems with the sound and with the screen sharing function (students do not see what the teacher is demonstrating on the screen). It was explained that problems with the sound can arise from the use of cloud-based distant learning platforms, a poor Internet connection and equipment specifications (from both teachers and students, who may be connecting up from different devices and from different corners of the earth). Should problems arise, it is recommended to use the audio-conference mode, which is less demanding when it comes to the Internet connection and the features of the computers being used. The screen sharing system is standard for such platforms as MS Teams and Zoom, and problems may come about because the teacher has been poorly trained to work with the system.

Just as a reminder, an ever-expanding collection of instructions and methodological materials is being published on the St Petersburg University portal. Recordings will soon be published there of educational webinars, in which many of the University’s teachers participated.

There was another complaint about the use of MS Teams. For forty minutes, one teacher kept getting the same response from the programme: ‘An error has occurred. Try again in a few minutes.’ They were forced to set up a conference in Zoom on the spot. A number of teachers have noted that the MS Teams programme does not run on the departmental computers and does not have the capacity of home laptops and desktop computers. There are also problems with managing students’ work in seminars, and the interface is not user-friendly.

There are such problems on a number of computers in different buildings that did not use to be used to conduct classes with multimedia software and equipment and may not meet MS Teams requirements in a number of ways. In response to requests from the directors and deans, and also from the heads of departments, the equipment is being selectively upgraded, taking into account the reserves of equipment on hand and what can be assembled from different places. In addition, comprehensive upgrading and re-equipping are being carried out: 75 PCs have been purchased to refresh the computer fleet (on average, 3 computers per faculty) and 120 laptops for the academic staff (on average, 5 laptops for each faculty). Consideration is being given to meting out an additional 260 laptops for this purpose (11 per institute or faculty).

A third complaint had to do with the choice of platforms: despite the 40-minute time limit for free accounts, some teachers feel that Zoom is more convenient than MS Teams. It was explained that the MS Teams and Zoom programmes serve different purposes. MS Teams is integrated into the St Petersburg University corporate environment (with user accounts, user groups, which are formed according to the year of study, and course teams), with the possibility of automatic recording and storage of meetings, file allocation, etc. Zoom is a platform for audio-visual meetings, which is easier to use because it does not offer the possibility of creating student groups. It also does not provide automatic storage of recordings (once finished, they have to be manually transferred to special resources).

In a fourth complaint, students reported that in a St Petersburg University hall of residence in the Nevsky District (at 27/1 Solidarnosti Prospect) access to the Internet is often cut off. The students asked for measures to be taken. In response, it was explained to them that, according to the monitoring system, the port load at this particular hall of residence was 20 percent. The last transmission interruption at this hall of residence was on 25 September at 15.21 and it lasted for 28 minutes (during a power outage).

The main problems and complaints of Internet users are related to the functioning of personal equipment. A considerable number of students use their own Wi-Fi routers, to which users are connected that are not registered with the IT Division. As a result, personal equipment may malfunction and load speed may decrease. An analysis of students’ appeals to the Virtual Reception shows that, as a rule, it is students that are not registered as subscribers who complain about a poor Internet connection and, as it turns out, those who have paid for the Internet have no complaints at all.

And there was a fifth complaint: ‘Unfortunately, there were also some rather unfruitful contacts with the IT Division.’ The head of a department reported that in one session with MS Teams, it turned out that he was not able to enter a programme, which ‘gave’ him the following explanation: ‘You have not been granted access either because your organisation has not set up an account or your password is invalid.’ He tried to deal with it on his own, but to no avail, so he tried to call, using the specified phone number, but couldn’t get through. In the end, he wrote to the support service.

As it turned out, he himself had changed the password on 28-29 September (there is an entry in the logs of the authorisation system). It should be noted that login passwords for all systems (one single account is used) are the same. Having recalled the right password, he was able to get into MS Teams. His appeal had been recorded by the technical support helpline (the written request had not been recorded). The technical support desk, however, has no information about user passwords and is unable (without proof of a user’s identity) to quickly and remotely reset a password. Since the problem had been resolved by the user himself and there had been no further appeals, the request for a new password was dropped because the deadline had already passed. In response to the request, a face-to-face meeting was held with him, for the purpose of consultation and for adjustment of the equipment. A decision was made to update the computer, which was in one of the classrooms of the Mendeleev Centre, so that the staff in this department could work more effectively in MS Teams.

4. Misconduct and disciplinary action

Information about violations of internal labour regulations comes from different sources, both from an analysis of the records of visits by officials, deans and directors with representatives of student councils and trade unions and from appeals received through the Virtual Reception, by e-mail, or by other means.

For example, on 12 November, a first-year student appealed to the Senior ViceRector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods in reference to several instances when classes taught by Valentin Starikov, an assistant lecturer in the Department of the Theory and History of Sociology, got late starts (later than they were supposed to according to the timetable). These facts were confirmed by an investigation. In an explanatory letter, the teacher admitted to these late starts, attributing them to ‘technical constraints and problems with Internet (online) access’, and committed himself to conducting additional classes (seminars) in the course, The History of Sociology, at dates and times agreed to by the students. When considering disciplinary action against an employee of the University, the following factors are weighed: the presence or absence of malicious intent, the degree of guilt, the proportionality of the punishment to the gravity of the offence, the circumstances in which it was committed and the person’s work ethic. Taking into account that there had been no previous complaints about Assistant Lecturer Starikov’s observance of the labour regulations, and that he enjoyed a generally favourable reputation, the decision was made to limit his punishment to a warning that henceforth such offenses would be impermissible.

It was pointed out at the meeting that over the past three months, 27 violations have been reported, for each of which an investigation has been conducted and disciplinary measures have been taken (as a comparison, during the same period in 2019, there were 12 violations). This year, the most frequent infraction was nonobservance of the mask requirement (ten reprimands), followed by smoking in undesignated areas (three associate professors in the Faculty of Philology — Olga Blinova, Anastasiia Ryko and Suren Takhtadzian), and also disorderly conduct and security violations. To be more precise, research engineer Boichenko gave her pass to another person so that they could enter the University, IT Division engineer Siukalov broke the rules by taking equipment out of a University building, and Professor Sergei Maksimov of the Institute of Earth Sciences, while driving into the courtyard of 33 10th Line, completely demolished one wing of the gate and, in so doing, caused damage to the University.

5. The Personal Digital Certificates Project becomes a reality

In 2018, as part of the National Technological Initiative of Russia, the Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre was established at St Petersburg University (‘Results of the Meeting of the Academic Council of St Petersburg University dated 24 June 2019’). The Centre is engaged in research and applied engineering design, and also in teaching and learning. Accordingly, in two years, six non-degree programmes, five online courses and three master’s programmes (in Physics and Mathematics, Economics and Political Science) have been created.

Recently, the latest in a series of events was held on the Autonomous Nonprofit Organisation platform, the University of National Technology Initiative 2035. The information posted there about the St Petersburg University academic programmes, designed by expert teachers at the Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre, was sought after. The government pays for the instruction given in these courses in the form of personal digital certificates, the purpose being to create competencies in the digital economy among Russians. Seventeen students received such certificates, and ten of them went through the training. In this way, St Petersburg University became a participant in the Personal Digital Certificates Project (which is part of another project: Personnel for the Digital Economy). These opportunities will expand.

6. St Petersburg University students are among the winners of the Samsung IT Academy Inter-University Student Project Contest 2020

Two years ago, St Petersburg University signed an agreement of strategic partnership with Samsung Electronics. The two parties subsequently signed another agreement to launch the Samsung IT Academy project at the University (‘The Rector of St Petersburg University and the President of Samsung Headquarters have signed a cooperation agreement’). Our students have since become participants in Samsung projects.

Recently, the work of St Petersburg University students from three academic programmes in applied mathematics, ‘A System for the Monitoring of Crowding Levels in Suburban Trains’, reached the finals of the Samsung IT Academy InterUniversity Student Project Contest 2020 and was one of the top three projects in the Internet of Things section. The finals were held on 11 November, 2020, and the St Petersburg University team (Aleksandra Gavrilova, Nikita Antonov and Aleksandr Timofeev) took second place. There is a system that monitors for vacant seats that is already operational in London’s suburban trains, and such a system is soon to be set up for the first time in our country. It will have a convenient interface based on a mobile communications system.

7. St Petersburg University’s agreement with the VTB Bank

A charitable donation agreement has been concluded between St Petersburg University and the VTB Bank. Construction works will be carried out to install a fence on the University’s Mikhailovskaya Dacha campus along SanktPetersburgskoe Shosse and also to improve travel on the road. The grounds (including nine halls of residence and academic buildings) will be re-landscaped so that by the beginning of the next academic year we will have a well-protected campus. The meeting noted the role that Olga Dergunova, Director of the St Petersburg University Graduate School of Management, had played in concluding the contract with the VTB Bank.

8. University experts participate in formulating a conception for the scientific and technological development of St Petersburg

During the course of the year 2020, leading experts from St Petersburg University were invited to take part in efforts to come up with a draft Conception for the Scientific and Technological Development of St Petersburg up until 2030 (CSTD), which is under the direction of Vice-Governor of St Petersburg Vladimir Kniaginin. Among them are Professor Sergei Tunik, Dean of the Faculty of Biology Academician Igor Tikhonovich, and Director of the Institute of Pedagogy Elena Kazakova. In their reports, it is noted that a great deal was done in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Research and Innovation Infrastructure working groups to come up with proposals for sections of the future CSTD. Even so, almost none of the proposals were included in the final version.

On 26 November, at a meeting of the Governor of St Petersburg’s Science and Technology Council, the draft Conception for the Scientific and Technological Development of St Petersburg up until 2030 was presented. All the members of the Council, who had been included in the list of speakers, endorsed the proposed version. After that, first Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and then Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of the Saint Petersburg Mining University, took the floor. Mr Kropachev drew the attention of the Governor and the members of the Council to several important areas of scientific and technological development in St Petersburg, as they are described in the current version of the CSTD. He pointed out that although the authors of the conception believe that these will be the driving force behind the further development of the city and deserve support, they do not take into account the substantial contributions of the team from St Petersburg University. He cited, as an example, that when it comes to research and development in the social sciences and the humanities, mention should be made of the role played by the St Petersburg University institutes in these fields, as they have traditionally been a key source in our region for the grooming of brainpower — for the institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences as well — and the generation of research in this field. He also drew attention to the valuable contributions of the social sciences and the humanities to the city’s development and to the necessity of involving the socio-humanities divisions of St Petersburg University in the CSTD project as among the pivotal organisational structures that would form its backbone.

In a similar vein, for the life sciences, he noted the role of the St Petersburg University Institute of Translational Biomedicine, whose director, Raul Gainetdinov, is one of the most highly cited researchers in the world. The Rector proposed that the Institute, one of the leaders in its field, should be a key player in the CSTD project, as, along with the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies, it would have a profound effect on scientific and technological achievements in the region, elevating them to a global level. The Rector of the Mining University said that he supported Mr Kropachev’s proposals and noted other shortcomings in the conception.

The chairman of the Council, Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov, requested that the criticism be taken into account. He pointed out that there is a similar conception of scientific and technological development being prepared in the Leningrad Region. A working group, representing the governments of the two regions, will attempt to revise and harmonise the two documents, taking into account that they are one big megalopolis, and with due consideration to the recommendations made by St Petersburg University.

It was noted at the Rector’s Meeting that, while preparing the conception for the scientific and technological development of St Petersburg, the University experts and the members of the working groups had not reacted promptly enough to the results of the group discussions. And it was stressed that when they serve on such committees, St Petersburg University experts should not only champion their own positions on the issues under discussion but also defend the interests of the University.

9. Publication of information about teachers on the St Petersburg University portal

A question came in to the Virtual Reception from a person who is not employed by the University concerning the publication of information on the St Petersburg University portal about teachers at the Faddeev Academic Gymnasium, which provides a comprehensive secondary education. He did not find information about some teachers (their level of education, qualifications and work experience), but found, he said, information about teachers who apparently are no longer employed there. It was reported at the meeting that Rosobrnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science) had approved the requirements for the layout of the official website of this educational organisation and the format in which it presented information. These requirements will take effect on 1 January 2021. On the St Petersburg University portal, full information about teachers will be made known to the public in accordance with the requirements. The volume of information on the University portal is constantly growing, and the University requirements exceed those of Rosobrnadzor (for example, information about a teacher’s publication activity and their participation in obtaining grants is included). At the moment, there is no uniform standard, so this information is posted in different ways on the pages of the academic and research departments of the University, and monitoring of how it is posted and updated is carried out manually by the staff of the institutes and the faculties.

It was also noted that the list of full-time teachers at the University who have classes with the schoolchildren at the Academic Gymnasium, especially after the temporary move to Peterhof, has undergone some changes. In any case, the missing information was gathered, and the page on the site of the Academic Gymnasium was brought in line with the requirements of Rosobrnadzor, which was reported to the person who had appealed to the Virtual Reception.

10. Reporting on holding positions in the national or local civil service

When the University concludes a labour contract, or an independent contractor agreement, with an individual who holds or has held during the past two years a position in the national or local civil service that is included on a list of positions established by statutes and regulations of the Russian Federation, that individual is obliged to inform the personnel department. The staff of the personnel department, in turn, are obliged to request and obtain permission to document this individual’s relationship with the University according to the place of their national or local civil service, as provided for in article 12, paragraphs 2 and 4, of the Federal Act of 25 December 2008, 273-FZ, On Counteracting Corruption, and parts 2 and 3 of article 64.1 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation.

To ensure that the University and the individual in question comply with this requirement, in the text of labour contracts and independent contractor agreements with natural persons for the performance of work or the rendering of services, a clause is included prescribing the filling in of the relevant document, in which the candidate notes whether they have or have not held a position in the national or local civil service over the past two years.

11. Competition for the 2021 awards of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education

The Inter-Departmental Council for the Government of the Russian Federation awards in education has announced a competition for the 2021 awards. Works that are compliant with the list of requirements are being accepted in person from the authors, or from their proxies, at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, and are also being posted by the authors on the Правпремии.рф website until 10 February 2021. Students are asked to send their works to the address of Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It is important to note that, in order to meet all procedural requirements, the deadline for applications is 18 December 2020. The announcement of the competition — along with the list, examples and requirements — is available on the site. Works that breach the requirements of the competition will not be accepted. Information about the possibility of applying for the competition will be sent to the students’ email addresses.

12. The first batch of University badges

After a discussion about the issuance of the University breast badges (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 October 2020), the directors of the institutes and the deans of the faculties were asked to give their opinions. In the end, a decision was taken to issue a first, trial batch of badges, after which a marketing study will be conducted to determine which of them catch the fancy of alumni and members of the University community.

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 23 November 2020

1. Events held in the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya

St Petersburg University held the International Philological Conference in Memory of Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya from 26 to 24 November 2020 (St Petersburg University opened a free open access to a book Let’s talk correctly! by Lyudmila Verbitskaya). The conference brought together over 1,100 scholars and researchers. This is twice more than last year as the conference was held in a distance mode.

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Minutes of the Rector's Meeting dated 16 November 2020

1. Organisation of teaching and learning

Last week, 73 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents, including 31 enquiries on academic issues, were sent to the Virtual Reception. 21 enquiries were sent to the email of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, including 19 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and document copies, and questions on student residence and information systems’ work.

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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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