Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting
Activities of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global Biosafety Studies at St Petersburg University
In the spring of 2022, an international educational project ‘Designing the Future of Responsible Life Science Research. Identifying Global Problems − Proposing Joint Solutions’ was launched. It was organised by Anastasiia Malygina, Mirko Himmel, and Marina Dukhinova. Anastasiia Malygina is Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global Biosafety Studies at St Petersburg University. Mirko Himmel is an independent consultant from Germany. Marina Dukhinova is a leading research associate at the ChemBio Cluster at ITMO University. This initiative also focuses on the urgent issues of strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Among the participants are students in international relations and biologists from universities of the Russian Federation and Germany. The speakers and reviewers of the student projects are leading Russian and international experts in the field of international relations and life sciences. The third cycle of the project will begin in the spring of 2023 (St Petersburg University continues the interdisciplinary educational project on biosafety).
Events at the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain
On 17 January, the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain hosted an online lecture ‘Young filmmakers on the historical past: Kantemir Balagov’s "Beanpole"’ by Liubov Bugaeva, Professor in the Department of the History of Russian Literature at St Petersburg University. On 19 January, there was an online lecture by Anna Silyunas, Director of the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain and an art critic. It focused on the life and reign of Catherine the Great.
Protocol on student exchange between St Petersburg University and Hamad Bin Khalifa University (Qatar)
A protocol on student exchange between St Petersburg University and Hamad bin Khalifa University (Qatar) was signed. The text of the agreement can be found on the St Petersburg University portal in the list of Partner Universities in the International Cooperation section.
Membership of St Petersburg University in international organisations
The university’s membership in international organisations is one of the mechanisms for developing academic partnerships. The participation of St Petersburg University in the activities of associations, unions and other organisations ensures: expansion of contacts; timely information about initiatives in the field of internationalisation of higher education and science; an increase in brand awareness; an increase in the number of joint academic programmes with universities abroad; an increase in the number of international students (including students on a fee-paying basis); implementation of grant projects; reduction of fees for participation in a number of research events and for access to scientific journals; and obtaining international accreditations.
As of 23 January 2023, St Petersburg University is a member of 27 international organisations, said Sergey Andryushin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University. Currently, work is underway to conclude relevant agreements with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR, Dubna). It is part of cooperation with the international multi-purpose detector (MPD) collaboration at NICA Collider and international spin physics (SPD) collaboration at NICA Collider.
In 2022, nine out of 27 international organisations suspended the membership of Russian partners. Among them are: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB, USA); the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA, USA); the Association of MBAs (UK); the European Law Faculties Association (ELFA, Belgium); the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR, UK); the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD, Belgium); the Global Association of Art and Design Education and Research (Cumulus Association, Finland); the University of the Arctic (UArctic, Finland); and the European University Foundation (Campus Europae, Luxembourg). In all cases of receiving a notification about the suspension of St Petersburg University membership in organisations at the initiative of the organisations, claims were sent to these organisations about the illegality of their actions. It was decided not to pay membership fees for the corresponding year.
Sergey Andryushin asked the heads of the academic and research subdivisions to submit proposals for optimising the network of international organisations in which St Petersburg University participates.
Cultural events at St Petersburg University from 23 to 29 January
Elena Lebedkina, Head of the Main Department for Exhibitions, Museum, Library and Publishing Activities, presented a digest of cultural events from 23 to 29 January at the University.
Events for the Day of lifting the Siege of Leningrad
The period of the Great Patriotic War has a special focus in the history of St Petersburg (Leningrad) University. In the first days of the war, hundreds of the University students and staff went to the front. The siege of Leningrad did not stop the work of Leningrad State University. Two exhibitions "Books of the Siege of Leningrad" and "The University during the Siege of Leningrad" were opened in the M Gorky Scientific Library at St Petersburg University. On 27 January, a video lecture will be published on the page of the St Petersburg University History Museum on the social network VKontakte in memory of the Day of lifting the Siege of Leningrad. You can also find memories of the University students, staff, and alumni about the heroic days of the Great Patriotic War.
Results of the contest "Wheeled mechanisms"
The contest "Wheeled mechanisms" was organised as part of the activities of the Museum of the History of Physics and Mathematics at St Petersburg University. The results of the contest have been summed up. The contestants had to remember as many inventions as possible that use wheeled mechanisms. You can find information about the winners of the contest here. The winners will receive a gift, e.g. a set of ‘Spirograph’ to create various geometric patterns.
Open lecture "A Chinese New Year picture"
At 3pm on 25 January, there is an open lecture "A Chinese New Year picture" at the M Gorky Scientific Library at St Petersburg University. It will be delivered by Dmitrii Maiatskii and Polina Rud. Dmitrii Maiatskii is Associate Professor in the Department of Chinese Philology at St Petersburg University. Polina Rud is a researcher in the Department of East and Southeast Asia at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The lecture will focus on a special genre of traditional Chinese art, i.e. the Níanhùa folk painting that is an important attribute of Chinese New Year. Guests will also be able to visit the book exhibition "The Spring festival: time for results and great plans".
Open lecture "Wystan Hugh Auden: from Brecht to Horace" by Grigorii Kruzhkov
At 6pm on 26 January, the Vladimir Nabokov Museum at St Petersburg University will host an open lecture "Wystan Hugh Auden: from Brecht to Horace". The lecture will focus on the creative evolution of the poet. The lecture will be delivered by Grigorii Kruzhkov, a famous poet, a translator, a literary critic, and Professor in the Department of Theory and Practice of Translation and Interpreting at the Russian State University for the Humanities.
Meteorites from the collection of St Petersburg University are recognised as a value of global significance
The Mineralogical Museum of St Petersburg University has a rich collection of iron, stony-iron and stone meteorites. The collection includes over 75 specimens of utmost value found all over the globe in the 18th—20th centuries. According to the historical and cultural expert opinion, all exhibits were assigned the first category of value due to their uniqueness.
According to the Regulations on the State Catalogue of the Museum Fund of Russia, there are three categories of value when we speak of museum pieces. The first one includes cultural values of world significance and items made of precious metals; the second one includes cultural values of all-Russian significance; and the third one includes cultural values of regional significance. Svetlana Janson, Candidate of Geology and Mineralogy and Scientific Adviser of the Mineralogical Museum, compiled a historical and cultural expert opinion about the University’s collection of meteorites. The opinion was approved by Professor Aleksei Brusnitsyn, Head of the Department of Mineralogy at St Petersburg University. Based on this expert opinion, the employees of the Mineralogical Museum determined that those exhibits were worthy of the first category.
The collection includes rare and unique minerals from the deposits of Russia, its neighbouring countries and beyond. Among the exhibits of the museum there are fragments of the "Borodino" meteorite. It fell near the village of the same name on 5 September 1812, right on the eve of the famous battle. The collection also includes the "Pallas Iron" meteorite, internationally known as "Krasnojarsk". It was detected in 1749 near the village of Medvedkovo in the Yeniseysk Governorate and gave its name to the pallasites, a class of mixed-type meteorites (Meteorites from the collection of St Petersburg University are recognised as a value of global significance).
In honour of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg University, banks to issue cards with a special design
St Petersburg University held a vote for the best design for VTB and Sber bank cards. The University staff and students could take part in choosing the design that banks would use as early as 2024 to mark the anniversary of the oldest Russian university.
Voting was conducted on the CryptoVeche online platform from 17 to 23 January. The Platform was developed by the Distributed Ledger Technologies Centre at St Petersburg University. It provides a reliable and secure voting method. The results cannot be faked. The centre developed an updated version of the platform. The system increased the flexibility of voting settings and the speed of work. Additionally, the interface was updated.
The students could choose between several design options for Sberbank and VTB cards. They had to choose one design option for each bank. The two best options will be featured on bank cards. They will be issued as early as September this year (In honour of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg University, banks to issue cards with a special design).
St Petersburg University physicists increase the efficiency of supercapacitors using carbon nanotubes and transition metal oxides
A team of scientists working at St Petersburg University and Omsk Scientific Centre of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences has created a composite material based on multi-walled carbon nanotubes and manganese oxide with rhenium additive. The developed material will improve the energy efficiency of supercapacitors used in alternative energy. The research findings are published in Applied Sciences, a Swiss scientific journal.
Carbon nanotubes are a promising material, which is a carbon cylindrical structure created from graphene (carbon lattice). Nanotubes are highly durable and dense, while their thickness is less than a human hair. We can say that these are "materials of the future" because, when small volumes of such matter (only 1% to 3% of the total volume) are added to a certain medium, nanotubes can significantly improve the characteristics of this medium.
St Petersburg University scientists have developed new ways to increase the efficiency of supercapacitors by using a combination of multi-walled nanotubes and transition metal oxides. The resulting composite has a high capacitance, i.e. the accumulated charge per one mass unit. This is one of the main characteristics of such materials. The team of scientists used the infrastructure of the St Petersburg University Research Park, namely the equipment of: the Centre for Physical Methods of Surface Investigation; the Centre for X-Ray Diffraction Studies; and the Interdisciplinary Resource Centre for Nanotechnology.
The findings of St Petersburg University scientists will significantly improve the efficiency of pulse power sources that generate a large amount of energy in a short time. Today, supercapacitors are used in alternative energy, transportation systems, energy storage in households and other branches of science and technology. Increasing their energy efficiency is important for many areas, since the main task of supercapacitors is generation of a powerful energy pulse (St Petersburg University physicists increase the efficiency of supercapacitors using carbon nanotubes and transition metal oxides).
Compliance with the research ethics standards by academics and students
At previous Rector’s meetings, the issue of a court dispute between a former student of St Petersburg University Aleksandra Smikhovskaia and her research supervisor Vladimir Kochemirovskii was discussed. It concerned the issue of possible unauthorised borrowing of research materials conducted during Ms Smikhovskaia’s studies at St Petersburg University. As Yury Penov, Vice-Rector for Legal Affairs, said, the dispute was resolved in two concurrent proceedings. Two civil cases were heard: in the Frunzensky District Court − on the claim of Vladimir Kochemirovskii on protection of honour, dignity and business reputation; and in the Oktiabrsky District Court − on a suit filed by Aleksandra Smikhovskaia for copyright protection.
On 30 November 2022, the parties entered into settlement agreements. In the Frunzensky District Court in case No 2-4048/2022, Vladimir Kochemirovskii:
- withdrew his claims against Aleksandra Smikhovskaia
- admitted that the letter sent by Aleksandra Smikhovskaia to the journal and to St Petersburg University contained no information defamatory to honour, dignity or business reputation of Vladimir Kochemirovskii
- recognised Aleksandra Smikhovskaia as a co-author of the article "Structure of bimetallic tartrate complexes for the rapid formation of new non-enzymatic bimetallic sensors of glucose and hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solutions using laser synthesis", published in the journal "Materials Letters" in September 2021
In the Oktiabrsky District Court in case № 2-3253/2022, a settlement agreement was also concluded, according to which:
- Vladimir Kochemirovskii recognised Aleksandra Smikhovskaia as a co-author of the article "Structure of bimetallic tartrate complexes for the rapid formation of new non-enzymatic bimetallic sensors of glucose and hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solutions using laser synthesis", published in the journal "Materials Letters" in September 2021 and should take all necessary steps to include Aleksandra Smikhovskaia as a co-author of the article (he should send relevant information to the journal; in case the journal refuses, he should send requests to withdraw the article from the journal)
- recognised Vladimir Kochemirovskii as a co-author of the article "Structure of bimetallic tartrate complexes for the rapid formation of new non-enzymatic bimetallic sensors of glucose and hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solutions using laser synthesis", published in the journal "Materials Letters" in September 2021
It should be noted that not all members of the staff of the Institute of Chemistry correctly perceived the position of Yury Penov, Vice-Rector for Legal Affairs: the University administration will not take the side of an academic just because an academic is a member of the University staff. Students and graduates of the University are also members of the University community. Only a court in a disputed situation is capable of giving a fair and independent assessment of the actual circumstances of what has happened.
The participants in the Rector’s meeting discussed the ethical and legal assessment of the actions of academics and students in the course of their joint work. It was found out that there are different options for the contribution of students and their research supervisors in the preparation of graduation projects. Alla Shaboltas, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, said that most often a graduation project is an academic qualification project, which the student prepares with the obligatory participation of the research supervisor.
Yury Penov suggested that in order to take into account the supervisor’s scientific contribution to the student’s work during the preparation, evaluation and defence of the graduation project, the supervisor’s remarks should be recorded in the minutes. Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, noted that when defending the graduation project, the student, expressing traditional acknowledgements, has the opportunity to specify the contribution of the research supervisor to the preparation of the project. Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, suggested that in case of co-authorship the personal contribution of the academic and the student should be evaluated and specified. Tatiana Chernigovskaya, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies, expressed the general opinion that the relationship between the student and the research supervisor is an ethical one rather than a legal one. Each case should therefore be considered on an individual case-by-case basis.
Approaches to the distribution of admission quotas in the 2024/2025 academic year
On 17 January, a meeting of the Public Council under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation was held. It focused on a draft of changes in the procedure and timing of the distribution of admission quotas (the number of government-funded places) for training in higher education programmes.
According to Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, admission quotas are currently set for organisations involved in educational activities based on the results of a competition no later than 30 April of the year preceding the year of admission to study. According to the Procedures for Admission to Higher Education Programmes of Bachelor’s, Specialist’s and Master’s Degrees approved by Decree of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation № 1076 as of 21 August 2020, and the Procedures for Admission to Doctoral Programme for Training Research and Teaching Staff approved by Decree of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation № 721 as of 6 August 2021, educational institutions shall publish information on admission to bachelor’s, specialist’s, master’s, and doctoral programmes for training research and teaching staff no later than 1 November of the year preceding the year of admission to study.
In view of the current regulations, the organisations involved in educational activities, when preparing an application for the allocation of admission quotas for a specific year, cannot actually take into account the current year’s actual admission results. This is because the competition for the allocation of admission quotas takes place before the start of the admission campaign.
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has proposed reducing the time interval between the competition for the allocation of admission quotas and the start of the admission campaign. Thus, the competition and the allocation of admission quotas are stipulated in January of the year of admission to study (i.e. in relation to admission in 2024, it is in January 2024); information on admission to study is to be published by organisations involved in educational activities in March of the year of admission to study.
These changes will make it possible to: take into account the actual admission results in 2023 when preparing an application for the competition for the allocation of admission quotas in 2024; and use the actual data closest to the period of the admission campaign when calculating the educational organisation’s performance indicators included in the application.
Additionally, reducing the gap between the competition for the allocation of admission quotas and the admission campaign will ensure that the public competition for relevant and in-demand fields of study, specialities and consolidated groups identified by constituent entities of the Russian Federation, federal executive authorities, professional associations and major employers will take place in order to arrange training for such personnel in the current year.
Representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation also reported that work is currently underway to formulate criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of doctoral programmes. It has been proposed to join this work in order to formulate new criteria for the competitive distribution of admission quotas by the end of 2023.
Organisation of the teaching and learning process
Over the past week, 24 enquiries were submitted for consideration. The majority of enquiries relate to preparation of documents on studies and the procedures for granting an academic leave.
An analysis of the information on the organisation of the teaching and learning process provided by the heads of academic and research subdivisions has been carried out. Interim assessment is held according to the timetable in due order. As of 19 January 2023, the information was not sent by Aleftina Timoshenko, Director of the Institute for Competition Development and Antimonopoly Regulation; Irina Balova, Director of the Institute of Chemistry; and Anna Germer, Director of the Medical College.
The heads of academic and research subdivisions continue to hold meetings with student activists: group heads, and representatives of student councils and student scientific societies to name just a few. Over the past period, meetings on the organisation of the teaching and learning process were held at: the Institute of Philosophy; the Faculty of Biology; the Faculty of Foreign Languages; the Faculty of Physics; the Faculty of Philology; the Faculty of Economics (the minutes of the meeting were not formalised and not submitted for publication); and the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology (the minutes of the meeting were not formalised and not submitted for publication).
The work of the committees to check compliance with the timetable of classes and interim assessments is underway. Over the past week, three cases of violations were identified. The acts of detected violations have been submitted for revision to Vladimir Eremeev, Vice-Rector for Human Resources.
Volunteer movement created at St Petersburg University Clinic
The Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University has organised a volunteer movement based on the traditions of the Holy Cross Community of Sisters of Mercy.
The Sisters of Mercy Community was founded in St Petersburg 170 years ago, at the beginning of the Crimean War, on the initiative of Professor Pirogov. It was located in the building where the University Clinic now stands. It was the world’s first women’s medical unit to aid the wounded during the war and is considered one of the forerunners of the International Red Cross Movement.
A new volunteer movement of the St Petersburg University Clinic assists victims of the special military operation. Among the key areas of activities is assistance to military medics: patronage of the medical company in Military Unit No 11049 in the special military operation zone, where the Clinic’s anaesthesiologist and critical care physician Aleksandr Babiev is a volunteer (Doctors from the University Clinic are ready to help the special military operation participants).
Some of the Clinic’s nurses will work in hospitals to help the wounded. Additionally, members of the movement will collect humanitarian supplies for local hospitals, where there is always a need for medicines, bandages and surgical kits. Volunteers will also: assist internally displaced people coming to St Petersburg from the special military operation zone; participate in collecting charitable aid or organise their meeting and accommodation (Volunteer movement created at St Petersburg University Clinic).
More than 230 people have already joined the movement: managers, department heads and unit chiefs, doctors, nurses and administrators. To join the Sisters of Mercy volunteer movement, you need to send an application form with your name and contact telephone number by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University staff get a discount on dental treatment at St Petersburg University Clinic
The faculty and staff at St Petersburg University can have their teeth examined and treated by the dentists at the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at a discounted price. A 30% discount applies to all treatments, 15% on prosthetics and 15% on implants. You only need to show your University ID to pay for the discounted services.
The Pirogov Clinic at St Petersburg University is one of the largest medical centres in St Petersburg and Russia. Every year, the Clinic and its doctors are ranked the best in the Prodoctorov ranking, which is based on verified patient feedback (The University staff get a discount on dental treatment at St Petersburg University Clinic).
You can book an appointment on the Clinic’s website. The Dental Department is located at 20/1 Korablestroitelei Street.