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

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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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 8 June 2020

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

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

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 1 June 2020

The University Rector Nikolay Kropachev  invited all meeting participants to observe a minute of silence  in honour of Innokentiy Zinoviev, Colonel (Res.) and Chairman of the University Council of Veterans of War, Labour, and Armed Forces (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/pamyati-predsedatelya-soveta-veteranov-voyny-truda-i-voennoy-sluzhby-spbgu), and Viktor Riazanov, Chairman of the Department of Economics Theory and Honoured Professor of the University (https://spbu.ru/news-events/novosti/ushel-iz-zhizni-vydayushchiysya-uchenyy-ekonomist-professor-viktor-timofeevich).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 426 dated 19 May 2020

1. Organization of teaching within military education programmes

The meeting started a few minutes late since N.M. Kropachev was having a talk with the State Secretary/Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, General N.A. Pankov about the organization of military training sessions for the University students during the pandemic. Earlier, the Virtual Reception Office received several requests, expressing concern about the upcoming military training sessions. Due to the shift towards distance learning, many university students went home to their native regions and, in their opinion, because of the epidemic prevention measures they might not be able to return in time for the military training sessions. Furthermore, according to the students, a long journey could increase the chances of getting sick and “bringing the virus” to the military training locations.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 427 dated 25 May 2020

1. Activities of SPbU Choir during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the beginning of the Rector’s Meeting, all the participants had a change to listen to the recording of the song “Our University” composed by L. Tikhomirov and performed by SPbU Choir (artistic director E. Krotman). 

This is not the first composition recorded by the University Choir during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Earlier, the choir already performed online the song “Coronavirus shall not pass!” composed by Sergei Pleshak.

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Minutes of the Rector's Meeting No 424 dated 12 May 2020

1. Organising the University activities in May

The educational and other activities of the University will continue to be organised in the same distance mode. At the meeting, it was noted that the interim and final assessment of students will proceed entirely in the online format.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 425 dated 15 May 2020

1. Organization of interim assessment

Interim assessment in the spring semester of the academic year 2019/2020 is organized to be held remotely, using the technologies suggested by the directors and the deans. The same tools are used that were used for teaching online classes. More than 9,000 students have already taken their tests and exams. Only a few requests connected with organizational matters were submitted by the students via the Virtual Reception service. There were also requests related to the assessment of exam results. The Virtual Reception service did not receive any requests from either students, the teacher staff or other staff members of the University in connection with the matters of technical organization of online interim assessment.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting No 423 dated 6 May 2020

1. State final certification in distance format

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