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  • 30 Декабря 2011
    The Federal University: first results

    Kantiana: It has been a year since, according to a decree of the Government of the Russian Federation, our university became federal. Prof. Klemeshev, how would you describe the performance of our university in 2011?

    Kantiana: It has been a year since, according to a decree of the Government of the Russian Federation, our university became federal. Prof. Klemeshev, how would you describe the performance of our university in 2011?

    Prof. Klemeshsev: The outgoing year is a major landmark in the history of university. This year, we started the implementation of the Programme for the development of the federal university approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. The text of the programme is available for a wider audience, anyone can get acquainted with its target indicators, on the basis to which our founder will assess our development.

    Substantial funding - namely 1 bln roubles – was allocated for university modernisation, but we received it only this summer. Money must have been spent this very year and most efficiently at that. And today, when there are mere days until the end of the year, I can say that we have accomplished successfully all tasks set in the development programme for 2011.

    I would like to present some qualitative indicators. This year, the major task was to encourage the academic, research, and administrative staff to participate in project activities.

    As a result, 293 projects have been implemented involving 823 member of the staff – academic staff account for 67% of this number. It is almost 50% of the university’s academic staff. 247 members of the academic staff have undertaken advanced training at the leading national and international research centres. 289 people have seized the opportunity to learn foreign languages in the framework of the programme on a non-fee paying basis. The income of academic staff members participating in the projects has increased, on the average, by 70%; however, the differentiation is quite significant depending on the project nature.

    The university library has purchased access to full-text versions of almost 20,000 research journals and approximately 1.5 mln master’s and doctoral theses, as well as to unique scientometric resources, which index daily more than 30,000 research publications throughout the world. In effect, an information base of the level of leading national and international research institutions has been already developed at the university.

    Significant attention is being paid to the development of new educational programmes (EPs). 32 EPs have been introduced this year, the share of master’s programmes has increased to 30%. Of special importance are the reviews of external experts on the organisation of each EP. Of course, not all our projects have received high acclaim, but many EPs were considered by experts as meeting European standards.

    The implementation of educational and research projects has required efforts of not only the staff of the university. More than 70 employees of other universities and academic institutions have participated in the projects on a provisional basis, 47 specialists have been employed on a permanent basis, including a group of experts on applied mathematics. They formed the core of the Research Institute of Applied Informatics and Mathematical Geophysics, the team has already received a substantial grant for research. Moreover, it is planned to involve them into teaching at the university and the recently established physics and mathematical school.

    The laboratory base of the university is developing rapidly. Research equipment worth 300,000 mln roubels has been purchased over a short period. It is meant, first of all, for the implementation of priority areas of university development.

    Of course, we cannot develop without an upgraded infrastructure. At the moment, more than 10,000 sq. km. of university premises are undergoing repair works; 350 mln roubles have been allocated for this activity. It is a large scale and complicated process, since it is taking place simultaneously with training. We are grateful to our students and academic staff for their understanding of the difficulties, without which successful implementation of this initiative would be impossible.

    For the first time, we have invested substantial resources into the modernisation of our halls of residence. Unfortunately, we cannot construct new buildings over a short period, but the reconstruction of existing ones will make it possible to improve the residential conditions substantially. This initiative will be continued.

    We have also done a lot for the development of faculties. The youngest faculty with the most complicated infrastructure – the Faculty of Medicine – enjoys a new training and laboratory building. The building houses the dissecting room, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the faculty.

    The social structure of the university is also developing: this year has seen the establishment of an outpatient hospital at the university, which will start operating in the near future. The development programme set us a task of merging with two colleges – the technical and urban development ones. As of today, all the conditions have been created so that the colleges become an integral part of the university as early as the next year.

    However, the first year of functioning of the federal university foregrounded a number of difficulties and even problems. Firstly, there is increasing pressure on certain – for instance, administrative – structures. Next year, we will pay more attention to the reorganisation of university’s administration system, first of all, function redistribution. Secondly, it is the university structure falling far short of modern standards. Today, we are preparing the materials that will underlie the modernisation project aimed at the transitions to institute system. Thirdly, probably the greatest challenge is the need to encourage large-scale participation of the academic staff in the programme development. It is not an easy task; certain differentiation is evident – some members of the staff participate actively and put a lot of effort, and we stimulate them financially, the others prefer to remain aloof.

    The changes taking place at the university are probably not that evident, but, nevertheless, considerable. The high rate of changes in all university spheres was emphasised by the experts of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation who had arrived to monitor the implementation of the development programme – Leonid A. Weissberg, corresponding fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences, president of the research and manufacturing corporation Mekhanobr, and Vladimir A. Bespalov, first vice-rector of the National Research University of Electronic Technology. As the rector of IKBFU, I was pleased that the development of the federal university over the first year had been assessed as well performing.

    The next year will not be easy due to several reasons. We are being affected by the global scale events. Significant changes in the Government of the Russian are expected next year. Probably, the changes will also affect the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and, hence, the federal universities. Hopefully, these transformations will not change the policy of support for national research and federal universities and the policy in the field of education modernisation will be consistent. I also hope that regional support for higher education will maintain its high level.

    In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the university staff for their commitment to the university, research, and education. We are entering the new year with renewed vigour, new projects, and hopes for development. I wish all of us good health, happiness, peace, optimism, and determination. May the new year bring joy and warmth to every home!