Minutes of the Rector's Meeting

No. 517

    St Petersburg University at the 6th St Petersburg International Labour Forum

    On 14–18 March, the 6th St Petersburg International Labour Forum took place. The event traditionally hosted representatives of the business community, state authorities, experts from the academia and non-profit sector. The discussion focused on the search of new vectors of the labour market development, the reaction to the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic and large-scale economic limitations (Rector of St Petersburg University at the Labour Forum: ‘In public universities, resources created through state funding is public property’).

    According to Olga Tulsanova, Deputy Senior Vice-Rector for Event Management and Partner Relations, the concept and structure of the 6th Labour Forum was developed by the programme committee of St Petersburg University (Elena Chernova: ‘Today, the Labour Forum focuses on developing strategies for adapting to new economic conditions’). This year, the programme consisted of 12 tracks that united 127 events in a hybrid and online format on five platforms. According to preliminary estimates, over 4,000 people took part in the events of the Labour Forum, over 200 speakers and moderators were invited to take part in the lectures, workshops, round tables, discussions and other events.

    Traditionally, St Petersburg International Youth Labour Forum — 2022 and the Spring Career Day at St Petersburg University took place right before the "big" forum (‘It all starts at a specialist level’: St Petersburg University holds the St Petersburg Youth Labour Forum; ‘It is necessary to switch on a "healthy" careerist’: Youth Labour Forum opens at St Petersburg University). During the Forum, 29 leading Russian and international companies told the students about the possibilities to start and plan their careers. The rich programme of 25 events was accompanied by a stand session. The Youth Forum and the Career Day were attended by 1,600 students in person and online.

    Starting in 2021, St Petersburg University supports holding a new track within the framework of the business programme of the forum — #marco — Labour and employment in the new social and economic reality. Within the framework of this track, the traditional 6th International Economic Symposium took place.

    The stand of St Petersburg University was traditionally displayed at the exhibition "C.U.B. Expo" (Modernity and tradition: St Petersburg University presents its achievements at the K.U.B. exhibition at the Labour Forum). In two days, seven workshops and six presentations took place at the stand. Scientific achievements of the University staff and students were presented: postgraduate student Aleksandr Averianov shared the results of his start-up project "Terroir Concept" (designing vineyards and agricultural services for wineries)’, Professor Pavel Musienko told the audience about the cutting-edge technology of neuroprosthetics. The exhibition also featured a grand opening ceremony of the Centre for Applied Economic Research opened at St Petersburg University and the signing of a cooperation agreement between St Petersburg University and the "Donors Forum" sponsor association.

    In the passageway of the Expoforum exhibition centre, the Library of the Labour Forum was organised, where the Publishing House of St Petersburg University presented books and souvenir products of the University.

    International activity

    At the recent Rector’s meeting on 14 March, the international activity of St Petersburg University was analysed (Minutes of the Rectors meeting dated 14 March 2022). According to Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, a number of new events happened last week.

    • St Petersburg University was visited by a delegation from Egypt headed by Waleed Mohammad Nabil Daabas, General Director of the Modern Group. During the visit on 15 March, the ceremony of signing the agreement on creating a branch of the University in Cairo took place (St Petersburg University establishes a branch in Egypt). A new subdivision of the University will train highly qualified specialists in medicine, dentistry, nursing, etc. Following the proposal of Waleed Mohammad Nabil Daabas, the second branch of St Petersburg University will be opened in Saudi Arabia

    Creating a new branch of St Petersburg University became possible due to the order by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt allowing for the branches of international universities to be opened in the country. The project will be funded entirely by the investments of the Modern Group JSC — one of the largest groups of companies in Egypt specialising not only in the sphere of higher, secondary and primary education, but also in pharmaceutics, construction and other fields. It will help to provide the new branch with all the necessary resources for effective operation and training of highly qualified specialists in the field of medicine.

    The admission plan for the branch will be formed by the University, taking into account the needs of the industries in highly qualified human resources in Egypt. The graduates of the bachelor’s, master’s and medical residency programmes will receive diplomas that correspond to the educational standards of St Petersburg University and generally accepted international standards of university education quality.

    After the ceremony of signing the agreement, the guests saw the opportunities offered at the resource centres at the Research Park of St Petersburg University. The company representatives learned about the work methods and research results. The delegation visited the Institute of Translational Biomedicine, the Centre for Molecular and Cell Technologies, the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies, the Simulation Centre, where future dentists get practical skills, as well as clinical bases at St Petersburg Hospital No 40 and D. O. Ott Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductology.

    • Following the initiative of the French side, a video conference of the representatives of St Petersburg University and the International Arts campus in Fontainebleau took place (The University branch to become part of the International Arts Campus in France). At the meeting, the sides discussed the issue of creating a branch of the University on the international campus that is currently developed on the basis of the reconstructed palace of Fontainebleau. Mr Eric Bunsho-Zuckerman, Chairperson of the Campus Board, suggested that the University should organise studies for students in the academic programmes in the field of art by opening a branch in this historic place. At the meeting, Ivan Uralov, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts, told the participants about the activity of the faculty and suggested spheres of cooperation. Vladimir Starostenko, Director of the Centre of E-Learning Development, spoke about the possibilities of the University in the sphere of online education and made a proposal to create an online school in the field of art. The sides agreed to sign a letter of intent and start implementing cooperation in an online format during the campus construction
    • The season of the 2021/2022 academic year of the educational project "Online School of St Petersburg University" continues. It has been implemented for four years. During the current academic year, over 2,100 school students from such countries as Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Sweden, France, Armenia and Egypt attend classes ("The Online School of St Petersburg University brings together students from 12 countries")

    The project "Online School of St Petersburg University" was launched in Latvia in December 2018. In four years, the number of its participants increased by 30 times, and its geography expanded to 12 countries. Initially, classes were held in three disciplines: the Russian Language, Russian Literature, Russian History. With time following the participants’ requests, the range of subjects has expanded to include sciences and liberal arts. Today, school students can build their schedule by choosing the most interesting topics from the ten disciplines: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, Natural science, Russian, Literature and Social science.

    Every year the span of the school programme is expanding. This year, school students from the 5th to the 11th form can take part in the projects with special classes for the ,appropriate level. In France, distant classes were also delivered to school students from the 1st to the 6th form following the request of parents. Starting in early September 2021, about 100 students studied in the primary school programme.

    From a small local project, "Online School of St Petersburg University" turned into an almost full-scale online school, where students can study for 11 years in parallel with their regular classes.

    • In Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute (Uzbekistan), a state testing in Russian as a foreign language took place (St Petersburg University conducts Russian language testing in Uzbekistan). Fifty teachers willing to confirm their language proficiency took part in the testing session. In 2021, Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute turned to St Petersburg University with a proposal to start cooperation and hold tests in Russian as a foreign language. Experts of St Petersburg University promptly organised work and had the first testing session already in December. After several months, a new examination for teachers willing to get certificates recognised at the state level was held. Only within half a year, over 100 teachers took the tests showing a high level of proficiency in Russian

    Round Table of the Association of Leading Universities and the Council of the Rectors of the Universities of the North-Western Federal District "Student Mass Media. Experience of universities"

    On 18 March, the Association of Leading Universities held a round table together with the Council of the Rectors of Universities in the North-Western Federal District, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, representatives of the authorities of the subjects in the North-Western Federal Districts, the National Youth Council of Russia, public organisations.

    According to Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, at the round table, the representatives of universities shared their experience in organising the work of the student mass media, discussed the order of using the University name by the student mass media and the relevant responsibility.

    Andrei Tolmachev, Director of the Department of Coordination of Information and Educational Activity at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, pointed out that the development of student media is an important aspect of work both at the level of universities and at the level of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. A representative of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education suggested that the efforts in developing this student activity should be united.

    Pavel Krasnolutskii, Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Russia, underscored that it is not always possible to find accurate information in a large amount of information, and this problem should be solved. It is also necessary to direct joint efforts on producing creative content.

    The participants of the round table discussed not only positive experiences in the work of multiple student mass media, but also problems that the universities have due to the illegal use of the University name by students and staff in their mass media and blogs on the Internet. Today, everyone understands the power of the printed word, but not everyone understands the responsibility that comes with it. That is why a large number of people start personal blogs, positioning them as blogs of their university, faculty, department. In this regard, it is important to consider the issues related to the legal use of the university name by various information resources created by students, staff, graduates at their initiative.

    Often, such information resources distribute false or unconfirmed information across a wide audience due to ignorance or inability to work with data. Such situations may damage the reputation of the university and misinform the public. This problem should be solved.

    Aleksandr Babich, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Admissions, said that in particular, some time ago, one of the publics independently taking the name of St Petersburg University shared false information about the rules of admission, which not only damaged the reputation of the University, but also caused material losses among many applicants (Official sources of information on admission information).

    Within the framework of the meeting, the representatives of the leading universities in Russia shared their experience in organising the activity of student mass media as well as mentioned the tasks of these media. In many cases, these student resources cannot be even called mass media in the full sense of the word, which also creates a misunderstanding of the responsibility. The main tasks of the student media include covering the life of the university and education as well as providing a possibility for creative activity by students.

    Vladimir Kosenchuk, Director of the International Association of Student Television, told the participants about the International Association of Student Television as an information space for youth mass media that allows students to fully implement their potential and helps develop already existing total information resources at the University. However, he noted that such initiatives on creating information resources could not be considered mass media since they have different goals.

    Tatiana Krestovskih, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Management and Information Technologies at Ukhta State Technical University, and Dmitry Bezgodov, Assistant Professor in the Department of Document Science, History and Philosophy at the Ukhta State Technical University, mentioned the project "Russian Civilization" aimed at patriotic upbringing. According to the representatives of the Ukhta State Technical University, the teaching and learning process should strictly correspond to the student public activity and stand on a single organisation culture, where the values of personality, motherland, truth and scientific knowledge are of great importance.

    At the discussion, Alena Kalmykova, correspondent of the student information channel "MGIMO-360" of the MGIMO University at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, shared her view on the student mass media. The student said that student mass media help form a positive image of the university in the media space, increasing its popularity and recognition.

    Representatives of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Financial University, Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University LETI, Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, North- Caucasus Federal University, Southern Federal University, deputy director of the municipal student press centre in St Petersburg (acting on the platform of Saint-Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design) also made their presentations.

    Marina Lavrikova, Head of the Secretary Office of the Association of Leading Universities, called for distinguishing the notions of "information resource" and "mass media", as well as telling apart official information resources of universities with current and verified information about the activity of the university from various personal and collective initiatives of students and graduates, who develop their skills of being present in the media space and sometimes abuse this opportunity.

    Following the discussion results, the participants of the round table were offered to send the information on the current problems with the student mass media and information resources to the Association of the Leading Universities and the Council of Rectors of the Northwestern Federal District. This information will be consolidated and included in the meeting resolution for further elaboration of joint proposals to the authorities regulating such activity.

    The participants of the round table found it expedient to develop a regulatory base for creating student information resources and providing the rights of using the University name at the federal level. In this regard, it was resolved to send a proposal to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation on drafting an order of the Ministry that will regulate relevant issues of providing the rights to use the name of the university and taking away such rights.

    Following the results of the round table, the proposals of the participants and the Association of Leading Universities and the Council of Rectors of the Northwestern Federal District will be sent to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and other authorities regulating the work of student mass media and information resources.

    Opening a branch of St Petersburg University in Gatchina

    Following the initiative of the Rector of St Petersburg University and the agreement with the administration of the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" and the administration of the Leningrad region, the working group on creating a branch of the University in Gatchina, the Leningrad region, started its work (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 28 February 2022).

    According to Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, the decision was based on the experience of the staff team at the Faculty of Physics at St Petersburg University in implementing the master’s programme "Condensed Matter Physics at MEGA-Science Facilities", as well as the experience of teaching a block of disciplines "Neutron and Synchrotron Physics" and "Nuclear Physics" as part of the master’s programme "Physics".

    These programmes are implemented in close cooperation of St Petersburg University with the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute located in Gatchina: our students perform practical work at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute; employees of the Center teach a number of basic disciplines; joint research is conducted; final graduation projects of the students of St Petersburg University are performed under the supervision of specialists from the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.

    A possibility to teach these and other academic programmes of St Petersburg University in Gatchina can emerge already at the first stage of the project implementation, when the required spaces are available, and the legal procedures of registering the branch activity are in progress.

    On 16 March, the first meeting of the working group on opening the branch in Gatchina was held. The participants of the working group were shown a presentation by the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute that listed the field of current research and research equipment of the Institute. St Petersburg University and the National Research Center ‘Kurchatov Institute’ — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute concluded a cooperation agreement and practical training allowing for the students of St Petersburg University to use the research infrastructure of the Institute.

    Following the results of the meeting and discussion within the teams of the research and academic subdivisions of St Petersburg University, the participants of the working group shall provide proposals suggesting the programmes to be organised based on the Gatchina branch as well as new academic programmes to be developed for the Gatchina branch taking into account the existing possibilities of cooperation with the National Research Center ‘Kurchatov Institute’ — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.

    Marina Lavrikova noted that when forming proposals, the staff should consider not only the possibilities of cooperation with the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" — Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, but also other possibilities offered by the location of the planned branch in the Leningrad region. For example, a representative of the staff team at the Faculty of Political Science made a proposal to use the status of Gatchina as the capital of the Leningrad region and consider not only the possibility of launching academic programmes, in particular, master’s programmes, but also suggest developing and implementing non-degree programmes, for example, for managers of the Leningrad region.

    All proposals on organising educational activities in the Gatchina branch of St Petersburg University can be sent to the following address: edu@spbu.ru.

    Online course "Ukraine: Morphology and Mythology"

    Nikolai Mezhevich, Doctor of Economics, Professor at St Petersburg University, and a leading research associate at the Institute of the Regional Economy Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Artem Barynkin, Candidate of History, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, created an online course on the modern history of Ukraine "Ukraine: Morphology and Mythology". The course is a coherent, systematic overview of the key problems of the Ukrainian state and society in recent years. The course programme focuses on morphology: the structure of contemporary Ukrainian policy, history, economy, and state mythology. It also touches on the history of the formation of Ukrainian statehood, social processes and the formation of the country’s foreign policy orientation (St Petersburg University creates an online course on Ukraine’s modern history).

    The course is available on the national educational platform OpenEdu in two languages: Russian and English. It is free of charge.

    According to Vladimir Starostenko, Director of the Centre of E-Learning Development, over 250 people joined the course "Ukraine: Morphology and Mythology" during the first two days. As a result, the course is in the first place in terms of audience growth among St Petersburg University courses. For comparison, the online course "Chinese for Beginners" is among the platform’s top 10 most popular courses. It was launched in the autumn of 2017, and currently, 85,735 students have enrolled in the course. During this week, 227 students have enrolled in the course. In the new online course "Psychology" offered by St Petersburg University, 163 students have enrolled during the week. The course started on 28 February 2022, and 1,027 students have enrolled in the course so far.

    St Petersburg University ranks first on the Open Education both in terms of the number of online courses launched (176 out of 867), the number of launched programmes (33 out of 50) and audience coverage (more than 2 million entries). Currently, the University staff is actively transferring the University online courses from the international platform Coursera due to the fact that as a result of hostile actions of the platform management, the courses and specialisations of all Russian universities were removed from the public catalogue (Coursera’s students can study St Petersburg University’s courses on the platform of St Petersburg University and on the Open Education).

    Vladimir Starostenko recalled that since 2017 St Petersburg University has been actively developing online learning and is currently the leader in this area. In terms of the number of online courses hosted on the Coursera platform, St Petersburg University ranks first among European universities. It is among the top 5 universities of the world that are partners of Coursera. On the Open Education, St Petersburg University ranks first both in terms of the number of courses (176) and programmes (33) hosted, and in terms of audience coverage: more than two million students.

    The participants of the meeting said that universities across the country, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, showed interest in this online course. Alexey Rodionov, Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies, offered to translate this course into Chinese (his colleagues in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) showed great interest).

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

    Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received 12 enquiries addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities. Additionally, 16 enquiries were registered in the student enquiry register. Among the issues, they touch upon is academic transfer to St Petersburg University from universities abroad (Academic transfer to St Petersburg University).

    On 17 March 2022, in order to implement the decision stating the readiness for academic transfer to St Petersburg University of students who are forced to transfer from foreign universities to Russian universities due to the difficult international situation, the first order was issued to transfer a Russian student from the University of Social Sciences in Warsaw to the degree programme "Tourism" at St Petersburg University. In the coming days, the student will start studying. St Petersburg University is considering more than 60 applications from students from the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR), the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Ukraine, and Russian citizens who are students of foreign universities. Documents are being collected for academic transfer. In some cases, students have applied to several Russian universities at once and are currently deciding which university to choose.

    A first-year student of the master’s programme in the area of "Ecology and Nature Management" (POMOR), who is a citizen of Mexico, submitted an enquiry to the Virtual Reception in relation to that she could not timely transfer funds to pay for tuition due to the sanctions imposed on Russian banks. The student asked for help in resolving this issue, as she wanted to continue her studies at the University. By the decision of Elena Chernova, Senior Vice-Rector, the student was granted a deferral of tuition fees due to the current situation in the world and the banking sector. The deferral period ends 14 days before the start of the interim assessment, i.e. mid-May 2022.

    International students submitted an enquiry with a request to conduct classes in foreign languages in the in-person format. A response has been prepared that, in accordance with Order No 1893/1 ‘On the validity of Order № 7991/1 dated 13 August 2021 "On the format of the teaching and learning process in the 2021/22 academic year" in the period from 07 March 2022’ dated 4 March 2022 and following the proposals submitted by the Dean of the School of International Relations, the teaching and learning process in the area of ‘International Relations’ is organised in a mixed format. The teaching and learning process is gradually transferring to the in-person format taking into account the technical and organisational capacities of the current timetable in order to prevent failures in the teaching and learning process. First of all, classes in difficult foreign languages are being transferred to the classroom format. Among them are Arabic, Turkish, and Chinese. Changes from 24 March 2022 have been made to the electronic timetable.

    According to the information from the heads of most academic and research subdivisions, classes are delivered according to the timetable in the prescribed manner.

    The Dean of the School of International Relations received several enquiries from students with a request to transfer classes in a foreign language to the classroom format. As already noted, there is a gradual transfer of classes in a foreign language to the classroom format.

    Information on the teaching and learning process was not received from the heads of the Institute of Pedagogy, the Institute for Cognitive Studies, the Faculty of Law, and the Medical College.

    Some heads did not hold meetings with students and representatives of student councils over the past week, while many subdivisions held such meetings.

    Students met with the heads of the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology (the minutes of the meeting were not drawn up and not submitted for publication), the Institute of Philosophy, the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes, the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies (the minutes of the meeting were not drawn up and not submitted for publication). At the meetings of the Director of the Institute of Chemistry, the Director of the Institute of History, the Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences, the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics with students, they discussed changes to the format of the teaching and learning process.

    At the meeting, the Director of the Institute of Chemistry informed representatives of the Student Council of the Institute of Chemistry and the heads of the study groups that on 14 March 2022, the teaching and learning process shifted to the in-person format. The students were also interested in how MS Teams and Blackboard worked in connection with the global situation. The Director of the Institute of Chemistry informed the students that MS Teams and Blackboard worked as usual. In the event of a threat of disconnection of these resources, the University Information Technology Service is considering alternative options.

    The Director of the Institute of History held a meeting with the heads of the study groups and representatives of the Student Council. During the meeting, he informed the students that until 28 March 2022, classes would be delivered using information and communication technologies and then would be transferred to a blended format, with an attempt to reach the maximum number of in-person classes, excluding the disciplines that were conducted in groups using information and telecommunication technologies.

    At the meeting with students, the Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences told about the mixed format of the teaching and learning process established in accordance with the Order № 1893/1 ‘On the validity of the Order dated 13 August 2021 No 7991/1 "On the format of the teaching and learning process in the 2021/22 academic year" during the period from 7 March 2022’ dated 4 March 2022. In future, the disciplines would be transferred to the classroom format if these changes in the format of classes did not result in changes in the timetable. At the meeting with a group of students of the academic programme "Polar and Marine Research" (POMOR), which is a double degree programme and was created jointly with one of the foreign partner universities of St Petersburg University, the Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences told about the global situation and expressed hope that the situation would improve and we could continue cooperation.

    The Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics informed the students about the transition to the blended format and said that the teaching and learning process using only information and communication technologies was possible for: master’s students until the end of the academic year as graduation projects were being prepared; foreign citizens who could not come to Russia; students who had submitted documented statements about they could not be present at St Petersburg University.

    At the meeting with the Dean of the Faculty of Sociology, representatives of the Student Council asked to change the time of the practical classes of the academic programme "Sociological Research in the Digital Society", which were planned to be delivered in the classroom format from 4 April 2022. The information was sent to the Academic Affairs Department to determine the possibility of changing the timetable.

    Department to determine the possibility of changing the timetable.

    Current issues with the teaching and learning process and other issues were discussed at the meetings with members of student councils, heads of the Faculty of Biology, and the Faculty of Physics.

    The head of the Faculty of Philology held a meeting with students with the participation of members of the presidium of the Student Scientific Society in philology and heads of the study groups to discuss the SPbU Start-up contest and opportunities of how to be more actively engaged in the contest to conduct applied projects.

    Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, drew the attention of the heads of academic and research subdivisions to the decision made as a result of the discussion at the Rector’s meeting on 9 March 2022 on the need to invite the representatives of student councils, representatives of student scientific societies and heads of study groups to regular meetings with students. Not all heads of the academic and research subdivisions who held meetings with students last week took this decision into account. So, the heads of the study group were invited for discussion by the Director of the Institute of Chemistry and the Director of the Institute of History. In contrast, the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Philology invited not only the heads but also the members of the presidium of the Student Scientific Society of the Faculty of Philology. This approach should help the directors of institutes and deans of faculties to: cover the interests of most students during the meetings; and provide an opportunity to provide reliable information directly to the majority of students. It is necessary to adhere to this rule, emphasised Marina Lavrikova.

    Results of the University participation in the regional competition of the Russian Science Foundation for conducting basic scientific research and exploratory scientific research by separate research teams

    On 1 March 2022, the Russian Science Foundation summed up the results of the regional competition for financing fundamental research and exploratory research by small research groups. Based on the peer review results, 431 projects received support, including 67 projects in St Petersburg. Financing of grants will be formed on the parity terms (50% + 50%) from the funds of the Russian Science Foundation and the funds of the corresponding constituent entities of the Russian Federation. The projects of the research groups will be carried out within two years with the amount of funding of up to one and a half million roubles per year.

    According to Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research at St Petersburg University, St Petersburg University took second place among all scientific organisations in St Petersburg in terms of the number of supported projects (nine projects). At the same time, the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy Sciences ranked first, with ten projects being supported. The third place was shared between St Petersburg Electrotechnical University ETU "LETI" and the ITMO University, which received six projects each (Table).

    The Russian Science Foundation holds this type of competition for the first time. The University submitted 40 applications for the regional competition. As a result, every fifth application from St Petersburg University received support (22.5%).

    The distribution of the number of supported projects by areas of study is provided in the table below:

    Area of study


    Physics and Space Sciences


    Chemistry and Materials Sciences


    Biology and Life Sciences


    Humanities and Social Sciences


    Engineering Sciences


    Comparative data on the number of the submitted and supported applications by subdivisions at St Petersburg University are provided in the table below:

    Structural subdivision




    Faculty of Physics




    Institute of Earth Sciences




    Institute of Chemistry




    Institute of Translational Biomedicine




    Faculty of Biology




    Faculty of Sociology




    School of International Relations




    Faculty of Medicine




    Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty




    Institute of History




    Graduate School of Management




    School of Journalism and Mass Communication




    Faculty of Economics




    Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes




    Department of Physical Training and Sports




    Institute of Philosophy




    Institute of Pedagogy




    Distribution of the University’s supported projects by priority areas of research supported by the region:

    Priority area

    Number of supported projects

    The transition to advanced digital, intelligent manufacturing technologies, robotic systems, new materials and design methods, the creation of systems for processing large amounts of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence


    The transition to environmentally friendly and resource-saving energy, increasing the efficiency of production and deep processing of hydrocarbon raw materials, the formation of new sources, methods of transportation and storage of energy


    The transition to a highly productive and environmentally friendly agro- and aquaculture, development and implementation of systems for the rational use of chemical and biological protection of agricultural plants and animals, storage and efficient processing of agricultural products, the creation of safe and high-quality, including functional, food products


    The possibility of effective response of Russian society to significant challenges, taking into account the interaction of man and nature, man and technology, social institutions at the present stage of global development, including applying the methods of the humanities and social sciences


    Connectivity of the territory of the Russian Federation through the creation of intelligent transport and telecommunications systems, as well as taking and maintaining leadership positions in the creation of international transport and logistics systems, the exploration and use of outer space and airspace, the World Ocean, the Arctic and Antarctic


    Sergey Mikushev emphasised that the new format of the funding programmes from the Russian Science Foundation is set to solve the problems of the regions. The grant applications should necessarily specify what problems of the region will be solved by fundamental and exploratory research. He also noted that applications for the funding programmes are most often submitted by the same heads at the University, and their resources are not unlimited. More applications need to be submitted to increase the number of grants received. To this end, we need to prepare new heads who can apply and win competitions.

    Rules of providing grants for state support of creating and developing world-class research centres were amended

    On 16 March, the Russian Government issued Decree N386, according to which the procedure of providing grants in the form of federal subsidies is simplified for world level research centres.

    According to Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research of St Petersburg University, all organisations which receive grants can now use their funds to implement programmes of setting up and developing the centre before the grant funds are transferred to the organisation’s account with the subsequent reimbursement of the costs from the grant funds in the current year. The grant recipient shall submit relevant documents confirming the costs to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

    According to the new rules of providing grants, the initiators of setting up centres shall provide preliminary information on the results of the provision of the grant and implementation of programmes of setting up and development of the centres as of 1 December of the current year to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation prior to 1 December of the reporting year. Prior to 31 December of the reporting year, according to the results of consideration of the documents submitted, the list of institutions to receive the grant will be defined, and 50% of the total grant funding for the next financial year will be transferred to them in accordance with the approved schedule not later than 28 February of the relevant financial year.

    In case further on the Council for state support of setting up and development of world level math centres or the Council for state support of setting up and development of world level science centres which conduct studies and development in view of scientific and technological development priorities decide to refuse provision of the grant, the recipient of the grant shall return the funds provided in the current financial year to the federal budget on the basis of the demand of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science in accordance with the due procedure.

    Draft on the Order of the Government of the Russian Federation "On publications indexed in international databases (Web of Science, Scopus)"

    The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has drafted and is planning to shortly issue a project of the Russian Government’s decree "On publications indexed in international databases (Web of Science, Scopus)". Under this decree, public authorities of the Russian constituent entities shall be allowed until the end of this year not to apply the following requirements set by legal standards issued by the Russian Government and federal executive authorities:

    • to have articles in publications/journals indexed in WoS and Scopus (including in terms of target indexes in respect of publication activity)
    • to participate in foreign science conferences (including in terms of target indexes in respect of publication activity as a result of the abovementioned conferences)

    According to Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research of St Petersburg University, these requirements are to be used to:

    • assess the efficiency of science, research and technology, innovative and academic programmes and projects
    • provide state support in the form of federal grants and subsidies (i.e. in terms of such projects as world level centres, Russian Presidential grants, mega grants, grants of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation to provide for science research in cooperation with foreign organisations within the framework of the implementation of programmes of bi- and multi-lateral scientific and technological cooperation and other subsidies provided as a result of tenders organised by federal executive authorities)
    • evaluate efficiency and productivity of organisations’ activity and performance of their heads
    • evaluate the efficiency of implementation of events in the framework of federal and national projects and state programmes of the Russian Federation
    • assess qualifications of academic degree applicants

    The meeting participants discussed the issues the University needs to tackle in view of the new decree. Among them are: conditions to be complied with to receive grants from the Russian Science Foundation and other foundations, obligations of research and teaching staff under new employment contracts with the University, the possibility to publish in high-ranking journals in Russia, increase in the number of scientific journals of the University and their translation into foreign languages (Chinese, Spanish), work of foreign members of editorial boards of the University journals and academic (dissertation) councils to name just a few. It was decided that the Vice-Rector for Research would hold a meeting with the director of the Publishing House and editors of the University journals to develop a unified strategy.

    Work on registering land plots and buildings in 2021

    In 2021 St Petersburg University continued legal registration of the property, which was to be registered back in the 1990s. In accordance with the then-current laws, the registration of all real estate property was to be finished by the University management at the end of the previous century.

    According to Yuri Penov, Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs, between 2000 and 2008, the respective University offices registered 10-20 real estate facilities per year on average, yet those were mostly registered incorrectly. From 1991 to 1 January 2008, the University registered the right in only 138 real estate facilities, accounting for only 38% of the total number of facilities. Since 2008 the University has had to re-submit documents for 95 out of 138 facilities, i.e. almost 75% of the registered facilities (A Fresh Start: Why has the University not registered its rights to real estate yet?).

    In 2021 the work done by the University in cooperation with employees of inter-regional territorial offices of the Federal Agency for State Property Management allowed the University to register the right of operative administration and permanent (perpetual) use in respect of the following real estate facilities:

    1. the land plot located at: 26a 1st Line of Vasilyevsky Island, Municipal District No 7, St Petersburg, the total square of 1,071 sq.m (decision as of 29 July 2021 № 78-228-р)
    2. the land plot located at: land plot 100/A, Smolny Proezd, Municipal District Smolninskoye, Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg, the total square of 8,423 sq.m (decision as of 21 June 2021 № 78-227-р)
    3. the land plot located at: land plot 101/A, Smolny Proezd, Municipal District Smolninskoye, Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg, the total square of 2,607 sq.m (decision as of 21 June 2021 № 78-227-р)
    4. the land plot located at: 1a Gruzinova Street, Trudoliubovka Village, Bakhchisarai District, Republic of Crimea, the total square of 22,285 sq.m (decision as of 29 November 2021 № 91-421-р)
    5. the land plot located at: 16b Sevastopolskaya Street, Trudoliubovka Village, Bakhchisarai District, Republic of Crimea, the total square of 1,944 sq.m (decision as of 29 November 2021 № 91-421-р)
    6. the non-residential building located at: Building 11,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration based on commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    7. the non-residential building located at: Building 12,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    8. the non-residential building located at: Building 13, 109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    9. the non-residential building located at: Building 14,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    10. the non-residential building located at: Building 15,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    11. the non-residential building located at: Building 16,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    12. the non-residential building located at: Building 17,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    13. the non-residential building located at: Building 18,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    14. the non-residential building located at: Building 19,109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof Inner-city Municipality, St Petersburg (registration on the basis of commissioning permission № 78-14-07-2021, issued 14 September 2021)
    15. the construction located at: 109 Sankt-Peterburgskoe Shosse, Peterhof, to Oranzhereiny Island from the West bank of the Bolshoy pond (decision as of 2 April 2021 № 78-111-р)
    16. the non-residential building located at: lit. M, 19th km of Sredne-Vyborgskoe Shosse, Tarasovo Village, Polyanskaya Volost, Vyborgsky District, Leningrad Region (decision as of 26 May 2021 № 78-176-р)

    Furthermore, under the gratuitous use agreement dated 24 December 2021 No 01/ЗБ-06244, the rights to the land plot located at land plot 1, Filologicheskiy Lane, St Petersburg, the total square of 3,975 sq.m, were acquired. At present, the University has submitted an application to St Petersburg Property Relations Committee to consider the issue of transferring the abovementioned plot to federal ownership.

    In the framework of works for designing the Area of St Petersburg University Development, an agreement has been executed to impose an easement on the land plot located at: 1/B VNIIGRANZh (the premises of the All-Russia Research Institute of Farm Animal Genetics and Breeding), Detskoselsky District, Shushary Village, St Petersburg, with the total square of 92,753 sq.m (agreement dated 21 December 2021 № 01/1-56-1-SPbU).

    In respect of real estate facilities located at 1 lit. A, B, V, G, D, E, Zh, Gruzinova Street, Trudoliubovka Village, Bakhchisarai District, Republic of Crimea, a letter has been sent to the inter-regional territorial office of the Federal Agency for State Property Management in the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol dated 20 January 2022 No 01/1-33-105 on registration of the right of Russian ownership and operative administration of St Petersburg University. Preparation for bringing technical plans in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Registration Service to specify the location and drafting additional cadastral documents in respect of the University facilities in the Republic of Crimea is well underway.

    Over the past years, as a result of ongoing work in terms if registration of the University’s rights to land plots and real estate facilities, the situation has improved to a significant extent. In thirteen years (from 2008 to 2021 inclusive), the rights of operative administration and permanent (perpetual) use by the University were registered in respect of 496 real estate facilities (96 land plots and 400 buildings).

    Establishing the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies as a separate legal entity

    The Decree of the Government of St Petersburg dated 5 February 2022 № 115 approved the procedure of Moscow and St Petersburg Universities exercising powers of the founder of legal entities which form part of their science and educational structures in the name of the Russian Federation, as well as powers of the owner of the federal property of such legal entities (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 14 March 2022).

    Piotr Yablonsky, Vice-Rector for Medical Activities, said at the meeting that this by-law would make it possible to make real the plans formulated by the University Rector Nikolay Kropachev at the 2018 meeting with the Clinic’s staff to establish the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies, an obviously cutting-edge project unprecedented for our country, as a separate legal entity as part of the University’s science and educational structure. Its implementation is to become another factor providing the University’s leadership in the sphere of biomedicine and the organisation of healthcare in our country.

    The establishment of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies as a separate legal entity will allow solving relevant organisational and economic issues which directly influence the successful therapeutic and diagnostic, and hence research and educational activity of the Clinic. In particular, this will simplify the process of state procurements and the Clinic’s obtaining medicines and supplies. The Clinic is characterised by a high workload (in 2021, on the 269 beds of the inpatient facility, 31,500 patients were treated, nearly 26,000 operations were performed; the bed turnover equalled unprecedented 107.9 patients per year). In the context of the Western sanctions, the supplies are vital. Another expected implication is a simplification of the development of a network of outpatient and diagnostic satellite clinics in the Russian regions which will give the people access to high-quality healthcare services and provide for post-op follow-up for a high number of patients. A significant effect will also be the Clinic’s receiving the status of a medical institution, which will enable it to avoid paying profits tax, which amounted to 48,551,677 RUR per year. These are only some of the apparent benefits of implementing this idea.

    The establishment of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies of St Petersburg University as a separate legal entity shall not have a negative impact on the Clinic’s integration into the University life. Over the past three years, the staff of the Clinic has got into the University spirit: worked on joint projects with scientists from fundamental research departments; started to publish articles in leading journals; conducted dissertation research and held dissertation defence procedures following the University rules. Consequently, the number of clinical residency students and postgraduates increased significantly. In particular, over the past three years, the Clinic’s staff together with students and clinical residency students, published 110 articles in Scopus-indexed journals, 43% of them in the journals of the first and second quartiles. Since its opening in February 2019, the Department for Coordination of Experimental and Clinical Research has enhanced the Clinic’s research work. Over the past period, 34 clinical trials of medicines and 128 clinical trials of medical devices have been organised and conducted. The Clinic’s staff participated in two international programmes of early (extended) access to medicines for patients with medullary thyroid cancer. Considerable work was conducted for further scaling and development of clinical research in the Clinic. Continuation and development of this activity give the prospect of establishing a full-fledged university clinic, the first of its kind in modern Russia.

    Data preservation, transition to new platforms to organise the academic and research processes and extracurricular activity

    The Information Technology Service of the University continues assessment and testing of services and software that could replace the currently operated foreign services (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 9 March 2022). The University students not only send proposals in terms of specific solutions, but also proposals in terms of assistance in cooperation in testing and implementation. Proposals can be sent to: digital@it.spbu.ru.

    The University continues conducting events in the sphere of information security (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 14 March 2022). The heads of departments were reminded of the necessity to pay attention to security issues, as earlier, to comply with the instructions received and assist colleagues in this respect.