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HSE Opens Two New Faculties

© Essentials/ iStock collection

In 2019, HSE will begin enrolling students in undergraduate programmes at two new faculties: the Faculty of Chemistry, and the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology. These faculties will work in partnership with leading RAS institutions where students will be carrying out research.

The launch of these faculties is a natural development of HSE, which has long offered not only courses in the humanities, social sciences and economics, but also in computer science, mathematics, engineering (at MIEM HSE) and the Faculty of Physics that opened in 2016.

The experience in the Faculty of Physics’ launch was largely used in the launch of the new natural science faculties. First, this means cooperation with leading Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) institutions in the appropriate fields. The faculties will include joint departments with these institutions where students will carry out research. Experts from these institutes – leading scholars who do research every day and who are familiar with the cutting-edge advancements in their fields – will take part in curriculum development and teaching.

According to HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov, the idea is to create small faculties, ‘incubators, where each academic would have a student, and each student would have an academic’ and where students would mainly aim to pursue academic careers. Research is the main method for teaching at such faculties.

In their first year, both new faculties will offer only undergraduate programmes. Later, they will include master’s and doctoral programmes.

Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology

The faculty will carry out scholarly research on the problems of molecular biodiversity, quantum biochemistry, lifespan of proteins and methods to control their degradation, intercellular interaction, molecular foundations of genetic information transfer, and managing lifespan processes in living objects. The faculty expects to attract experts in cellular and molecular biology, microfluidic systems, bioinformatics, bioengineering, and biotechnology.

The first faculty’s partner will be the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Alexander Tonevitsky, RAS Corresponding Member in the Physiology Division, Doctor of Sciences in biology, has been appointed Dean of the Faculty.

‘We discussed the idea of the faculty with RAS president Alexander Sergeev, and he totally supported it,’ said Alexander Tonevitsky. ‘In addition, HSE University is a great foundation to develop such a project. We are already cooperating with various research departments at HSE. We are particularly interested in joint projects with lawyers, since the legal aspects of innovations (patents, products) are still in an early stage of their development.’

In 2019, the first students will be enrolled in the undergraduate programme  in Cell and Molecular Biotechnology. It will offer 30 HSE-financed places, as well as fee-paying slots. In 2020, the first enrolment in the master’s programme will take place.

An important feature of this faculty is that, for the first time in HSE history, students will attend all of their classes at the Academy of Sciences: the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry has a study centre. This will allow students to become immersed in the academic environment.

Undergraduate students will attend lectures and practical training in mathematics, chemistry, physics, botany, zoology, biology. They will also do laboratory-based work. The main focus will be on solving specific tasks and developing the skills required for experimental research. Starting from the third year of studies, the students will have classes at joint departments.

The faculty will cooperate with leading companies involved in biotechnology research. Experts from these companies will deliver lectures and workshops at the faculties, while students will be offered internship opportunities.

For students from other faculties, the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology will offer a minor.

Faculty of Chemistry

RAS institutions directly involved in establishing the faculty are the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds, and Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis.

Experts from these institutes will supervise students’ research on topics in fields covered by the appropriate RAS departments; such topics include organic and inorganic chemistry, synthesis and research of new materials, modern problems of catalysis, oil and gas refining, as well as other areas of contemporary chemistry.

The core courses will be taught at HSE, while special courses and practical classes will be held at partner institutes, which will provide the entire necessary infrastructure for scientific research. They will be obligatory for students starting from the first years of studies.

‘One of the biggest problems in Russian academia is implementing research in production,’ said Andrey Yaroslavtsev, Corresponding Member of RAS and Head of the HSE Department of Chemistry. ‘HSE University  has vast experience in such implementation, and together we hope to train highly qualified chemistry professionals who will not only be able to develop new materials, approaches and synthesis methods, but to implement them in practice.’

HSE will enrol 30 students in HSE-funded slots of the undergraduate programme ‘Chemistry’ in 2019. Fee-paying slots will also be available. The faculty also plans to launch master’s programmes in the future.

The faculty will be headed by Professor Vitaly Kotov, Leading Research Fellow at the RAS Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Doctor of Sciences in Chemistry.

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