Faculty of Computer Science and MIEM Entrepreneurs Present Student Projects in Kazakhstan
In June, a delegation from the FCS and HSE MIEM visited Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, to present student start-ups to the IT community. The trip was organised as part of a programme to develop entrepreneurship among undergraduate and doctoral students of the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science.
Out of more than 40 IT projects presented, representatives of Astana Innovations selected two start-ups for face-to-face meetings in Nur-Sultan. The two projects were:
AI Diagnostic, a project dedicated to the development of AI for the early diagnosis of a range of diseases based on CT and MRI scans. The project was founded by Vasily Vyalkov(third-year student of the FCS Bachelor’s in Applied Mathematics and Information Science) and Kirill Lopatin (fourth-year student of the MIEM Bachelor’s in Applied Mathematics).
GM, a start-up aimed at solving the problem of unemployment by helping low-qualified specialists find the vacancies that suit them best. The founder of the project is Bogdan Chechin (second-year student of the FCS Bachelor’s in Applied Mathematics and Information Science).
During the trip, the HSE University delegation met with the IT community in Nur-Sultan and discussed the implementation of student start-ups in the city’s IT solutions.
The delegates went straight from the airport to a meeting with Tairkhan Dautov, Director of the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at University Medical Center (UMC), who showed interest in the AI Diagnostic project. The meeting was also attended by numerous undergraduates, doctoral students, and faculty of UMC, all of whom took an active part in discussing the projects. The HSE University students were invited to implement their projects and collaborate in the field of scientific research.
The second day of the trip began with a meeting with representatives of Astana Innovations, a key institute for the development of innovation and a subordinate organisation of the Nur-Sultan local government. Daniyal Aitkenov, Vice Chair of the Board of Astana Innovations, delivered a welcome speech, after which the HSE students spoke about the university and their projects.
The representatives of Astana Innovations were interested in the HSE University students’ projects and the possibility of integrating them into Nur-Sultan’s ‘Smart City’ services. Later that day, the students had a meeting with Azamat Baitasov, Director of the Employment Centre of Nur-Sultan, and his colleagues. The representatives of the centre highlighted the possibility of using the GM service in their work.
On the third day, the delegation visited Astana Hub, a major international tech park for IT start-ups located in one of Nur-Sultan’s expo centres. Representatives of Astana Hub talked about the terms for joining their accelerator, tax incentives for start-ups, and the legal specifics relevant to foreign companies.
The delegation then met with representatives of Astana IT University, where they were welcomed by First Vice Rector Serik Omirbaev. Astana IT University is a young university created by the government to support a project-based approach to education. At the meeting, representatives of the two universities discussed possible areas of cooperation with the HSE University’s Faculty of Computer Science and MIEM. The HSE University delegation took a tour of the university’s laboratories, infrastructure, and campus construction project for student accommodation.
The trip ended with a visit to the ‘akimat’ (local administration), during which the HSE University students and representatives of Astana Innovations shared their experience with Dinmukhambet Khasenov, Acting Head of Digitalisation and Public Services of Nur-Sultan, as well a representative of the city’s Department of Public Health.
‘The faculty is only beginning its journey to develop and promote students’ entrepreneurial projects and create a community of entrepreneurs,’ said Irina Plisetskaya, Deputy Dean for Development, Finance and Administration at the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science. ‘The trip to Nur-Sultan was a new experience for us, the first step in presenting student start-ups in the international market.’ She added that thanks to the well-organised programme prepared by Astana Innovations, the students behind the AI Diagnostic and GM projects had opportunities not only to present their projects, but to successfully hold talks with potential partners and clients.
Tatiana Lobok, Head of the FCS Centre for Internships, Projects and Entrepreneurship, thanked her colleagues in Kazakhstan for their interest in the HSE University student projects and for their hospitality: ‘Over several days, we met dozens of interesting people and learned a lot about IT in Nur-Sultan. We hope that this very busy trip will produce exciting results and lead to fruitful collaboration. And, of course, we wish our students luck in implementing their projects as part of Nur-Sultan’s “Smart City” project.’
According to Ilya Semichasnov, Director of the HSE MIEM Project Management Centre, inter-faculty collaboration is a key component of the whole educational process at HSE University. ‘This is only the beginning of project collaboration between MIEM and the FCS Centre for Entrepreneurship, but there is huge potential for cooperation. Engineering projects are always oriented around a specific result—such is the nature of engineering,’ he explained. ‘We can already see that joint developments by students of our faculties are attracting major interest among various potential partners from both a practical and commercial perspective.’
Vasily Vyalkov and Kirill Lopatin, the creators of the AI Diagnostic project, also appreciated the organisation of the trip. They noted that as a result of their meetings in Nur-Sultan, they were able to quickly and smoothly reach an agreement to implement their system in the city’s IT structure at the level of city hospitals and to establish a plan for further action.
Daniyar Kurmanbaev, Director of the Department of Innovation Development and International Relations at Astana Innovations, emphasised that the visit by the HSE University delegation was very full and productive. ‘The students demonstrated excellent IT solutions that will help to address the city’s technological needs,’ he said. ‘We hope that the testing of these solutions will prove successful and that we will continue our bilateral cooperation.’