VTB24 Establishes Chair at HSE
Following a long history of cooperation between HSE and VTB24 bank, a programme has been launched to fund financial research through a university endowment. This entails the establishment of a VTB Chair position as the logical outcome of this programme.
Alexei Boulatov, Professor at the HSE International College of Economics and Finance, now serves as the VTB24 Chair in Finance. He has been with HSE since 2011 and holds a Full Professor degree, which is the highest one can attain in an international academic career. Previously, he taught and carried out research at leading American universities (University of Houston, UC Berkeley and City University of New York) with respect to financial market microstructure, informational economics, and mathematical economics. Dr. Boulatov holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in Economics, and a PhD from City University of New York in Theoretical Physics.
Establishing chairs on behalf of companies at Russian universities is not a new practice, but nevertheless it is a rather rare one. Furthermore, it is even rarer to see such positions appear through an endowment. For HSE, as one of Russia’s leading universities with global ambitions, one of the prerequisites for leadership is attracting researchers from the global academic market. Thus, such positions can help to fund contracts with renowned professors possessing an acknowledged academic reputation and interests in breakthrough areas of knowledge. In addition, such chair positions are a sign of public acknowledgment of researchers’ achievements. This tool is widely used globally and demonstrates the interest in academic research on the part of the international business community and society at large.
HSE has carefully considered the successful international practice of funding professor positions by individuals and companies and thus endeavored for several years to develop a sustainable model of funding its international recruitment programme by trustees
Eric Maskin, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics for 2007 and Chairman of the HSE International Advisory Committee, notes that, at American universities that are particularly successful in attracting private funds, the percentage of professor positions funded by companies or individuals may reach as high as 30%.
HSE has carefully considered the successful international practice of funding professor positions by individuals and companies and thus endeavored for several years to develop a sustainable model of funding its international recruitment programme by trustees. For example, in 2014, the VTB24 Endowment for Research in Finance was founded as part of the HSE Endowment.
‘We are eager to cooperate with many universities all over the country. That said, the agreement we have signed with HSE is quite a new thing,’ said Mikhail Kozhokin, Deputy President and Chairman, Director of the Communications Department at VTB24, adding: ‘We aim at supporting fundamental economics research and developing academic knowledge in finance. This directly corresponds with the strategy of VTB24’s charity activities, as well as allows us to create a platform for theoretical and practical research in economics and finance. In 2015, the bank attracted 53 HSE students for internships, and two of them were subsequently employed by the bank. In 2016, 18 HSE students took part in internships, and one of them has since been hired.’
In addition to creating an endowment for research in finance, VTB24 is also funding a scholarship programme for high-achieving students of the HSE International College of Economics and Finance. The bank also sponsors the April International Academic Conference, as well as research carried out by several HSE research departments.
The Centre will include a swimming pool, a climbing wall, a gym, as well as dedicated space for basketball, tennis, badminton and other sports. The plan is to build the three-storey venue of almost 12,000 sq.m in under two years.
The HSE Endowment was created in 2007 and includes donations from individuals and companies. As of today, it comes to over 550 million roubles. It is only surpassed by the endowments of four other leading Russian universities – St. Petersburg State University (1.036 billion roubles), MGIMO (1.5 billion roubles), European University in St. Petersburg(1.64 billion roubles), and SkolTech (4.387 billion roubles).
The funding will be allocated on a competitive basis. The first round of applications has already started and will run until October 15, 2016.