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The goal of Project 5-100 is to maximize the competitive position of a group of leading Russian universities in the global research and education market.

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Project 5-100 - driver of transformation of Russian universities

February 18, 2021

In 2020, the implementation of the Project for increasing the competitiveness of the leading universities of the Russian Federation among the world's leading research and educational centers, better known as Project 5-100, was completed. It included 21 Russian universities as a result of selection in two competitions for the provision of state support, held in 2013 and 2015. The priority directions of Project 5-100 were the building up of research potential and the production of world-class intellectual products; bringing educational programs in line with the best international standards, integrating education, science, entrepreneurship and innovation; growth of export of educational services and internationalization of all areas of activity; building international brands and academic reputation; transition to international management practices, optimization of the organizational structure; improving infrastructure to attract the best scientists, teachers, managers and students.

Each university participating in the Project has formed a strategy for its development until 2020, covering all key areas of the university's activities - educational, scientific, innovation, personnel policy, management system.

According to Andrey Rudskoy, Rector of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Project 5-100 has become recognizable in the international community, and also served as a driver for the development of national research universities in Russia. “The state support program helped universities to look at themselves objectively, using external “rulers”- rankings, professional and international accreditation. At the same time, Project 5-100 provided an opportunity not only to get an assessment in accordance with international standards but also to see how the other participants build communications and ensure sustainable positive dynamics in the development of universities”, added Rudskoy.

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Success components

An obvious indicator of the success of Project 5-100 can be considered the entry of eight universities by 2020 into the top 100 leading universities in the world in the framework of the subject (sectoral) international rankings ARWU, QS and THE: KFU, MIPT, NUST MISIS, NRU HSE, NRU ITMO, NRNU MEPhI, NSU, TPU.

Compared to 2013, the number of subject rankings in which Project 5-100 participants are represented has significantly expanded, from one subject ranking to 66. This is evidence that Russian universities have managed to gain international authority in a variety of scientific fields, including engineering, computer science, social and humanitarian sciences, although before that traditionally strong scientific areas of Russia were considered only physics and mathematics. Universities participating in Project 5-100 are included in the top 100 of sixteen different world subject and industry rankings.

The general (institutional) rankings at the end of 2020 included 20 universities - participants of the 5-100 Project (2019 indicator - 19, 2012 indicator - 10), including ARWU ranking - 9 universities, QS ranking - 17 universities, in THE ranking - 20 universities.

In general, from 2012 to 2020, the number of Project 5-100 universities included in the top 400 institutional ratings increased from 2 to 10. Such achievements became possible thanks to an integrated approach to the development of the main areas of university work:

- the general vector of state policy aimed at creating a network of flagship universities that can compete in the global scientific and educational market;

- development of research activities at universities: the proportion of publications of universities participating in the Project in the total number of Russian publications in scientific journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection, grew from 17.4% in 2012 to 33.3% in 2019; in total, since 2013, the universities participating in the Project have implemented more than 4,700 research projects with the involvement of leading foreign and Russian scientists or jointly with promising scientific organizations;

- improving the quality of education: since 2013, the universities participating in the Project have implemented more than 1800 educational programs, about half of them have been developed and implemented in partnership with foreign universities and scientific organizations;

- integration into the international scientific and educational space: the average share of foreign professors, teachers and researchers in the total number of university employees participating in the Project has increased more than 6 times;

- export of education: in comparison with 2013, the share of foreign students enrolled in the main educational programs of universities participating in the Project has more than doubled.

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Today, every fifth foreign student studying in Russia is studying at Project 5-100 universities, and every tenth Russian student chooses a university that participates in Project 5-100. The share of young research and teaching staff is 2 times higher than the average in other Russian universities. Every eighth lecturer at Russian universities and every fourth research fellow works at Project 5-100 universities. Participants of Project 5-100 carry out about 30% of scientific research and development in the total volume of scientific research of Russian universities. The share of their income from scientific research is almost 2.5 times higher than in Russia as a whole. On average, there are 3 collective use centers and 25 small innovative enterprises per Project 5-100 university, which, respectively, exceeds the average indicators of Russian universities by 3.5 and 7 times.

How did the transformation of the universities participating in Project 5-100 take place?

Director of the Center for Monitoring and Rating Research of NRNU MEPhI, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Sergey Kireev emphasizes: “Thanks to participation in Project 5-100, MEPhI has carried out a significant transformation of scientific, educational, international, and management activities. This allowed transforming from a narrowly focused, practically closed industry university into a global competitive world-class university. Today, more than 25% of foreign students study at NRNU MEPhI and a large number of foreign teaching staff work (approximately 20%). NRNU MEPhI develops scientific areas that are important for Russia: new generation nuclear energy technologies, intelligent systems and cybersecurity, applied accelerator technologies, nanoscale and nuclear medical technologies, radio photonic and laser technologies, etc. At the same time, the university pays great attention to the development of international relations, including participation in international scientific collaborations, which, of course, has a positive effect on his international reputation."

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Role of Project 5-100 in raising the status of Russian higher education and science in the world

Project 5-100 played a significant role in increasing the visibility and significance of Russian higher education and science in the global scientific and educational space. Based on the results of the analysis of the results of Project 5-100, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation concluded that Project 5-100 generally corresponded to many trends that distinguish the initiatives of academic excellence in leading economies, including stimulating competition among universities, internationalizing all areas of activity and increasing scientific potential.

During their participation in Project 5-100, universities have formed a modern infrastructure for solving scientific problems. Within the walls of educational institutions, new world-class research laboratories have opened, in which the work is headed by leading Russian and foreign scientists. Students, undergraduates and postgraduates are involved in the new laboratories to conduct research in topical scientific areas. Universities of Project 5-100 hold open international competitions for young scientists - postdocs from leading universities in Europe, Asia and North America.

Nikolai Kudryavtsev, Rector of MIPT, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that the influence of Project 5-100 has helped many domestic technical universities to become powerful scientific and technological centers for the training of highly qualified personnel, taking into account the latest achievements of science and technology. “Now, within the framework of Project 5-100, 82 laboratories have been opened at MIPT, whose employees - scientists with international experience - actively participate in the educational activities of our university. This contributes to the realization of the potential of scientists, and also allows talented students to be involved in scientific activities from their early years”, - said Kudryavtsev.

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Rector of Tomsk State University, Doctor of Psychology, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education Eduard Galazhinsky, speaking about the impact of Project 5-100 on the development of the university, noted that Project 5-100 allowed TSU to become a testing ground for technological breakthroughs aimed at solving global problems. Rector of NUST MISIS, Doctor of Economics Alevtina Chernikova agrees with him. She believes that participation in Project 5-100 has become a powerful driver of the deep transformation of universities. NUST MISIS today has become primarily a research university. “We are not only strengthening the positions where we are traditionally strong - materials science, metallurgy and mining, but also actively developing such areas as nano-, bio-, information technologies”, - said Alevtina Chernikova.

“Project 5-100 has ended, demonstrating results that indicate that the President's instruction to build up research potential and increase the global competitiveness of Russian universities has been fulfilled. The number of universities participating in Project 5-100, represented in leading world rankings, has doubled over the period 2012-2020: from 10 to 20 universities. The launch of Project 5-100 has become a new vector in the process modernization of Russian higher education. An integrated approach to its implementation has increased the educational and research potential of both individual universities and the country as a whole. The universities of Project 5-100 have built a management system taking into account the best world practices, carried out work to rejuvenate the staff, increased the competencies of their employees, and increased the recognition of brands of universities abroad. The active development of science at the universities participating in Project 5-100, research on the most topical topics in the world arena, the opening of new laboratories, and the involvement of leading world scientists have greatly contributed to strengthening the position of Russian science in the world. These results testify to the effectiveness of the government-initiated program to support Russian higher education. Project 5-100 has shown that such programs effectively contribute to building up the scientific, educational, and intellectual potential of the country”, - commented Boris Filippov, Head of the Project Office of Project 5-100, acting director of the Sociocenter.

It should be noted that the participants of Project 5-100 were able to form mechanisms for the transfer of useful experience and best practices to other Russian universities, which led to the development of intra-Russian academic mobility, the implementation of joint educational programs and scientific research, and created fertile ground for the launch of new academic leadership initiatives.


More details about the contribution of Project 5-100 to the Russian system of higher education and science can be found in the brochures “Sociocenter”: 

Project 5-100: Development of Science in Russia. Polikhina N.A., Trostyanskaya I.B., Grishakina E.G., Kazimirchik L.V., Baikov S.A. FGANU "Sociocenter", 2020.

"Project 5-100: Development of the Higher Education System in Russia". Polikhina N.A., Trostyanskaya I.B., Grishakina E.G., Baikov S.A. FGANU "Sociocenter", 2020.

Additional information on the contribution of Project 5-100 to the development of the Russian system of higher education and science:


Project 5-100 was launched in 2012 in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin dated May 7, 2012 No. 599 "On measures to implement state policy in the field of education and science." According to the Decree, by 2020 at least five Russian universities were to be included in the top-100 of the world's leading universities according to the world university ranking.

To achieve this goal, the Government of the Russian Federation has developed an action plan for the development of leading universities and a system of measures for their state support in order to increase their competitiveness among the world's leading research and educational centers. These decisions launched the implementation of Project 5-100.

Similar state initiatives of academic excellence were implemented at different times in many countries - in China, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Canada and others, which allowed these countries to achieve high results in the development of higher education and science systems and to withdraw national universities to the world leaders.

The launch of Project 5-100 has become a new vector in the process of modernizing Russian higher education. Other initiatives that have been implemented in recent decades and have already shown their effectiveness include the formation of a network of federal universities, national research universities, and flagship universities.