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10 universities – Project 5-100 participants –are winners of the first competitive selection process under a priority project “Universities as Innovation Drivers”

December 18, 2017

On 14 December the inter-university forum “Flagship Universities as Drivers of Regional Development” ended in Belgorod.

During the forum the results of the competition were announced to select university centres of innovation, technology and social development in the regions as part of a priority project “Universities as Innovation Drivers”.

The aim of setting up university centres is to involve universities in addressing the issues of sustainable socio-economic development of the Russian Federation, its constituent and municipal entities.

Among 51 institutions of higher education that were recognized as centres of innovation, technology and social development in their regions 10 are Project 5-100 participants: Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Far Eastern Federal University, Kazan Federal University, Tomsk State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Lobachevsky University, Samara University, Siberian Federal University, Tyumen State University and Ural Federal University.

According to Alexander Sobolev, Director of the Department of State Policy in higher education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, “The project was announced by the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation on 1 September 2017. The competition attracted a large number of entries; submissions were received from 121 institutions. As part of the selection process the Ministry of Education and Science invited leading experts to carry out evaluations. Submissions were then evaluated remotely and individually by independent experts. Independent expert reviewers representing both state corporations and public authorities, and education sector held two separate evaluations. The first expert group examined each application in terms of its compliance with the innovation development model. The second evaluation was carried out by experts from Russia’s leading universities, Project 5-100 universities, national research and federal universities. It should be noted that there were no conflicts of interest associated with this procedure as any of the 500 experts who participated in the second evaluation did not examine the programs of his/her university.

Based on the results of two expert evaluations, 36 institutions of higher education earned the right to be recognised as innovation drivers. However, the final outcome of the examination of some applications submitted by the universities was mixed. Thus the Ministry set up an expert panel and these universities were then called to finish the evaluation process with a series of face-to-face meetings, resulting in a consensus expert ranking of the submitted applications. By this process, the expert panel had selected 15 universities.

According to Lyudmila Ogorodova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, “A good progress had been made in the development of universities over the past ten years. Russia has 41 leading universities: research universities, federal universities and Project 5-100 universities now. But these are only 41 institutions of higher education among more than 800 Russian universities that have more than 700 affiliated institutions (branches). A gap between the universities is due mainly to regional issues, To bridge this gap and improve the quality of education, the priority project “Universities as Innovation Drivers” was launched. Institutions of higher education have to become a significant factor in the advancement of region’s social and economic development and a key driver for growth in the region’s competitiveness. There is currently not enough interaction between businesses and universities, between universities and public authorities. Progress in this area should be quite dynamic and represent a quantum leap. This will only become possible when each region, university and business defines the aims of its development. That is why the priorities of the project “Universities as Innovation Drivers” include, firstly providing quality education, secondly, creating innovative development areas in the regions and thirdly, selecting development instruments i.e. interaction mechanisms.”

Photo: BSTU