Mission to Russia

(26-10-2017) Nizhny Novgorod - Moscow - St. Petersburg

Mission to Russia: day 1 – Nizhny Novgorod

Successful start of UGent mission to Russia

Ghent University’s Russia Platform is in Russia this week with representatives from 7 faculties, establishing new links and reinforcing cooperation. The delegation is visiting 9 partners in 3 cities: Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and St-Petersburg. Bilateral agreements will be signed with the Higher School of Economics, Sechenov University and the First Pavlov State Medical University.

On the first day of the mission there was a prospect visit to Lobachevsky University, one of the oldest and largest Russian universities based in the historical city of Nizhniy Novogorod, located in the heart of Russia at the confluence of the Volga and the Oka. Promising contacts were established in the field of medicine, law, engineering and economics. Lobachevsky has the 3rd most powerful supercomputer in Russia, which is being used amongst others in the Neuroscience Research Institute.

Ghent University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Higher School of Economics, which has a branch campus in Nizhny Novgorod. The delegation discussed possible cooperation in the field of computer science and economics. The Erasmus + credit mobility scholarships with Higher School of Economics are open to all campuses and will help to establish links with the Nizhny Novgorod branch.

Professor Koen Schoors, Director of the Russia Platform, stresses the importance of cooperation with Russia: “ Both Universities are national research Universities and are part of the Russian effort to have 5 universities in the top 100 of the world. They have plenty of talented people and good ideas. We look forward to collaborating with our Russian colleagues by exchanging students, researchers and professors, developing joint research projects and, where possible, set up joint PhD programs and joint master programs”

Mission to Russia: day 2 – Moscow

Two cooperation agreements signed and well attended event at the embassy

The UGent delegation visited the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, where it signed Cooperation Agreements for 4 faculties: Sciences, Economics & Business Administration, Political & Social Sciences and Arts & Philosophy. HSE is one of the youngest universities in Russia, but already has an impressive track record and is attracting renowned scholars from Russia and abroad. There are 14 Erasmus + scholarships available to put this cooperation agreement into actual mobility flows in the near future.

Sechenov University, the top university in Medicine in Russia, welcomed the delegation for an impressive tour in their Museum of the History of Medicine. The faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will explore further cooperation possibilities with this new partner, and a Cooperation Agreement was signed to this end.

Several delegation members had an individual programme in Moscow: Tom De Moor of the Ghent University Language Centre has been teaching at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Dutch language, culture and art. Professor Philippe De Maeyer  of the faculty of Sciences was teaching at the faculty of Geography at that same university, while Professor Guido Van Oost was guest professor at MEPHI Nuclear Research University. Professor Erik Mannens spoke at the Open Innovation Forum on e-government. This is the main event in Russia on technological innovations which attracts over 15.000 participants from 90 countries.

The Ambassador of Belgium in Russia, H.E. Jean Arthur Régibeau, hosted a conference at his residence at the occasion of the UGent visit. There were over 70 participants from Russian partner universities, alumni and from the Belgian-Russian Business Club. Guido Van Huylenbroeck and Koen Schoors addressed the audience, as well as the deputy vice-rector of HSE Boris Zhelezov.

Mission to Russia: day 3 – Moscow

Innovation on the menu

Skolkovo, also known as the Russian Silicon Valley, is the largest innovation hub in Russia, located in in  a brand new and dedicated campus in the South West of Moscow. A delegation from their IT cluster visited Ghent University in September this year. Today we had the honour of being received by Skolkovo in a return visit to their premises. The UGent delegation had meetings with their colleagues of SkolTech, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology that was set up in cooperation with MIT. SkolTech and UGent both have top expertise in the field of biotechnology, bioinformatics and data science and are eager to explore further cooperation.

The delegation also had the opportunity to visit the Open Innovation Forum, the most large-scale event in the field of technological entrepreneurship.

Another meeting took place at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia’s most renown and well-reputed university. Lomonosov and Ghent University are already collaborating in geography, medicine and languages, but are looking to intensify their cooperation and expand it to other fields.

Professor Koen Schoors attended an economic seminar organised by the New Economic School and the National Hong Kong University and visited the Skolkovo School of Management. Both top institutions are part of the Skolkovo education hub. Professor Erik Mannens featured as key note speaker on big data and artificial intelligence at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sotchi.

Mission to Russia: day 4 – St.Petersburg

New friends and old friends

The First Pavlov State Medical University in St-Petersburg was home to UGent professor Elizaveta Padalko. She has set up cooperation with the R.M Gorbacheva Memorial Institute for Oncology, Hematology and Transplantation. The first medical student of Ghent University did an internship there last summer, teamed up with 2 UGent students of Russian Interpretation. The Institute is the largest transplantational centre in Europe. A bilateral agreement between both universities officialised the cooperation, which could be extended to other domains in medicine such as immunology, virology and gynaecology. A follow-up visit to Ghent was planned.

The visit to ITMO University reinforced the existing cooperation in the field of engineering (photonics), bioscience engineering (biotechnology) and sciences (chemistry). ITMO is the first non-classical and entrepreneurial university in Russia and has the highest intake of MA students. They have a representation office in Brussels and Arezzo, and were 7 times world champion in programming. Further topics for cooperation were discussed in the field of computer science (semantics, machine learning), medicine (translational medicine) and with the Port of Oostende (off-shore diving training).

The mission was concluded at the Belgian consulate-general in St-Petersburg with a networking reception for all the partners in St-Petersburg, as well as alumni and students of UGent studying in St-Petersburg. As in Moscow, many fruitful contacts were made.


Pictures of the mission (all four days)

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