Training Research Managers: ISSEK Master’s Programme
Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation MA programme at the Institute for Statistical Studies and the Economics of Knowledge is open to anyone interested in learning how to commercialize scientific developments. First and second year students talk about their reasons for choosing the programme and their studies.
Viktoria Imanova, 1st year student
Viktoria was born and grew up in Tashkent in a Russian-Azerbaijani family, after she graduated from school, her family moved to Malaysia, where she completed a BA in Financial Management. Visiting the Sochi Winter Olympics marked a turning point in her life. She worked there as a volunteer, after which she decided she wanted to live and work in Russia.
‘The Olympics were a vivid example of the kinds of stories my mum used to tell me about Russia. It was a wonderful two months, living with other people from all over our country. After getting back from Sochi I started to look for ways to continue my studies in Russia. I was interested in innovation in the oil and gas sector, as I was doing some work experience (and working) for Schlumberger, in the oil sector. I heard about this MA programme by accident, while searching online. I liked not only the educational programme, courses offered, and teachers, but also the university spirit. I understood that the HSE was my kind of place. I enrolled as part of the general intake, and only later heard there was a quota for students from the CIS and Baltic countries. Perhaps that was good, during the interviews I got to know the teachers and prepared my portfolio, and had the chance to think again about why I want to do this course.’
During the first year, Viktoria switched from innovation in the oil and gas sector to social innovation, as she wanted to help people and understood that innovation can be a powerful tool to do that.
‘I am involved in numerous different voluntary projects, and I want to continue to be involved in social projects, working to change the world for the better, to make it safer and nicer. Volunteering, public involvement, and innovation can all grow and develop together. Innovation in security, medicine, urban studies – can all create a safer and more friendly world. I understand that all this may sound idealistic, but I am confident that when donor organs are produced industrially thanks to 3-d printers, that will reduce the illegal organ donor market. There just won’t be any demand for it. And that will make the world a better place. And if you think about it, there are also other technological innovation projects that will be implemented, changing both society and human psychology. If it weren’t for this programme, I would never have got to know so many interesting people – teachers, and students. In most of the courses we work in groups, like now – Strategic Foresight – we’re working on a City of the Future project, which is focused on everything ‘smart’ – houses, cars, gadgets. Our team includes a linguist, an IT expert, a biologist, engineer and financier. So I can think in numbers, draw up a budget, outgoings, possible risks, while the engineer thinks in diagrams and drawings, and the linguist finds the best words to use to get our idea across to the audience. I think that this kind of mixed group has much greater potential in the innovation sector.’
Gerardo Garcia Manzano, 2nd year student
Gerardo is from Puebla City, Mexico. Before coming to HSE last year to enrol in the Master’s programme in Governance in Science, Technology, and Innovation, he graduated from the Autonomous University of Puebla (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla).
He chose the programme because he found it very flexible and well balanced, allowing him to delve deep into the topics of interest to him. The high reputation of the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) as a leader in foresight and innovation research also played a big role in his choice.
‘I do like that I have plenty of opportunities for research, and there is always a person who can guide me in the right direction. Besides, the programme prepares students to deal with the real world, meaning that they are well prepared to start working as soon as they finish their studies. Many students are already actively working with different institutions’, he said. ‘Furthermore, an education in Russia offers a very interesting world perspective. Many eminent lecturers, experts, researchers, and industry leaders come to lecture or conduct research in Russia. From that perspective, Russia is part of the most exciting trends in many fields of knowledge’.
During his studies at HSE, Gerardo completed an internship at the Center for Social Innovation in Vienna. ‘One of the most fascinating things is that I saw the real impact of the work I did. This was extremely important for me. The environment was very authentic and very international, which allowed me to get to know different ways of working, thinking, and developing projects. I think this is very important in innovation, because the more open we are, the more we can do for innovation’.
After finishing his studies, Gerardo plans to apply for a PhD programme where he would like to focus on social innovation. He is also interested in joining an institution that aims to help communities, institutions and businesses change and transform how technology is used and impact it has in society. He believes that the knowledge gained during his studies at HSE will equip him perfectly for his future career.
Joshua Levy, 2nd year student
Joshua is originally from India but has lately been living in the UK where he graduated from Open University. He applied to the programme primarily because of its ‘research and management’ approach. ‘This program defines and gives an in-depth understanding of what “innovation” is. What I liked and learnt were the tools needed for foresight, simply put, technology forecasting. The research methods taught, together with government and non-government initiatives undertaken to promote technology and innovation, have been an invaluable lesson for me’, he said. ‘Additionally, I liked the opinions and statistics offered within the European, Russian and American perspectives about STI, which were delivered by exchange and visiting professors who have enabled me to get a broader understanding of it’.
Joshua believes that his internship at Skolkovo and the knowledge gained from the course have prepared him for a career as an analyst focusing on Research and Development in the latest technological trends, with a view to becoming a CIO (Chief Information Officer) in the future. ‘Russia is a rapidly evolving country, whose priority target areas are squarely within the realm of STI. I would see myself working in Russia given the optimistic employment prospects I have observed so far’.
In Joshua’s opinion, HSE is a truly international university. The International Student Support office, together with Admissions office, offer several opportunities for foreign students to experience the ‘Real Russia’ throughout the year. ‘Every week, various excursions, meetups and social activities are planned, and all students, regardless of nationality are encouraged to participate. The university also employs the “buddy” system, whereby a group of Russian students are responsible for the overall welfare of the international students, and organize events for them. In my experience, both the buddies and student support office have offered outstanding help and support for which I am still indebted’.