1. Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, is the winner of the Nika Film Award
  2. Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
  3. Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
  4. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan until 2030 Approved
  5. Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
  6. St Petersburg University online school
  7. Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs

1. Nika Film Award winner – Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University

Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor in the Department of Film and TV Artist Skills at

St Petersburg University, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, won the Nika Film Award in the category ‘Best Work of an Artist. 2020’ for his work as a production designer on the film ‘The Silver Skates’. (Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, won the Nika Film Award). Aleksandr Zagoskin is a member of the Union of Artists and the Union of Cinematographers, winner of the Golden Eagle and TEFI awards.

It was noted at the meeting that Nina and Anna Kudriavtsevas, graduates of St Petersburg University Department of Film and TV Artist Skills, worked on the film ‘The Silver Skates’ under the guidance of Associate Professor Aleksandr Zagoskin. In March, the University held an open meeting between Aleksandr  Zagoskin and University students, during which he discussed the secrets of the artistic realisation of the film ‘The Silver Skates’. Professor Uralov suggested organising a master class by Associate Professor Aleksandr Zagoskin for University students.

2.  Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees

On 26 April, a meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees was held under the leadership of Board Chairman Dmitry Medvedev. The issue of the St Petersburg University development territory and the science and technology valley was discussed (Video). The Rector of St Petersburg University, Nikolay Kropachev, and the Governor of St Petersburg, Alexander Beglov, made speeches.

At the Rector's meeting, the successful activity of the ‘Science’, ‘Education’ and other working groups was noted. 1091 proposals on the project of the territory for the development of St Petersburg University were submitted by University students; more than 70% of the proposals were taken into account during the work on the project. The project work will be completed by the end of 2021.

3.  Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank

It has already been reported that during the visit to St Petersburg University of Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, St Petersburg University and Sberbank signed an agreement on cooperation for the joint implementation of educational, scientific, and information projects (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 April 2021).

When asked by University students why the administration of St Petersburg University proposed to Sberbank to support projects of specific scientists and professors, Rector Nikolay Kropachev explained that the draft agreement had been under preparation for almost six months. Back in 2020, at Sberbank's request, full information was provided on the scientific, educational, and expert activities of St Petersburg University. After that, a working group of Sber employees selected projects that Sberbank was ready to support, including: a joint academic programme in pedagogy for the development of a personal approach to teaching school students; joint initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence and cognitive research; and assistance in the restoration of the St Petersburg University Botanical Garden.

4.  St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030 Approved

On 26 April, the Government of the Russian Federation (RF) issued decree No 1069-r on approval of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030. This year, the

Russian budget allocated 1.3 billion roubles for its implementation. These funds have been in the accounts of St Petersburg University since mid-December 2020, but they could not be spent before the University Strategic Plan was approved.

It is known that on 10 June 2020, the RF Government Office held a meeting with the heads of institutions subordinated to the RF Government at which the Higher School of

Economics, which by that time had already prepared its draft development programme, was cited as an example. In this connection, the minutes of the above meeting No OK-P8-10pr instructed the government agencies to elaborate strategic plans by 20 September 2020, with the account of the updated national development goals of the Russian Federation (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 June 2020).

On 31 August 2020, the St Petersburg University Academic Council heard a report on the implementation of the St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2020 and presented a draft of a new St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021–2030. (Proceedings of the Academic Council Session dated 31 August 2020). The project has been repeatedly discussed at various University platforms, and more than 100 constructive suggestions for its improvement have been received from University students and staff. After the draft was reviewed at a meeting of the St Petersburg University Academic Council, it was sent for approval to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of Health of Russia. After all the departmental approvals had been received, the Ministry of Education and Science submitted the draft St Petersburg University Strategic Plan to 2030 to the Russian Government for approval.

The University did a tremendous amount of work on the draft Strategic Plan, in which all of its employees were involved. Everyone had the opportunity to make suggestions. Now the University community has the opportunity to ensure that the indicators of the new St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021–2030 approved by the Russian government will be met in 2021.

So far, St Petersburg University is the only government-affiliated institution whose strategic plan has been approved by the Russian Government; neither Moscow State University, nor the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), nor the Higher School of Economics have their own plans  approved yet.

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

Over the past period, the Virtual Reception received 53 enquiries from students and faculty

(including 20 questions of an educational and methodological nature) to the Senior ViceRector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, and 31 enquiries were sent to the Vice-Rector by e-mail.

Enquiries were related to various subjects: the format of testing; expulsion procedure; the format of the state final assessment; the learning schedule from 1 to 10 May; the possibility of changing the theme of graduation project  and research work; the transfer and reinstatement procedures; the registration of academic leave; the test in the elective course ‘English Language’; the information in the diploma of professional retraining; re-crediting of courses; technical failure at written exams; online course in Health and Safety; the format of the state final assessment in ‘Philology’ and ‘Linguistics’; proctoring during tests; defence of graduation projects in ‘Journalism’; and six appeals against the results of the exam of the elective course ‘Master Class in Arbitration Procedure. Practical Training Session’.

Timely responses to all enquiries have been prepared by officials, heads of various services of the University, and heads of academic and research departments.

Detailed explanations were given on the most topical issues. It was noted that a group of master's students in journalism addressed the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods with a request to conduct the defence of the graduation project in the in-person (offline) format in compliance with the appropriate anti-epidemic norms. The petitioners also noted the need to organise the graduation project defence procedure for foreign students from China, Uzbekistan, and other countries with the help of videoconferencing means, since entry to Russia from these countries is still restricted.

The answer to the petitioners was given based on proposals by the Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Anatoly Puyu. Due to the need to comply with antiepidemic measures, the educational process for students in the field of ‘Journalism’ in the current spring semester of the academic year 2020/21 was organised with the use of information and communication technologies. Accordingly, the same format is used for the intermediate and final state attestation in ‘Journalism’. At the same time, all the students will have the opportunity to use computer equipment in well-equipped classrooms at St Petersburg University to participate in the state final assessment.

Appeals were received from seven master's degree students of jurisprudence regarding the results of the examinations conducted by the examination board for the elective course ‘Master Class in Arbitration Procedure. Practical Training Session’. The students thought that the faculty violated the methodology of evaluation and the procedure of intermediate certification. The explanations of the faculty, members of the committee, contain a detailed argumentation of assessment of students' work in accordance with the methodology. The faculty position deserves support. An inspection has not revealed any procedural violations. In the near future replies shall be sent to all student petitioners.

A complaint was received from an economics student requesting an investigation into possible violations during the re-examination in Corporate Economics. An inspection has been organised and a request for clarification has been sent to the Chairman of the Examination Committee.

A group of philology students requested to conduct classes and interim assessment with the help of information and communication technologies (ICT). The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Philology Vladimir Kazakov proposed to satisfy the students' request.

 The decision will be reflected in the group schedule and the applicants will receive an appropriate response.

Traditionally in the session period, there are questions from the students on the passing of attestation in courses taught in the online format. The most common of these are:

  • establishing the reasons for negative proctoring
  • problems with accessing the final test
  • problems with the equipment used (no camera connected, no video, etc.) - failures in the testing process (e.g. sudden interruption of the exam) etc.

These queries are often due to: technical problems caused by slow internet connections; students not meeting the minimum technical requirements of the Examus platform; or students not following the test procedure themselves.

Foreign students in China have particular difficulties in taking the final tests due to the Internet content filtering system in China.

The staff of the Centre of E-Learning Development at St Petersburg University provides technical support to the students via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., which is accessible round the clock. Also, the staff of the Centre of E-Learning Development help address problems with technical support of the Open Education platform and the Examus System on an individual basis. The centre technical support address may get up to 300 e-mails (given the large number of tests held in one day), which are promptly responded to.

At the Rector's meeting, the attention of students was once again drawn to the instructions on passing the certification for online courses. These are sent in advance and must be followed. They were reminded of the need to comply with the requirements of the platform and the proctoring system.

For example, information on setting up and equipping the workplace, including the minimum technical requirements for computer equipment and room requirements (light levels, absence of foreign objects, etc.), is sent to learners in advance, at least one day before the final test in the online course. Also, just before the start of the online course assessment, a student must read and agree to the rules of the final test using the Examus proctoring system on the start page, which is confirmed by clicking the appropriate button. The rules for taking a test at Examus are also posted on the Open Education platform and are available to the learner from the start of the course.

Thus, it is the learner's responsibility to study the rules of the final assessment of the online course using the Examus proctoring system, and they can also check in advance whether the equipment is in good order and make a test connection to minimise technical failures while taking the final test.

According to most of the heads of academic subdivisions research units, the training is proceeding normally, according to the schedule – with the help of information and communication technologies and in a mixed format. Emerging problems are solved in the due order.

The senior international relations students have once again requested to cancel the state examination. A detailed response that there are currently no grounds for the cancellation of the state examination has already been given and posted in the Virtual Reception of St Petersburg University. However, the students' concerns were thoroughly analysed and discussed on 26 and 28 April at meetings of the Dean of the School with the heads of the Departments, and at meetings with graduating students and the activists of the Student Council. In total, more than 150 students participated in these meetings.

Directors and deans reported on the meetings with student representatives. The following issues were discussed: the state exams; the measures to be taken to prepare the final year students for the state exams; the exhibition of the students' works; the organisation of catering; and the proposals for increasing the number of classes in the classroom. Some heads of academic units did not hold meetings with the student councils during the past week.

6.  St Petersburg University online school

Since 2018, St Petersburg University has been implementing a unique educational project ‘Online School’, in the framework of which foreign students study remotely in Russian school programmes on a free-of-charge basis. The idea of the project emerged due to the limited possibilities to receive education in Russian in the Baltic countries. In the first academic year, 70 pupils of 11–12 grades from Riga, Daugavpils, Rēzekne, and Jurmala (Latvia) attended the lessons. Classes were held in three subjects: Russian language, literature, and Russian history.

In the 2019/20 academic year, in addition to Latvia, classes were held in Estonia, Kazakhstan, and Spain. In that academic year, the number of participants in the St Petersburg University online school increased to 150.

In the academic year 2020/21, St Petersburg University is also conducting classes for schoolchildren in grades 6–12. The geography of the project has expanded to six countries (Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) and the number of trainees has increased to 1,400 (the number has increased 20-fold compared to 2018): More than 1,000 foreign students have started their studies as part of the St Petersburg University Online School project). The range of subjects has also been expanded to nine subjects, including social studies, biology, physics, geography, history, Russian, literature, mathematics, and chemistry.

Classes, as in previous years, run every Saturday from October to May. The last class of the year is scheduled for 29 May. Recordings of all the lessons are available to the public on a dedicated Youtube channel (Presentation).

This project is run by the staff of the Language Testing Centre and involves St Petersburg University faculty teaching at the Dmitry Faddeev Academic Gymnasium. The project is financed from the St Petersburg University funds earned by language testing.

7.  Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre

To accompany the project ‘World-class centre – Euler International Mathematical Institute’ (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 9 September 2019) A staff competition will be announced at St Petersburg University in the near future to recruit a specialist for the Research Support Service. The meeting drew attention to the main requirements for the candidate: friendliness, learning ability, proper goal setting, and focus on achieving results. A representative of the team of the Euler International Mathematical Institute will be included in the competition committee to consider candidates for this position, if willing.

8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs

Article 29 of the Federal Law ‘On Education in the Russian Federation’ stipulates that an educational organisation shall create open and publicly accessible information resources containing information about its activities. One of such resources is the website of St Petersburg University (spbu.ru). In addition to the Federal Law 'On Education in the

Russian Federation', the structure of mandatory information is outlined in Rosobrnadzor Order No 831 dated 14 August 2020 and in the methodological recommendations. Among others, they include a mandatory requirement for the website to have a version for the visually impaired.

The website of St Petersburg University has a version for the visually impaired, which can be accessed by clicking on the button with the same name at the bottom of the page. It provides for changing the font size, background colour, and letter spacing.

As part of the activities of the federal project ‘Personnel for the Digital Economy’ of the national programme ‘Digital Economy of the Russian Federation’, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation carried out work to analyse the accessibility of the modern digital learning environment (DLE) for people with special needs. As a result of this analysis, recommendations were developed and sent in 2020, one of which was the need to adapt the website of the M Gorky Scientific Library for people with special needs and to place information on the availability of accessible equipment for people with special needs on it.

In April the M Gorky Scientific Library website was converted to a corporate template with a version for the visually impaired and the necessary information for people with special needs was published. This information is also available in the sub-section ‘Accessible Environment’ at the St Petersburg University website.

Documents

  • St Petersburg University Charter
  • State Accreditation Certificate
  • Licence
  • Academic Regulations
  • Educational Standards
  • Law No 259 FZ ‘On Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University’
  • St Petersburg University Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2030
  • University Student and Staff Code of Conduct

FILES

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated11 May 2021 Presentation ‘St Petersburg University Online School’.pdf

423.01 КБ

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 23 August 2021

  1. Celebrating the winners of the International Mathematics Competition for University Students IMC-2021
  2. St Petersburg University scientists present the results of research on COVID-19 immune response dynamics
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Preparation to the new academic year
  5. Results of the student survey performed by the academic mobility programme participants
  6. The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University
  7. Admissions processes at St Petersburg University
  8. Accommodation arrangements in the University halls of residence
  9. COVID-19 vaccination arrangements
  10. Placement of information boards with the Russian Professorial Assembly prize winners at St Petersburg University
  11. Changes in human resources

1. Celebrating the winners of the International Mathematics Competition for University Students IMC-2021

Rector Nikolay Kropachev   congratulated the winners of the 28th International Mathematics Competition for University Students. The championship took place online hosting 113 teams from universities all over the world (Students of St Petersburg University win the main international student mathematics Olympiad – the International Mathematics Competition for University Students 2021).

The University team included Aleksandr Grebennikov, Stanislav Krymskii, Mikhail Ivanov, Nikita Dobronravov, Marat Abdrakhmanov, Nikita Karagodin, Dmitrii Iartsev, Egor Dobronravov, Kirill Tyshchuk, Mikhail Novikov.  Additionally, Konstantin Chelpanov and Artem Skvortsov took part in individual classification. Five of them were among the top ten participants in individual classification. The team leaders were Danila Cherkashin, Research Associate in the Chebyshev Laboratory, and Professor Fedor Petrov, who became the third most efficient leader among the IMC-2021 teams. Our team wins the Olympiad in mathematics once every three years showing good results in between. Over the past seven years it has been among the top five participants. Fedor Petrov promised that the tradition of successful performances will be continued. ‘It is high time we won every year,’ he emphasised.

The International Mathematics Competition for University Students has taken place annually since 1994. It is supported by University College London, the American University in Bulgaria, and high-tech companies such as Huawei, Wolfram Research, Maplesoft, Zulip, and Springer. This year, St Petersburg University became the only Russian university among the top ten participants.

2. St Petersburg University scientists present the results of research on COVID-19 immune response dynamics

In June 2021, a prestigious medical journal Journal of Medical Virology published an article by the University alumnus Andrei Ivanov, Head of the Department of Human Genetics at the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University. It is devoted to long-term monitoring of build-up and reduction of the IgA and IgG antibodies level during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was conducted together with the staff of the Molecular Biophysics Division at the B.V. Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.

As a result, the scientists managed to measure the parameters of immune response dynamics and the role of class A immunoglobulins in collective immunity development.   A brief overview of the article is published at the University website (St Petersburg scientists assess the dynamics of immune response to COVID19 in St Petersburg).

Today, despite significant progress in the field of scientific description of coronavirus biology, development of antivirus vaccines and creation of efficient test systems, a number of problems is still to be solved. One of them is the character, intensity and duration of the body immune response after contact with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Currently, the majority of immune research is related to studying severe forms of the disease, while the publications devoted to long-term observations of the immune status in post-COVID-19 patients and people with low SARS-CoV-2 viral load are rarely found.    There is no clear answer to the question if those who have to live next to COVID-19 patients or infected people form an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and how long the protective pool of antibodies stays after going through the disease. 

Andrei Ivanov started his research in May 2020 intending to solve these problems. The goal was to perform quantitative assessment of the immune response level duration for COVID-19. The scientist therefore performed: a nine-month long monitoring of the development and decline of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection; and qualitative assessment of the IgA and IgG immunoglobulin levels in the blood of healthy citizens of St Petersburg and post-COVID-19 patients. 180 volunteers leading active social life during the pandemic took part in the project. The RNA virus was determined by a standard PCR test in real time mode. Enzyme immunoassay was performed for quantitative assessment. The use of two methods simultaneously every two weeks enabled the researcher to determine the moment of the disease onset and the initial level of antibody response. Further periodic changes in IgA and IgG levels in the blood of the participants showed the dynamics of its development and reduction.

As it was mentioned, during the research 28% of patients (51 people) were infected with COVID-19. All people that went through the disease formed a stable humoral immune response. However, individual immune responses had different characteristics: in particular, a significant number of project participants diagnosed with COVID-19 demonstrated not entirely typical change in the IgA antibody level almost in 40% of cases.     These antibodies retained high levels for over six months and often exceeded in quantity the IgG antibodies.

Another important research result is the data on the presence of an increased level of IgA antibodies in a part of healthy people. The scientists concluded that it is the IgA decreased level that signifies the need in vaccination and protection of the body after going through coronavirus disease. It is especially important for people with autoimmune conditions and weak immunity. The analysis of antibody level can help in calculating the vaccination time line and revaccination after going through the disease. This is crucial when planning vaccination campaigns and evaluating the development of collective immunity.  Understanding the immune response development will help to determine vaccination intervals more accurately for different population groups.

Currently, the time of the research is prolonged and new data on the IgA dynamics for a longer time period are expected.

3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received 52 enquiries on various topics including 14 questions on educational and methodological issues: possibility of transfer; date of starting the classes in the autumn term of the 2021/22 academic year; COVID-19 vaccination requirements when settling at St Petersburg University halls of residence; providing unique information on the document of a standard form through the Public Services Portal ‘Gosuslugi’; distant learning possibilities at St Petersburg University; and auditing classes to name just a few.

Over the same time period, 30 enquiries including 29 questions on educational and methodological issues were registered in the enquiry register: entry of international students to the Russian Federation; status certificate requests; class format; preparing agreements with clinics; vaccination of international students; and student group formation to name just a few. Timely responses to all student enquiries have been prepared by officials, heads of various services of the University, and heads of academic and research departments.

The deans of faculties and directors of institutes have provided reports on holding meetings with the student community representatives. The representatives of the Student Council at the Institute of Earth Sciences at St Petersburg University discussed the transfer of some practical activities to August-September. The University student enquired if this will result in shifting the start date of the academic year and in person classes.  Acting Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences Takhir Aliev said that a detailed response can be given only upon the issue of relevant orders. As of today, the calendars of the relevant academic programmes and their timetable have been adjusted. Currently, the orders on practical activity referrals have been issued.

The Dean of the School of International Relations received an enquiry from a third-year bachelor’s student with a request to provide her with a referral letter for an internship. On 8 August 2021, St Petersburg University sent a formal request to the Eurasian Economic Commission regarding an internship position. On 14 August 2021, the Eurasian Economic Commission replied that due to the coronavirus limitation, there was no possibility to accept the student for an internship at the moment. The student was informed about the response of the Commission. The Dean also received an enquiry over e-mail from a first-year student dismissed for academic failure. The University student was given an opportunity to get a credit based on the results of the ‘History of Russia’ online course. However, the student failed to pass it during all the available attempts. As a result, the student was dismissed in June 2021. A detailed response is being prepared for the student.

The majority of heads of academic and research departments have reported no updates on the academic process due to holiday time. The majority of heads of academic and research departments have reported that over the past week no meetings were held with the Student Council representatives due to holiday time and the absence of issues to discuss.

4. Preparation to the new academic year

St Petersburg University continues working on the distribution of assignments to develop timetable for all academic programmes (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 16 August 2021). The number of requests from the directors and deans to employ teaching staff under part-time employment agreements or under civil contracts with further creation of teaching assignments has increased three-fold as compared to the previous week. However, it should be noted that it takes time to process such requests. As a result, the timetable lines have been filled for about 2% as of today. It seems like a small figure, but the number of teachers behind it is quite significant. In this regard, the HR department will process the received information as fast as possible. 

The process of distributing teaching load has accelerated in the subdivisions that were in the ‘red zone’ last week: the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology at St Petersburg University; the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. On average, the number of filled lines has increased by 12%. 

All the processes related to teaching assignments are being approved through the ‘Delo’ information system. 

5. Results of the student survey performed by the academic mobility programme participants

703 people took part in the academic mobility programmes implemented by St Petersburg University together with international partner universities in the 2020/21 academic year.    250 of them studied at St Petersburg University also with the use of information and communication technologies.

Based on the result of the survey performed among international students studying for an extra degree at St Petersburg University, the majority of students were satisfied with the academic programme and administrative support provided by the University staff coordinating the admission at the level of the University and the fields of study. International students gave an especially high praise to the level of teaching Russian as a foreign language at St Petersburg University. 

International students of the degree programmes at St Petersburg University in the 2020/21 academic year mentioned the following problems: inability to come to St Petersburg in person and associated communication problems (technical and psychological); time difference between St Petersburg and their locations; and inconveniences related to the time of classes. It should be noted that in comparison with the autumn term of the 2020/21 academic year, students studying at St Petersburg University in the spring term report no technical difficulties with connecting to classes and finding the right course. All the technical issues were resolved and no complaints were received.    

In general, despite the impossibility for the majority of students to enter the Russian Federation due to the restrictions (which certainly affected the students’ opinion), students’ feedback on studying at St Petersburg University is positive for the most part. 

453 students of St Petersburg University took part in the academic mobility programmes at international partner universities in the 2020/21 academic year. 92 of them studied remotely staying in the Russian Federation. The survey results demonstrate that the majority of students (82% of respondents) positively assess their experience of studying in degree programmes abroad. During the term, all students directed to international universities received continuous support in terms of information and other needs on the part of the University coordinators. Besides, additionally 11 students expressed gratitude to the University staff for excellent work and assistance in preparation to the study abroad term. Based on the term outcomes, the credits for the degree programmes both in the offline and online format in partner universities were transferred. Some students mentioned that they experienced difficulties adjusting to online format in partner universities. Three students were not satisfied with the studies. However, the absolute majority (61 people) find their experience of studying in degree programmes useful.

Students mention the system of selecting and registering for courses and receiving the visa among the major difficulties in dealing with host institutions.

One of the major problems experienced by the University students was the lack of clarity regarding the possibility of travelling to the country of the host institution in August of 2020. To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease, St Petersburg University issued Order No 1916/1 dated 13 March 2020 ‘On students’ health care and suspension of international travel’ that suspended the issue of local acts on directing students of St Petersburg University to foreign countries. This issue was pointed out by 16% of respondents.

In general, the scope of outgoing academic mobility in the 2020/21 academic year reduced almost two-fold in comparison with the 2019/2020 academic year, which is directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the partner universities cancelled or shifted the admission of students to future time periods, while the students are still expressing low interest in studying in degree programmes online. 

6. The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University

The project of creating a Chinese Cabinet at the University was initiated in 2019 in connection with the visit of comrade Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China and Honorary Doctor of St Petersburg University (Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from St Petersburg University). It was successfully implemented in cooperation with the headquarters of the Confucius Institute. The headquarters of the Confucius Institute has a separate category of grants aimed at funding similar projects. St Petersburg University is one of the key international partners of the headquarters. However, the grant applicants should provide a most detailed financial feasibility and technical documentation as well as a project design reflecting its relation to China. All the required documents were developed by the University staff and were highly praised by the Chinese partners.

The Chinese Cabinet at St Petersburg University should become a landmark of the kind and a bright example of friendly humanitarian and cultural cooperation between Russia and China illustrating the great input of the University into the development and strengthening of academic and cultural ties between Russia and China.   

Currently, the works on refurbishing the room have been successfully completed in the historic premises of the University at 11 Universitetskaya Embankment (the Palace of Emperor Peter II). The Chinese Cabinet will serve as a place to conduct studies, testing, joint work of research groups in the Chinese studies, studies of language, culture and history, negotiations with Chinese partners in the online and offline modes. The Cabinet will become a platform for scientific exchange and other events demonstrating significant achievements of the University in the sphere of Chinese studies. 

7. Admissions processes at St Petersburg University

St Petersburg University completed the admission to the bachelor’s and specialist’s programmes. The admission orders for full-time students funded from the state budget were issued on 17 August 2021. In general, 2,156 citizens have been admitted on government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission number determined by Order No 848 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 (hereinafter referred to as Order No 848) was performed for 100% of places.  

On 21 August 2021, the orders on the admission to St Petersburg University for the bachelor's and specialist’s programmes to fill the fee-paying places were issued. 1,800 applicants have been admitted (the lists of admitted students can be viewed on the St Petersburg University Admissions Committee website).

St Petersburg University performed the work aimed at increasing the availability of higher education by means of using a student loan with governmental support within the framework of admitting fee-paying students to bachelor’s, specialist’s and other programmes. The representatives of St Petersburg University and PJSC Sberbank provided this information during the online all-University Welcome Day (St Petersburg University applicants informed about the changes in the admission rules in 2021). The information on student loans was also published on the University website in the applicant’s personal account and mailed to the e-mails of all applicants. PJSC Sberbank provided for a personal manager and a ‘hot line’ for the applicants of St Petersburg University. Based on the information from PJSC Sberbank, in June and July 2021 the applicants of St Petersburg University concluded 338 student loan agreements. The information on the agreements concluded in August will be provided in the beginning of September. 

  • On 17 August 2021, the admission to full-time master’s programmes at St Petersburg University was completed.  1,990 citizens have been admitted on government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 848 was performed for 100% of places.  380 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements.  The lists of admitted students can be viewed here. The admission to the part-time master's programmes to the fee-paying places will be open till 23 September 2021. 
  • The admission to the aspirantura programmes aimed at training research and teaching staff was completed on 21 August 2021.  432 citizens were admitted to government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 849 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 (hereinafter referred to as Order No 849) was performed for 100% of places.  The admission orders are published on the website of the St Petersburg University Admission Committee. 53 applicants will be admitted under the fee-paying agreements.
  • The admission to the clinical residency programmes was completed on 20 August 2021.  94 citizens were admitted to government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 849 was performed for 100% of places.
  • 292 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements. The admission orders have been published.
  • The admission to the secondary vocational training programmes was completed on 21 August 2021. 95 citizens were admitted to the government-funded places. Thus, the admission within the planned admission quotas determined by Order No 371 of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation dated 31 July 2020 was performed for 100% of places.
  •  246 applicants have been admitted under the fee-paying agreements. The admission orders can be viewed on the website of the  St Petersburg University Admission Committee.

The dynamics of admission is estimated as stable and comparable to 2020 indicators. No abrupt changes in the quantitative or qualitative criteria have been noticed. For example, the average score of the Unified State Examination of those enrolled in the government-funded places within the general competition was 93.09, while in 2020 this parameter was 93.61.

Following the process of admission for foreign citizens, currently together with the Russian Ministry of Education, the University is processing the required admission documents for the foreign citizens that have been selected on a competitive bases and recommended for admission. The documents include a ‘referral for studying’ document, visa instructions and admission orders for foreign citizens, confirmed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for places funded from the federal budget.

On 28 August 2021, the Government Executive Office held another extended session with the participation of the federal authority representatives supervising educational organisations of higher education, and rectors of the universities supervised by the Russian Federation Government. The session was devoted to the industrial operation of the federal information system – superservice ‘Enter the University online’. 

The session participants discussed the issues of: timely processing by individual educational institutions of the applications submitted via the superservice; the reasons of refusing the applications; and the ways of improving the superservice.

8. Accommodation arrangements in the University halls of residence

St Petersburg University continues the activity on preparing for the new academic year.  As of today, the University halls of residence have 4,498 places available by 25 August 2021. Each of them is prepared and equipped in accordance with the equipment standard approved by the University. By 31 August 2021, 128 more places will be freed by the aspirantura graduates, non-degree programme students, student family members and others.  After the repair works performed by the University staff, 227 places including 189 placed in the Peterhof complex and 38 in the Vasilyevsky Island have been put into operation.

The distribution of rooms has been done in advance for the convenience of students. Tenancy agreements and other documents have been generated. It will significantly reduce the time required for the settlement procedure and help to avoid standing in lines. To increase the throughput capacity in the central access control point, four additional work stations for the staff of the Access control and security division have been mounted. Volunteers have been attracted to the settlement campaign.

The Virtual Reception received many enquiries on the resettlement in the halls of residence and between the residential buildings. It was decided that the resettlement between the residential buildings will start after the completion of the settlement campaign that will last till 15 September. The resettlement between Peterhof and the city halls of residence will be possible starting 1 October. The relevant changes will be made in the order restricting the resettlement. All activities will be implemented taking into account the current epidemiological situation.

9. COVID-19 vaccination arrangements

In view of the new academic year start, the University received enquiries from international students and their parents on the process of vaccination.

Earlier, a mobile vaccination point was arranged in 20 Korablestroitelei Street, so the students can get vaccinated near their accommodation. 120 students out of 503 students staying at the halls of residence at that time made a vaccination appointment. 113 out of 120 students were vaccinated with the two components of ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine. No more students expressed a desire to get vaccinated ignoring the second invitation. The polyclinic at St Nikolas Hospital provided for vaccination for the students of St Petersburg University staying at the Peterhof halls of residence. At the Rector’s meeting, it was decided to ask the Hospital administration to organise a mobile vaccination point for the students studying in Peterhof. Out-of-town students of St Petersburg University are recommended to get vaccinated in their region in advance. 

The city of St Petersburg is collecting the information on the potential number of international students wishing to get vaccinated in the Russian Federation. St Petersburg University regularly submits such information upon request and is ready to follow the recommendations of the city.

10. Placement of information boards with the Russian Professorial Assembly prize winners at St Petersburg University

To preserve and further develop the research potential of the Russian science and higher education, stimulate scientific and technical development and motivate outstanding research and teaching staff, the all-Russia public organisation ‘Russian Professorial Assembly’ has established national prises: ‘Professor of the Year’, ‘Dean of the Year’, ‘Rector of the Year’.

In 2020, six staff members of St Petersburg University received the awards (The winners of the Russian Professorial Assembly prize announcedThe best professors and deans of the year prizes awarded at St Petersburg University). Dean of the Faculty of Psychology Alla Shaboltas and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes Leon Petrosyan won in the ‘Dean of the Year’ nomination.   

The title of the professor of the year was given to Nikolay Kuznetsov, Head of the Department of Applied Cybernetics at the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty; Vladimir Popondopulo, Head of the Department of Commercial Law at the Faculty of Law; and Leonid Smorgunov, Head of the Department of Political Governance at the Faculty of Political Science.   

Moreover, Irina Novikova, Dean of the School of International Relations won both the ‘Dean of the Year’ and ‘Professor of the Year’ prizes. 

Rector Nikolay Kropachev took the decision to celebrate the achievements of outstanding scientists and teachers by a relevant bonus and by placing the information on the national award winners in the University premises. In this regard, several versions of stands and boards were developed and approved by the subdivision heads and administrative services.  

Six stands and seven boards with the last names of the prise winners were produced and placed in the University buildings hosting the relevant subdivisions:

  • 6 Makarov Embankment
  • 1 Smolny Prospect (entrance 7 and 8)
  • 7a 22nd Line, Vasilyevsky Island
  • 35 Universitetsky Prospect, Peterhof
  • 28 Universitetsky Prospect, Peterhof

11. Changes in human resources

The position of Vice Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods has been established at the University. Former Head of the General Office of Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods Elvira Zeletdinova was appointed Acting Vice Rector.  

Elvira Zeletdinova graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, completed aspirantura and doctorate programmes at Lomonosov Moscow State University. She is Candidate of Science (Philosophy) (1992), Doctor of Political Science (2003), Professor (2005), and Honorary Worker in the field of education of the Russian Federation (2019). Since November 2019, she has headed the General Office of Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods at St Petersburg University.

Elvira Zeletdinova has passed through all the stages of university work. At the Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution ‘Astrakhan State Technical University’ she took the positions of Associate Professor, Head of the Department, Director of the Educational Policy Department (licensing, accreditation, quality management system, education quality control), Director of the Institute of the Humanities, Vice Rector for International Relations, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs. She has authored scientific and methodological works on the quality of education and methodological problems of forming competencies and participated in and directed five state university accreditations.

Since 2010, she has served as a federal expert in professional education quality. She is a member of the National Guild of Experts in Higher Education. In 2021, Ms Zeletdinva has confirmed the title of an international expert.

Elvira Zeletdinova is a specialist in the field of political sociology and elitology. She heads the regional research school in political sociology. Professor Zeletdinova has supervised 10 candidates of sciences; and authored over 200 publications, five monographs, and over 70 articles in reviewed journals including those in Scopus and Web of Science databases (three articles within the last three years). She has directed 13 research grants of the Russian Humanitarian Foundation, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and the United Nations Development Programmes.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs will report directly to the Rector.

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 2 August 2021

  1. Admissions processes
  2. Amending the Rules and regulations for defending dissertations to gain a degree of candidate of sciences and doctor of sciences approved by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia
  3. Measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID19) at St Petersburg University
  4. Inspection by the Prosecutor's Office upon revealing educational documents and other materials from Bard College in St Petersburg University
  5. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  6. Admission of the Alumni Association's members to St Petersburg University
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 19 July 2021

  1. Negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the Russian Federation
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. New regulations for accepting the results of completing online courses
  4. Organising of and informing about the admissions processes
  5. Science Metrix indexes of St Petersburg University
  6. The number of the St Petersburg University's projects supported by the Russian Science Foundation in comparison with other Russia's universities
  7. Recording responsibilities of academic staff
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University's objects for people with special health needs
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 July 2021

  1. Results of collaboration between St Petersburg University, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and academic institutes
  2. Work of the University's experts within the framework of the 'Initiatives of social and economic development of Russia'
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Rules and regulations for a research supervisor of the academic programme are approved
  5. Electronic portfolio of the St Petersburg University Academic Gymnasium students
  6. Participation of St Petersburg University students in international competitions
  7. Violating the University's Code of Conduct by the University staff and students
  8. Measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 infection
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 5 Jule 2021

  1. Changes introduced into the Federal Law ‘On Lomonosov Moscow State University and St Petersburg University’
  2. Decisions on Human Resources
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. On accommodating students in the halls of residence
  5. St Petersburg University visited by the winners and laureates of the all-Russia Olympiads among school students seeking to be enrolled into the bachelor’s programmes in mathematics and computer science
  6. The number of the University projects supported by the Russian Science Foundation
  7. Digital profiles of research and teaching staff
  8. Preliminary results of the assessment
  9. The results of work dedicated to the perpetuation of the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya
  10. Organising medical check-ups for students
  11. The response of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to the enquiry from St Petersburg University
  12. Observing the face mask mandate by the students
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 15 June 2021

  1. Valerii Zapasskii, a scientist of St Petersburg University – laureate of the Russian Federation National Award
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. Using the results of The Three University Missions ranking
  4. Taking into account the data of the World University Ranking (U.S. News Best Global Universities)
  5. A series of webinars for teachers of the Leningrad region
  6. Medals of the Russian Academy of Sciences – for young scientists of St Petersburg University
  7. Compensation of expenses for the publication of scientific articles
  8. Violations committed by students of St Petersburg University
  9. Tuition fees at St Petersburg University
  10. Termination of the contract between St Petersburg University and the Alumni Association
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 8 June 2021

  1. St Petersburg University scientists received Golitsyn Prize of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  2. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  3. Events on the margins of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum
  4. St Petersburg University is the best university in Russia in terms of financial management quality
  5. Strategic session devoted to the creation of world-class campuses
  6. The issues related to the University’s Strategic Plan have been clarified
  7. The cooperation between St Petersburg University and Lomonosov Moscow State University in the field of distance learning
  8. Who will receive the scholarships of the Russian Federation Government?
  9. The achievements of St Petersburg University students in the field of sport
  10. The St Petersburg University Collegium of Honorary Professors discussed the activity of the Alumni Association
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 31 May 2021

  1. Professor Petr Iablonskii is awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of St Petersburg
  2. The award named after Professor Vataniar Yagya is established
  3. St Petersburg University staff receiving the Prizes of the Government of St Petersburg
  4. St Petersburg University scientists in ‘The New Knowledge’ marathon
  5. ‘The Architecture of the Siege’ – the best documentary
  6. The use of digital portfolio in the system of general education
  7. The events within the framework of the Korea–Russia Dialogue
  8. St Petersburg University Agreement with Iranian partners
  9. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  10. The enquiry from a student of St Petersburg University
  11. The hybrid format of the graduation ceremonies
  12. The ‘Priority-2030’ programme
  13. Applications of the competition participants seeking academic and teaching staff positions
  14. The disappearance of a student
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 17 May 2021

  1. A session of Petersburger Dialogue Coordinating Committees
  2. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan indicators
  3. Monument to COVID-19 victims
  4. The Office of RF Prosecutor General and Bard College (USA)
  5. Restructuring the St Petersburg University Research Support Service
  6. Organisation of theses defences
  7. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 11 May 2021

  1. Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, is the winner of the Nika Film Award
  2. Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
  3. Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
  4. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan until 2030 Approved
  5. Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
  6. St Petersburg University online school
  7. Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs
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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 April 2021

  1. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Round-table discussion ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’
  3. The procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation for study purposes has been established
  4. Competition for the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department
  5. Merging of the University’s Palaeontology Museum and Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum
  6. Separate waste collection at the University
  7. ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database
  8. Damage done by students to the University property
  9. Dissemination of information on the activities of the University scientists in the media
  Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 5 April 2021

  1. Kirill Chistiakov has been awarded the title of ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’
  2. The Government of St Petersburg Official Award named after Gennady Leonov
  3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  4. Participation of students in the project on Monitoring Law Enforcement
  5. Organising access to the resources of the Research Park
  6. ‘St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies’ (SUJES) has been included into Scopus database
  7. The Prize of Elsevier company
  8. The results of the joint competition of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF)
  9. Interaction of the University with Iranian partners
  10. The installation of a memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin
  11. The status of the reorganisation of St Petersburg University
  Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 29 March 2021

  1. Operation of the St Petersburg University Centre for Financial Literacy in 2020
  2. Professor Detlef Bahnemann is elected to the European Academy of Sciences
  3. How laboratory data sheets work
  4. Dmitri Mendeleev and St Petersburg University
  5. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  6. Questions about the reorganisation of St Petersburg University
  7. Arbitration Court sustains St Petersburg University’s claim against the Territorial Fund for Compulsory Medical Insurance
  Read more ...

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 March 2021

  1. Current issues of organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Format of the teaching and learning process from1 April 2021
  3. List of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes
  4. Organising work with the online courses
  5. Applying for scholarships
  6. Strategy for the digital transformation of the University: drafting the event programme
  7. New duties of the University Academic Board
  8. Classroom-based studies delivered by academic staff who are 65 or older
  9. Enquiries submitted to be discussed by the working group formed in relation to the reorganisation of the University
  10. Vaccination of international citizens
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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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