‘Our Graduates Launch Innovative Businesses and Make Science-based Decisions’
The well-developed field of science, technology and innovation supports economic growth and social progress. Large-scale tasks and high salary offers speak to the need for professionals in managing science, technology, and innovation (STI) development. Anna Pikalova, Head of the HSE University ISSEK Department of Educational Programmes, explains how HSE University trains these kinds of professionals in its English-language Master’s in Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation.
History of the programme
Launched in 2014, the programme is implemented by the HSE University Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), a leading Russian and international centre for research and consulting in the development of science, technology, and innovation.
At the end of last year, the ISSEK master’s programme become one of several HSE University programmes to be accredited by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
Who is the programme for?
People from all kinds of professional backgrounds apply to the programme: economists, medical workers, mathematicians, sociologists, teachers, IT specialists, and more.
Most of all, it is popular among those who consider themselves to be managers at any stage of a value chain, from coming up with ideas to implementing them as a product or service. The programme is also well-suited to managers who value modern standards, tools, and management skills in the interdependent fields of business and politics. During their studies, students master four types of activities: management, research, design, and entrepreneurship. They can apply the knowledge obtained to practically any projects that combine both material resources and non-material ones such as knowledge, patents, and know-how.
Professors and students
The programme has a strong faculty made up of leading researchers and practitioners, including representatives of government bodies and major businesspeople from Russia and abroad (40% of teachers come from abroad). Prof. Dirk Meissner, Head of the HSE ISSEK Laboratory for Economics of Innovation, is responsible for academic leadership of the programme. He also oversees the publishing of a series of monographs entitled ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Studies’ published jointly by HSE University and the international publishing house Springer.
Traditionally, about a third of the students in each enrolment are international students. This has grown in recent years; out of the 40 graduates this year, almost half were from Germany, China, Mexico, Columbia, and Kazakhstan. Out of the 36 first-year students studying on the programme, 18 are from Spain, Turkey, Korea, Syria, and Indonesia. Interacting in a multicultural, multinational environment helps to form valuable skills for potential careers at the international level.
What we teach and how
The majority of the students already have jobs, so classes take place in the evenings.
The programme is multidisciplinary: students can choose from a variety of courses aimed at their area of interest and future career in business or the public sector.
Applicants often ask about the difference between the master’s programme and a business school. In business school, you study specific problems. At university, students learn a more comprehensive approach. They write academic papers and complete projects that require them to study a topic, find a problem, explain it, form a research question and find science-based solutions. Students learn both about the structure of corporate business and about the corresponding government policies on science, technology, and innovation that create specific financial and legal conditions.
There are core courses that provide a base set of knowledge and competencies for management in science, technology, and innovation: ‘Scientific Research Methods for STI’, ‘Economics of Innovation’, ‘Innovation Strategies’, ‘Innovation Project Management’, ‘STI Policy’, ‘Measurement of STI’, ‘From Digital Trends to Strategy Development’, ‘Responsible Business and Sustainable Development’, and ‘Theories and Conceptions of Foresight’.
Elective courses include ‘Strategic R&D Partnerships’, ‘Intellectual Property Management’, ‘Managing Creativity and Innovation’, ‘Industry 4.0’, ‘Technology Assessment’, ‘The Future of Energy’, ‘Corporate Foresight’, and more.
In addition to providing a theoretical foundation, students also get a lot of practice. There is a mandatory internship that takes into account the needs and expectations of students in terms of their future careers. Students have opportunities to learn research skills in subdivisions, two ISSEK international labs (the Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies and the Laboratory for Economics of Innovation, where students are mentored by famous Russian and international researchers), and in other research organisations. The Institute involves master’s students in its research projects through paid internships, actively supports various kinds of participation in international conferences, and provides assistance in preparing publications for leading Russian and international journals. If students choose the entrepreneurial path, then they can gain practical experience in companies too.
Over the course of two years, students also improve their language abilities every day thanks to the programme’s English-language instruction. Successful applicants do not need to have flawless English—what’s important is that their level is sufficient to understand and follow the curriculum.
Graduates of the programme are sought after in research institutes, universities, and major companies. They independently launch innovative businesses and make science-based decisions. Detailed statistics on the career trajectories of the programme’s graduates can be found on the main page of the programme website.
Those who go on to find employment as HSE University staff have opportunities for internships and other forms of career growth.
After graduating from the Master’s, the most motivated graduates can apply to one of HSE University’s doctoral schools in related specialist fields in sociology, economics, management, and public administration, and also continue their work as ISSEK staff. For example, five years ago, our graduate Valeriya Vlasova chose to continue working in the research laboratory while simultaneously doing a doctoral programme. Last year, she successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and is now Head of the Unit for Innovation Research at the ISSEK Centre for Statistics and Monitoring.
Many alumni from different years remain involved with their alma mater, both by giving guest lectures and by participating in the mentorship programme to help first-year students adapt to the study process.
How can I apply to the programme?
Collect the required documents: an admission application and portfolio, including a motivation letter written in English.
Submit the documents by July 26. There are three ways to do this: online; by bringing the documents in person to the HSE University Admissions Committee; or sending them by post.
Prepare for the face-to-face interview. You will be sent an invitation to the interview after your documents have been received.
Pass the interview with good results. The interview will last around half an hour.
Portfolios are assessed according to the following criteria: motivation (35 points); education and personal achievements (35 points); knowledge of English (20 points); history of publications, grants, participation in research projects, and presentations at conferences (5 points); TOEFL/IELTS certificate (5 points).
Advice for applicants
Carefully check the admission requirements on the programme website.
Include in your portfolio any documents that best reflect your abilities and achievements: diplomas, certificates, publications.
In your motivation letter, make sure to clearly explain why you are applying to this programme specifically.
Try to demonstrate a strong level of English ability.
In the interview, avoid general-sounding phrases about HSE University and the programme. You should convince the Committee that this programme is uniquely suitable for you and your future career.