- Kirill Chistiakov has been awarded the title of ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’
- The Government of St Petersburg Official Award named after Gennady Leonov
- Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
- Participation of students in the project on Monitoring Law Enforcement
- Organising access to the resources of the Research Park
- ‘St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies’ (SUJES) has been included into Scopus database
- The Prize of Elsevier company
- The results of the joint competition of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF)
- Interaction of the University with Iranian partners
- The installation of a memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin
- The status of the reorganisation of St Petersburg University
The participants of the meeting paid a minute’s tribute of silence to the memory of two students of St Petersburg University: Arsenii Shestakov (second-year student of ‘Applied Mathematics, Fundamental Informatics and Programming’) and Nikita Prutskikh (second-year student of ‘Mathematics’).
1. Kirill Chistiakov has been awarded the title of ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’
Kirill Chistiakov is Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences and Vice President of the Russian Geographical Society. He has been granted the honorary title of ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’ for a significant contribution into the preservation of historical, cultural and natural heritage of Russia, active participation in the activity of the Russian Geographical Society by Presidential Order No 182 dated 29 March 2021. Professor Chistiakov’s colleagues congratulated him on the just reward.
The honorary title ‘Honoured Geographer of the Russian Federation’ was established on 6 December 2019.
2. The Government of St Petersburg Official Award named after Gennady Leonov
In January, at the meeting with St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov, St Petersburg University Professor Nikolay Kuznetsov, one of the six researchers working in Russia that are on the list of the most cited scientists in the world (Among the six Russian scientists included in the top most cited scientists in the world, there are three researchers from St Petersburg University), proposed to establish a city prize in the field of cybernetics and artificial intelligence named after Gennady Leonov, a prominent mathematician, Professor of St Petersburg University, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St Petersburg Governor supports the proposal of St Petersburg University scientists to establish a prize named after Gennady Leonov).
Recently, St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov has sent an official response informing that he ordered to draft a St Petersburg Government Regulation on establishing a prize named after Gennady Leonov. The meeting participants have expressed gratitude to Alexander Beglov, St Petersburg Governor and Member of the University Board of Trustees.
3. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
Last week, the Virtual Reception received 36 enquiries from students and teachers including 15 enquiries on academic issues addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. 11 messages were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The topics of enquiries are different including those on: the increased academic stipend; the results of the Olympiad for school students; the procedure of transfer and readmission; the possibility of cancelling the state examination (as a part of the final state assessment — 2021) for a group of master’s programme students; enquiries of status certificates; enquiries on the appeal, academic leave, and research supervision. The answers and comments to all the questions are prepared and sent in a timely manner.
The most urgent issues are addressed in detail. For example, there was an enquiry from a student of Philology regarding the issue of taking a test on ‘The History of Russia’ academic course on the Openedu platform with the use of invigilating. In the opinion of the student, the system of invigilating based on analysing the movements of the examined person made a wrong conclusion (using a cell phone, looking aside) and as a result the student failed the test. The student was reminded that after the grade was shown in the electronic record’s book, she was forwarded a message stating that the schedule of resitting would be published at the University portal in the Electronic Timetable section. Moreover, the requester was informed that every student can submit a request to the academic office asking to provide them with an equipped working place in the University computer rooms if the currently available device of the student is not suitable for taking the test with the invigilating system. In accordance with paragraph 2.3.7 of the Academic Regulations at the University, the schedule of resitting the test is communicated to the students and teachers before the start of the test resitting, but no later than three calendar days before the date of holding the first test resitting. The date of resitting ‘The History of Russia (online course)’ discipline will be published in due time at the official portal of the University in the Electronic Timetable section.
The current teaching and learning process (according to information from most heads of the academic subdivisions) is taking place as usual in accordance with the timetable, both in the online and mixed formats. Problems that arise are duly resolved.
The Reception of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods Marina Lavrikova received an enquiry from the second-year students of the master’s programme ‘International Relations’ (in English) with a request to cancel the state interdisciplinary examination for that master’s programme provided by the final state assessment programme. It is important to note that the requirements of the Federal State Education Standards in the relevant academic field include an obligatory state examination. This issue was discussed at the meeting of the dean with the programme directors. The dean of the school is preparing a reply on the absence of grounds for the cancellation of the examination. Moreover, the dean’s meeting with the students to discuss the issue has been scheduled.
A fourth-year student of the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ programme has inquired about the form of taking the state examination and if there are plans to cancel it. A letter from the first- and secondyear students with a request to transfer certain disciplines into the in-person format has been received. These enquiries are being addressed. According to the opinion of the academic subdivisions, there are no reasons for the cancellation of the state examinations. The state examination is provided by the curriculum. The state assessment programme has been approved in due manner. The format of the state final assessment is currently being elaborated based on the proposals of the academic subdivision directors taking into account the current 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 dated 29 July 2020. All the information will be published on the University website.
The Dean of the School of International Relations received by e-mail an enquiry from an international first-year student of the programme ‘International Cooperation in Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development’. She wanted to learn about the procedure of going on an academic leave. The enquiry has been transferred to the preparation of a detail answer.
A student of economics has inquired about the educational format. The management of the faculty is preparing a reply to the enquiry together with the employees of the Academic Affairs Department (the analysis of the organisation of the teaching and learning process is performed taking into account the number of international and out-of-city students, the age of teachers, etc.).
The directors and the deans presented their reports on meetings with representatives of the student community. Some heads of academic subdivisions either did not hold meetings with student councils over the past week (due to the lack of questions for discussion) or postponed them to a later date.
At the meetings, the representatives of the Student Council of the Institute of History, and the Faculties of Philology and Sociology discussed the issues of organising the teaching and learning process and the format of classes in April and May.
An international first-year student of the bachelor’s programme ‘Physical Training’ from Uzbekistan has inquired about the opening of borders between the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan starting 4 April 2021 and forming a list of international students to be forwarded to the Border Police. A decree of the Russian Government determining the terms of entry to the Russian Federation for international students was issued on 16 March 2021. Thus, the reply to the student’s enquiry will be forwarded to the student after studying the details of the situation. Based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, an algorithm of organising the entry of international students to Russia is being elaborated. All the interested parties will be informed about the instruction in the near future.
4. Participation of students in the project on Monitoring Law Enforcement
The work on monitoring law enforcement at St Petersburg University is a multi-year expert project started in the mid-1990s upon the initiative of the management of the Faculty of Law at the University. For ten years, not only all law teachers (and in the recent years also the representatives of other scientific fields providing for the interdisciplinary nature of the monitoring), but also all law students have been involved in this project (Scholars from St Petersburg University report on the results of the annual monitoring of law enforcement, St Petersburg University presents the results of work on law enforcement monitoring, The University experts directly affect the development of domestic law). The meeting participants analysed the performance of students involved in the project on Monitoring Law Enforcement.
The basis for holding a large-scale monitoring of law enforcement is the accessibility of the law enforcement practice and, first of all, of the legal decisions. That is why at the initial stage of the project, the management of the Faculty of Law initiated computerisation of the courts of St Petersburg. This not only significantly simplified the work of judges, who had to type the text of legal acts on a typewriter, but also enabled the judges to start publishing the legal acts on the Internet several years later (Computerisation of St Petersburg courts). Simultaneously, court decisions of the city and regional courts started to be published in the ‘Legal Practice’ journal (information bulletin of the legal centre at the special Faculty of Law at St Petersburg University) established together with the University by a number of state authorities. A group of like-minded people started to form around the editorial board of the journal consisting of Chief Editor Igor Kozlikhin, then Rauf Aslanov and Vadim Prokhorov, their deputies and the editorial board members. The journal has provided both legal scientists and legal practitioners with a possibility to study the tests of the most important legal acts that formed the ways of solving complicated issues in interpreting the law. Apart from the judicial practice materials, the journal also featured articles with general results and case studies prepared by the University teachers and practising lawyers. The journal has become a reference for judges, lawyers and students, who got an opportunity to see what law was not only in the books, but also in real life. Law enforcement monitoring today is an integral part of graduation projects, term projects, and also scientific reports in student research communities.
At the second stage of the law enforcement project, systematic work on collecting, generalising and analysing the administrative and, in the first place, court decisions was organised. It started in December 2010, a few months before the issue of the Presidential Order prescribing law enforcement monitoring as an obligatory function of the federal executive authorities. The representatives of almost all departments of the Faculty of Law started to take part in monitoring on a regular basis.
The third stage of the project is about involving the entire staff of the Faculty of Law at the University into the project. Gradually, the work on monitoring law enforcement at the Faculty of Law has turned into a large-scale project. Together with Vice-Rector for Human Resources Vladimir Eremeev, we managed to involve all teachers of the Faculty of Law into the work.
Currently, participation in collecting and analysing judicial practice is an obligatory type of expert activity specified in labour contracts of over 140 law teachers.
The students of law are also involved in monitoring. With the support of the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, monitoring has been included into the all subject syllabi. Today, every student of over 1,800 students of law conducts monitoring (about 15-20 legal acts) in all disciplines provided by the curriculum. Within the scope of one academic programme, it enables the teacher to organise the collection of several hundred and even thousand court decisions that have undergone primary generalisation, and use them further to prepare analytical materials comprising the precedents on a specific case. Now every bachelor’s student is obliged to find court decisions on specific problems, summarise and analyse over 400 legal acts. This certainly helps to develop the skills indispensable for every lawyer — the ability to understand the court principles and the developing law enforcement practice.
As a result, during the 10 years of the project implementation, over one million court decisions have been selected, studied and analysed. Over 160 expert reports are published at the project website. They have formed the basis for several dozen articles published in law journals. Monitoring materials have been used in preparing over 100 expert conclusions and state contracts made by St Petersburg University under the order of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Monitoring materials are also regularly used in the official reports on the law enforcement monitoring results in the country provided to the President of the Russian Federation. The results of the conducted research are provided at annual conferences on law enforcement monitoring held by the University since 2011. In doing this, before 2017 they were combined with the annual institutional conference of the Ministry of Justice of Russia.
At the fourth stage of the project, as a result of active interaction between the staff of the Faculty of Law with the specialists from the Faculties of Political Science, Philology, and Mathematics, the work has gradually become interdisciplinary. Currently, sociologists, economists and psychologists regularly take part in it. Traditional purely legal analysis turns into a versatile assessment of the judicial practice from the viewpoint of its social consequences. In the studies of judicial practice, they start using the techniques developed within various specialisations: from the big data programme analysis to psychological prerequisites for a certain behaviour of the law enforcement participants.
Early planning and selection of topics for the studies of monitoring and the immediate involvement of teachers into this work help to combine the law enforcement monitoring with the usual teaching of a law discipline. After selecting the research topic, the teacher makes sure that students’ independent work on law enforcement monitoring is included into the syllabus of the course. A wide range of issues covered in the process of law enforcement monitoring makes it possible to choose a relevant field of study for almost each academic discipline.
Here are several examples of already conducted research: an analysis of the practical application of Article 238 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation — criminal law; disputing the provisions of administrative regulations — administrative law; using the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation by the courts — Constitutional Law, etc. Thus, students take part in law enforcement monitoring within a specific academic discipline. However, since this work is performed by the student independently, it does not reduce the number of class hours with the teacher.
This method of organising student’s participation requires a high-quality methodological support. In case of including a research topic into the syllabus, the teacher develops a methodology for the students to conduct law enforcement monitoring. This methodology should describe the topic of the planned research and the main issues that have to be covered in the course of work. Then, the characteristics of the judicial practice to be selected for the analysis are described. In this part of the teaching methodology, the teacher should describe in detail: the source of the court practice; legal act types; the courts, the practice of which they plan to study; the years of adopting the acts; and other parameters that may change depending on the goals of the research. This part of the methodology can look in the following way: ‘With the help of legal reference system ‘ConsultantPlus’, select the decisions of general jurisdiction courts taken from 2017 to 2020 in the Central Federal District’. The methodology should describe the process of students’ selforganisation: individual or collective performance of works; deadlines; the number of legal acts to be found; forms of reports; and reporting requirements. Usually, one topic is offered for a group or several groups of students. In accordance with the methodology, every student should select the required number of administrative enactments (usually, 20 to30), analyse them, and make a report within the specified time frame.
The reporting materials traditionally contain a general table and an analytical note. When filling the table, students should provide: the references of the selected acts; brief summary of the argument; systematised arguments of the participants and the judges; and generalisation of the legal investigation results. In other words, this is just a brief summary of every selected act. However, making such a summary requires: detail examination of the content of the act; knowledge of the administrative enactment references; and the ability to find the essence from a large amount of information. In order to write an analytical note, a student should sum up the data obtained from the analysis of the selected decisions. The student has to find and point out general tendencies of the practice and problems of the argument participants. They should also offer the ways of solving similar problems of law enforcement.
The complexity of tasks for the students depends on the stage of their academic studies. First-year students often perform the search of court decisions and their initial processing. Senior students take additional tasks of a deeper analysis of the problems stated in the court decisions. Master’s and doctoral students also take part in monitoring research. They can perform an independent research or take part in processing the results obtained by bachelor’s students. Such an approach to organising academic and research activity of law students is used only at St Petersburg University.
After submitting the reporting materials to the teacher, student’s participation in monitoring research is terminated. Then, the teacher studies the obtained results, validates the relevance of the collected administrative enactments, performs expert processing of the information and prepares an expert conclusion or an analytical report on the problem of the law enforcement monitoring. The teacher should evaluate every student’s work. The assessment methodology is contained in the course syllabus and the students can take it into account when performing the work. The grade given for participation in law enforcement monitoring is taken into consideration during the current final assessment (tests and examinations). Usually, a test or an examination implies performing a number of tasks with grading from 0 to 100. A part of these grades can be ‘reserved’ for the law enforcement work. The final grade of the student is formed based on the sum of grades for monitoring and examination. For example, during the examination the student can get a maximum of 70 and 30 points for the monitoring activity, which makes the above-mentioned 100 points. This stimulates the students to take an active part in the research and take responsibility for the task they perform. Non-participation of the student in the monitoring activity does not automatically lead to an academic failure in the discipline, but significantly decreases the maximal number of points they can get.
During the bachelor’s programme studies, every student should take part in about 12 to 15 monitoring studies, which implies a detail analysis of at least 350 administrative enactments selected from the entire mass of judicial practice. Another stimulus for the student is that the teacher may notice the students who perform high quality work. In this case, the student is given a special certificate confirming his or her active participation in the law enforcement monitoring. This certificate can be listed in the portfolio when applying for a master’s programme at the University.
The participation of students in monitoring activity on law enforcement should form the following professional competences: readiness to take part in the development of legal acts in accordance with the professional profile; readiness to perform professional activity based on the developed legal awareness, legal thinking, and legal culture; readiness to provide for the enforcement of legal acts by the subjects of law; ability to take decisions and perform legal activity in strict correspondence to the law; ability to apply normative legal acts, implement the norms of substantive and adjective law in professional activity; ability to give the right characteristic to the facts and circumstances; ability to develop legal documents; readiness to respect the honour and dignity of a person, follow and protect the laws and freedoms of a person and a citizen; readiness to find, terminate, solve and investigate crimes and other offences; readiness to prevent offences, find and remove the reasons and conditions conducive to their performance; ability to interpret various legal acts; and ability to give high quality legal conclusions and consultations in specific spheres of legal activity.
5. Organising access to the resources of the Research Park
The Research Park of the University has become the first in Russia to function based on the principle of open access to the university students and employees on condition of following the rules (Research Park: on the road to the future) The proposals of the research and teaching staff and management of the Research Park on improving the rules and terms of access to the Research Park equipment taking into consideration the experience of the recent years.
The University Research Park functions on the basis of open access for the university students, teachers and employees, as well as the persons who do not work at the University on condition of observing the general rules for each category of users:
- employees of state institutions
- employees of private companies
- employees of international organisations
- physical persons
The University students and employees can use the service of the Resource Centres of the Research Park in the following cases:
- based on the subject syllabus (it is subject to both technical and content expertise)
- based on the order for the St Petersburg University project with special terms / work task (an order of a Vice-Rector or the Rector with obligatory publication)
- based on the grant agreement
- based on the agreement with a commercial organisation
- pilot project: research / educational / methodological (undergoes expertise of a research committee; controlled result)
- as a winner of one of the contests, for example, SPbU Start-up contest (based on the votes of the jury composed of external experts with further issue of an order)
Conducting works for external users for the resource centre equipment is possible only upon concluding an agreement. Types of agreements are:
- an agreement without reimbursement on the distribution of intellectual property
- an agreement for the reimbursement of costs for state institutions (taking into account the distribution of intellectual property)
- ‘income generating agreement’ (usually concluded with a commercial customer)
In order to conduct work in a resource centre, a university student or employee should use the application system developed by the Research Park for simplification and centralisation of work within a single interface including such possibilities as:
- project registration and applying for research
- monitoring the project execution at all stages
- distant access to the research results
- a possibility to leave feedback about the work completed on the project
- introduction of reporting materials (publication)
An application for conducting a project in the Resource Centre is rejected in the following cases:
- the application contains incorrect or insufficient information for the project implementation or the order of filling in and submitting the application has been violated
- it is technically impossible to implement the work on the available and operating equipment of the University or the required consumable materials are missing
- conducting the works violates the legal requirements or by-laws of the University
- the application for the project does not correspond to the topic stated on the Pure portal
- the application for the project with the purpose of implementing academic programmes of the University:
- does not contain a subject syllabus or the subject syllabus has no references to the equipment and research centre premises; the syllabus does not contain a list of expendables required for its implementation, or the syllabus is not approved by the Resource Centre Director and the Research Park Director
- has no data on the academic and teaching staff who are in charge of teaching the academic discipline, or the academic and teaching staff has no access to the Research Centre equipment to conduct the classes
- the project director has not provided or partially provided reporting materials on the completed projects
- the following time limits for the work of the resource centre staff on the listed projects: 30% for R&D, educational projects and administrative contracts, 10% for the implementation of pilot projects
- the user has no publications in the journals indexed in Web Science and Scopus analytical databases over the last three years
The ‘News’ section has been created for the application system at the Centre for Sociological and Internet Research. After completing the project, the user has to attach brief information on the research results and it will be automatically sent to the department of statistics and records. The user receives a notification that reminds of the need to prepare and attach the news. If the user has not filled in this section in the previous project, it becomes the basis for rejecting new applications (see paragraph 6).
Some users (about 40 to 50%) take their responsibilities for the Research Park seriously and attach their publications in the system stating the affiliation immediately after the release. The rest of the users do not attach their publications even after the reminder. However, if the users fail to attach their publications even after the reminder, the mechanism currently used to make the careless users fulfil their obligations upon completion of their projects is not to approve further research on new projects.
Here are the examples of this mechanism:
- Evgeny Abakumov, Nadezhda Bokach, M Morozov, Evgenii Chupakhin, Olga Kurapova. The projects on ‘Chemical Analysis and Materials Research Centre’ submitted by the colleagues to the Resource Centre have not been approved due to the fact that the reporting materials on the previous projects have not been attached. The reporting materials still have not been provided by Nadezhda Bokach, Olga Kurapova, and M Morozov. Evgeny Abakumov has attached an article that contains experimental data most likely obtained in the Research Park; however, the article has no reference whatsoever to the Research Park. Evgenii Chupakhin has attached an article not affiliated with St Petersburg University that contains no data received in the course of the Research Centre project on ‘Chemical Analysis and Materials Research Centre’ based on the application of Evgenii Chupakhin. The projects have not been submitted for approval again. Over four months have passed on some of them
- Evgenii Mikhailov. The submitted project has been rejected seven times, since the reporting materials were not provided by the user on seven previously conducted projects. Instead of attaching the requested documents and reporting materials, the user or someone from the research group just resubmitted the project for approval. At some point, the user attached publications with a reference to the Research Centre that were related neither to the research group, nor to the topic of the previous projects (probably, hoping that nobody would read them). As a result, Professor Mikhailov had to attach the publications to the application submission system during the eighth attempt of the project approval. Evgenii Mikhailov is the research supervisor of the student who would not have been able to complete her work without conducting research at the Resource Centre
- Konstantin Semenov. Professor Semyonov has not provided a single publication on the three projects. Moreover, according to the analysis, the Resource Centre for Diagnostics of Functional Materials for Medicine, Pharmacology and Nanoelectronics is not mentioned in the publications by Konstantin Semenov, although a significant part of the research has been completed there (see the attached publications; the research was conducted within the framework of project No 119-7808). Based on the abovementioned facts, in October 2019, Professor Semenov was forwarded the facts on the improper fulfilment of his duties, and the performance of works requested by Konstantin Semenov was suspended
- Anatoly Rusanov. In 2016, within the framework of project No 119-6284 in the Research Park application system under the supervision of Professor Rusanov, high-cost research on the magnetic properties of 11 samples was completed in the Resource Centre for Diagnostics of Functional Materials for Medicine, Pharmacology and Nanoelectronics (the cost of works was estimated as 478,549.13 roubles). Currently, no publications and reporting materials on this project have been attached. The works on the projects by Anatoly Rusanov in the Resource Centre for Diagnostics of Functional Materials for Medicine, Pharmacology and Nanoelectronics have not been performed any more
- Olga Yakubovich. In 2019, Olga Yakubovich registered an educational project (graduation project by doctoral student Margarita Mostovaia). The project was approved by the Research Centre Director. However, upon the approval Associate Professor Oleg Vereshchagin and student Nadezhda Vasileva were added to the project as implementers. Margarita Mostovaia is not listed among the implementers. Thus, it is clear that instead of the approved graduation project of the doctoral student, the work of bachelor's student Nadezhda Vasileva is performed within the framework of the project
The work with careless external users is also conducted. For example, in 2019, within the framework of the agreement with OOO ‘Spektr-Mikro’, the services on conducting research in the Centre for Geo-Environmental Research and Modelling (GEOMODEL) for the amount of 7,800 roubles were conducted. According to the agreement, Laboratory Director Anna Petrovskaia was a contact person on the part of the customer. The customer signed the act of completed services and received an invoice on 16 December. However, OOO ‘Spektr-Mikro’ has failed to pay on the invoice. In January 2021, Anna Petrovskaia contacted the Research Park with a request to perform some works already as the General Director of OOO ‘InnoPlazmaTech’. Taking into account the above-mentioned circumstances, the request of OOO ‘InnoPlazmaTech’ was rejected. Also, a list of unscrupulous partners has been published on the Research Park webpage.
The data on the average cost of publications prepared on the equipment operated by the staff of the University Research Park was mentioned at the meeting. An average cost of the publication is 323,983 roubles. Maximal cost of the articles is 12,734,298 roubles, minimal cost is 280 roubles.
Based on the results of the performed analysis, the reasons of high cost of the research conducted on the projects and, consequently, high cost of a single publication exceeding an average value by three and more times were found.
- The analysis results contain only a general evaluation of the article cost considering the use of the University infrastructure. The costs of the University on the scientists/ research groups have not been considered
- The part of publications with the cost exceeding an average value by three and more times is under 8% of the general number of publications
- When conducting the analysis and preparing the data, it was found that the cost of the article does not depend on the research field. It depends only on the cost of the specific type of research. The articles on interdisciplinary projects that cannot be easily attributed to a specific research field were also determined. The abovementioned information allows to conclude that averaging-out in the evaluation on all research fields is justified
6. ‘St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies’ (SUJES) has been included into Scopus database
On 5 April scientific journal ‘St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies’(SUJES) (Editor-in-Chief — Professor Alexander Lyakin) has been included into the international scientometric database Scopus. This is the second scientometric database that has recognised St Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies as an international edition. It has been indexed in Web of Science Core Collection since 2017.
As of today, already 19 scientific journals of St Petersburg University have been included into international scientometric databases: 14 – into Web of Science and 16 into Scopus.
7. The Prize of Elsevier company
Elsevier company is the leading supplier of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. It has awarded St Petersburg University for the input into the research in the priority R&D fields of the Russian Federation. The international prize ‘Research Excellence Award Russia 2021’ is awarded to the most highly published and cited researchers and research organisations. The prize has been dedicated to the Year of Science and Technology in Russia and is held together with the Russian Union of Rectors. Lomonosov Moscow State University and Novosibirsk State University have also been distinguished. The award is directly related to the scientific achievements of St Petersburg University Scientists. Thus, according to SciVal, in Q1 and Q2 journals in 2005, there were only 452 publications, in 2010 — 465 publications, in 2015 this number increased three-fold reaching 1,398 publications and amounted to 2,054 in 2019.
Research Excellence Award Russia 2021 continues a ten-years-long tradition of rewarding outstanding scientists of Russia and a part of Elsevier global initiative on supporting research activity. For the first time, Scopus Award was given in China in 2004. Since then, the awards to the most published and cited authors and organisations have been given in Europe and Russia, in the countries of Latin America and Asia. The input of a single scientist or organisation into the development of science at the domestic and international level takes into account the number of published research articles, their citation index in the international journals according to Scopus and expert assessment.
The Russian version of Scopus Award Russia was started in 2005. Scopus Awards Russia prize winners from St Petersburg University in the previous years were the following researchers: in 2018 — Igor Tantlevskii in the Arts and Humanities category, Galina Shirokova in the Business and Economics category; in 2015 — Alla Lapidus for an outstanding contribution into the development of science in the field of biology at the national and international level; in 2012 — Sergei Nazarov for an outstanding contribution into the development of science in the field of mathematics. In 2014, this award was given to St Petersburg University for exceptional success in joint research activity with the scientists from the European Union in 2009–2013.
8. The results of the joint competition of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF)
The results of the join competition for the best fundamental research projects held by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF) have been drawn. 369 applications including nine applications from St Petersburg University research groups have been submitted. Based on the competitive selection results, 41 projects have received support. Four applications from the University research groups have been supported.
The goal of the competition is to support basic scientific research, the development of international cooperation in the area of basic scientific research, creating the conditions for joint research projects performed by scientists from Russia and Iran. Basic scientific research projects in 11 fields can be submitted for the competition: from physics and astronomy to linguistic and cultural studies, information technology, computer systems and artificial intelligence.
The project implementation term is two or three years. Maximal grant size is 2,000,000 roubles per year, minimal grant size is 1,000,000 roubles per year for one project implementation stage. Groups from two to ten people could take part in the competition. The application window was from 14 January 2020 to 15 June 2020.
Four applications from St Petersburg University groups out of nine the University applications were supported.
- Ecofriendly and low cost gel polymer electrolytes based on natural polymers for lithium ion batteries (Principal investigator Svetlana Eliseeva)
- Capsid bugs (Hemiptera; Heteroptera: Miridae) of Northern Iran with an emphasis on economically important taxons (Principal investigator Fedor Konstantinov)
- Using the possibilities of post condensational modifications of GBB (Groebke‐Blackburn‐Bienaymé) reaction products in the construction of new molecular scaffolding to design biologically active substances (Principal investigator Mikhail Krasavin)
- The development of composites AI2024 / graphene with upgraded mechanical properties (Principal investigator Aleksandr Sheinerman). The application of the following educational establishments was also supported:
Lomonosov Moscow State University (eight applications), Skoltech (two), Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University (one), Ural Federal University (one).
9. Interaction of the University with Iranian partners
The issues of project implementation within the framework of cooperation between St Petersburg University and research and educational organisations of Iran during several recent years were discussed:
- the installation of a bust to Dmitri Mendeleev in the territory of the University of Tehran and a bust of Iranian scientist Ali Akbar Dehkhodâ in the territory of St Petersburg University
- opening of a St Petersburg University representative office at the University of Teheran with the goal to promote, support and strengthen the positions of the Russian language as well as popularise Russian science, culture and education
- organising a series of joint online lectures on Russia—Iran relations
- Creation of a joint foundation to support research at St Petersburg University and the University of Teheran with the goal of fostering cooperation in the field of science, increasing the number of joint research and academic mobility. The first joint competition will be announced in June 2021
- publication of an album of Iranian manuscripts. The album is an illustrated catalogue with over 100 illustrations that describes over 50 most valuable manuscripts. The album is designed both for specialists in history, literature, art and culture of Iran and for everyone who is willing to learn about the world of Persian manuscripts in Iran and beyond
- holding AMFA tests (Persian language proficiency tests) at St Petersburg University within the framework of the agreement with the Saadi Foundation. It is planned to hold annual Persian language testing for students, teachers and others according to the international standard. The Saadi Foundation certificates are given based on the test results. Testing is planned for 4 April 2021
- publication of the Almanac of Contemporary Russian prose prepared by St Petersburg University researchers in Iran (a number of writers included into the Almanac are teachers and graduates of the University). The Almanac enables Iranian readers to get acquainted with the main trends of contemporary Russian prose, contemplate artistic and ideological issues that the Russian writers and the whole Russian society are facing
- creating ‘The Documental Heritage of Russia—Iran Diplomacy’ album within the framework of the Russian Science Foundation under the guidance of the University scholars. The illustrated album contains diplomatic correspondence between Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, the first Russian Tsar of the House of Romanov, and Shah Safi. The album copies will be granted to the largest libraries of the world including the Majles Library and the National Library of Iran. The album will be published in Russian and English
- the creation of an encyclopaedia in Iranian studies together with the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies (IRAS). The encyclopaedia will be created in the electronic and printed form (popular science materials on Iran with the focus on modern Iranian studies in Russian). The project implementation time is three years (2021— 2024); implementation of the support programme for joint projects between St Petersburg University and Sharif University of Technology. A competition for financial support of R&D and research and educational projects in various fields of knowledge is held. Detail information on the programme and terms of participation in the competition can be found on the St Petersburg University website
10. The installation of a memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin
In October 2016, the Academic Council of the Institute of History at St Petersburg University addressed the Rector with a proposal to install a memorial plate dedicated to the outstanding scientist Vladimir Mavrodin on the façade of the building at 5 Mendeleevskaya Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The University turned to the Committee for Culture at the Government of St Petersburg with this initiative. However, the issue has not been resolved yet. There appeared a number of comments including those from the Legal Committee of the Administration of St Petersburg stating that
- there is no proof of ‘Vladimir Mavrodin being an outstanding Russian historian’ (a detail biography with a letter signed by the leading historians of the University headed by Abdulla Daudov was sent in reply)
- It was mentioned that there is no proof that the addresses of 5a Mendeleevskaya Line, Vasilyevsky Island, and 5–3 Mendeleevskaya Line, Vasilyevsky Island, specified in the certificate refer to one and the same building (a relevant confirmatory certificate was received from the Committee for City Property Management of the Government of St Petersburg), etc
Subcontractor OOO ‘VERN’ found by means of commercial bids implemented a design of the memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin at the cost of income generating activities of the historians (455,000 roubles) and approved the design with the Committee for the State Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments. The cost estimate of producing and installing the memorial plate based on this design was 904,042 roubles. As a result of negotiations of Abdulla Daudov and Vadim Fomichev with Director General of OOO ‘VERN’ Vasilii Pavlenko, the latter agreed to reduce the cost of producing and installing the plate by 30% to 633,000 roubles. This is confirmed by a written note from OOO ‘VERN’. Currently, Abdulla Daudov has collected this sum due to charity and sponsor means and created a relevant donation agreement. Thus, it is possible to conclude an agreement for the production and installation of the memorial plate to Vladimir Mavrodin.
However, it can be concluded only after the St Petersburg Government order on the installation of the memorial plate is issued. However, there is a delay in this process. The draft of the order has not been prepared yet. According to the secretary of the Council on memorial plates in St Petersburg Government A Ivanova, this is because the lawyers of the Committee for Culture are currently busy with regulating the work of cultural and public events in the city during the pandemic. This explanation has been offered during the last 6–7 months.
11. The status of the reorganisation progress of St Petersburg University
Professor Nikolay Kuznetsov, Chair of the teaching methodology committee of the Academic Council at the University, has communicated that at the meeting of the committee on 5 April, they considered a draft of the network agreement offered by the administration of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Agreement on the Proposal). The participants of the teaching methodology committee expressed their surprise about the text of the document (for example, it limits the right of students to the free choice of the university to continue their studies) and declared the terms of cooperation stated in the agreement draft as unacceptable for St Petersburg University (Minutes of the meeting of the Permanent teaching methodology committee of the Academic Council at St Petersburg University). The administration of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been offered to rework the text of the agreement.