"We are learning that which will be talked about tomorrow"
On 18 April, Master's programme "Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation" for the third time opened its doors to potential students, giving them a chance to meet with programme directors, lecturers, and possible future employers – well-known representatives from public administration, state-owned and private companies – took part in this event.
Academic Director and Deputy Head of the ISSEK Research Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies Dirk Meissner talked in detail about the programme structure, the cooperation between students and instructors, teaching principles and the curriculum itself. He noted that this year the curriculum includes new practically-oriented courses and expanded areas of cooperation with foreign universities. Thanks to this, students of the programme are actively involved in exchange programmes with partner universities and conduct their research internships in foreign research centres. One recent student initiative is the creation of the Innovators Club, a platform for closer interaction and collaboration between students with unique competencies and knowledge, as well as the professional community in the field of science, technology and innovation.
Chairman of Academic Council and Master's programme lecturer Nicholas Vonortas (professor of George Washington University and ISSEK leading research fellow) emphasised from his personal experience of working around the world that this programme is "one of the strongest and recognisable not just in Russia, but in the world, as only ISSEK takes into account the most cutting-edge and international trends in science, technology and innovation".
Top managers invited to the Open Doors Day and responsible for innovation in government, companies, and development institutions admitted that they noticed a demand for broad, but still rare competencies in their field. They stressed the fact that they're interested in graduates and that "students of the Master's programme will not be left without a job".
Sergey Salikhov (Director of the Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation) explained what is difficult and attractive in this profession: "Humanity has entered an era where one of the main products, one of the major competitive advantages, is intelligence. You can copy anything, but it won't be the product that is made with your own intellect... Russia today, probably, is one of the most powerful countries in terms of intellectual potential and this, believe me, is a very difficult task because there are always many subtleties and aspects that must be taken into account. Besides the fact that state management of science, technology and innovation is a difficult task, it is extremely interesting because you will never meet such fascinating people anywhere else. However, the most important thing is that the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation has waited a long time when it would be possible to hire these specialists, because the number of vacancies in the Ministry is more than you can imagine".
In addition, Sergey Salikhov identified a key skill that determines success in the profession: "The skill of a hunter – what you are doing today will only appear in a few years when you will see the results of the actions that you have taken. This drequires some amount of concentration and belief that you are doing right and good deeds".
In turn, Alexey Ponomarev (Vice President for strategy and industrial cooperation at Skoltech) highlighted the importance of aligning together dreams and reality: "The Master’s at ISSEK provides an opportunity to see things from a wider perspective than you see now. It gives you a chance to see what a dream is, and what the surrounding reality is".
Finally, Boris Ryabov (CEO of Bright Capital) talked about the practice-oriented course Business Model Innovation, which he will be teaching this year: "The concept of innovation is not just about technologies, though it cannot exist without them. It is about understanding forms of operations that are quickly and actively changing. There will be many interesting real-life examples in this course that we will analyse with the students".
Lyubov Samokhina works at Microsoft and obtained her Bachelor’s in applied mathematics and informatics at HSE. During her presentation, she highlighted the most significant benefits of the programme that helped make her choice: "Firstly, the most important advantage is the evening classes that allow students to work full-time. Secondly, the instructors are professionals in the field of STI. We wrote many essays and assignments in our courses, and we continually referenced ISSEK staff because it is their work that is fundamental and has greatly contributed to the development of this or that field. Thirdly, various people learn with you in the same group. In my group I study with a physicist, chemist, lawyer and even a doctor. We work together on projects in our courses, and everyone has a completely different point of view. We are learning how to work in a team. This experience personally helped me at Microsoft, where there are diverse projects and people, and it is essential to find compromises and come to a mutual perspective. Here we are learning that which will be talked about tomorrow, that is why ISSEK is at the forefront of various fields".
This time, there were many questions from the audience. So what interested potential students most of all?
Concerning the applicant’s portfolio, the faculty recommended to pay special attention to the letter of motivation but highlighted that “your achievements and publications will be, without any doubt, only a benefit to your admission results.” It is important not to forget about the final and most important stage – a personal interview with the candidate where a multifaceted evaluation of the applicant is conducted and, taking all aspects into account, the final decision is made.
ISSEK is located at 11 Myasnitskaya Street where all lectures are held.
It is possible to participate in the dual degree programme with Maastricht University (The Netherlands) or Technische Universitat of Berlin (Germany). Besides, there are other opportunities for active student mobility. For example, students can intern at Joanneum Research (Austria), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (France), or Centre for Social Innovation (Austria). It is also possible to participate in an exchange programme with Seoul National University (Republic of Korea), Middle EastTechnical University (Turkey) or the University of Bremen (Germany).
Prepared by Anna Mazing and Janneta Tabakov.