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‘Working in Academia Is My Lifelong Desire’

‘Working in Academia Is My Lifelong Desire’

© HSE University

Majid Sohrabi is a 28 year-old student from Iran currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science. Before starting his PhD, he graduated with honours from the university’s Master of Data Science programme. In addition to studying, he also works as an assistant at the School of Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence and a research assistant at the Laboratory for Models and Methods of Computational Pragmatics.

With the enrolment campaign for state-funded places on doctoral programmes now underway, Majid told the HSE News Service about doctoral studies and teaching opportunities at the university, as well as the international vibe in Moscow.

Choosing the Top University in Russia

I was always interested in seeing the world, studying at top universities, and getting more experience by living and studying abroad. My journey started from the first semester of my bachelor's programme in 2013. I invested in my language skills, research, teaching, and participation in conferences and competitions, etc. I also heard about the beauty of Russia and its nature, and about Moscow itself. HSE University is the leading university in Russia, with high global rankings and multiple interesting programmes taught in English. I was aware that HSE has four different campuses, but I decided to study in the capital of Russia.

The website is straightforward, and all the information you need about the university and the application process is easy to access and available, which is very important for new applicants.

Additionally, HSE's generous offer of a full-tuition scholarship for the Master of Data Science programme motivated me to select HSE University-Moscow (this university was my only choice—I didn't apply to other universities in Russia).

And now, a full-tuition scholarship for my PhD and a job offer as an instructor and research assistant are a strong motivation to collaborate with the top university in Russia. It is the dream of all people who love academic life, and why should I miss this chance as an international person looking for daily growth and progress?

Some other key features of HSE University and the Faculty of Computer Science are the facilities, numerous international laboratories, and professional faculty members with many research interests.

The university creates opportunities for students to easily find their path and their interests in order to become good researchers.

Making the Most of Moscow

I moved to Moscow in November 2021, and to be honest, I expected very cold weather. But in my opinion, the weather is not that harsh—at least it's tolerable for me. All my expectations about the beauty of the city and HSE University, as well as about the professionalism and quality of the latter, are satisfied.

I like the city vibe because it's alive and filled with people of different nationalities. As an international person, I enjoy learning about Russian culture, and there are a lot of places to visit and a mix of modern and historical architecture together. Moscow is a good place to learn about all these things and enjoy modern life.

The main difficulty is the shortage of time. Working as an assistant, research assistant, and PhD student is challenging. But fortunately, I enjoy academic life, and this is the reason why I overcome hardship in this way.

A common problem for all international students is finding a job without Russian language knowledge. I know Russian ‘чуть чуть’ [a little]. I am attending a Russian language course provided by the Russian Language Centre at HSE University. The hardest word that I heard is ‘достопримечательности’ which means ‘sights’.

Teaching, Research, and Future Plans

My first experience of teaching was during my bachelor's programme in my country. What makes teaching at HSE special is collaborating with students of different nationalities and backgrounds who are looking for daily learning. They are hungry for knowledge.

My research mainly concerns medical data analysis. For my PhD I'm working on neural ordinary differential equations for bifurcation analysis, which applies to blood flows. The student topics that I supervise concern medical imaging, natural language processing, and machine learning techniques. I have been working under the supervision of Dr Vasilii Gromov for my master's and now PhD thesis, and with School Head Dr Sergei Kuznetsov.

Regarding the future, firstly, I plan to defend my PhD thesis successfully. Secondly, I would be happy to continue my collaboration with the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE University. Working in academia is my lifelong desire.

The Russian government scholarship (Quota) is a competitive application process for international applicants seeking state-funded places on doctoral programmes. Foreign citizens, stateless persons, and Russian nationals residing abroad who hold a master’s or specialist degree can apply for tuition-free PhD studies.

The application deadline for 2023 admissions is March 1, 2023. For more information about the scholarship and the application process, please see the university’s page on funding opportunities for doctoral programmes.

See also:

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