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Academic Council: HSE University’s Contribution to Achieving National Goals and Development Priorities to Increase

HSE University’s Development Programme until 2030 will be improved in order to increase the university’s contribution to achieving national goals and implementing the priorities of the country’s scientific and technological development. This decision was made by the university’s Academic Council on April 26. The meeting also addressed the principles for the development of HSE University’s external communications, one of which is the creation of a high-quality information field around the university.

Development Modernisation

Opening the meeting, HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov stated that a combination of stability and change is characteristic of university life. Another confirmation of this is the Yasin (April) International Academic Conference, which was recently held for the 24th time. It was attended by many foreign participants from various countries, including Nobel Laureate Eric Maskin, who gave a lecture via Webinar.ru. In addition, one of the plenary sessions was devoted to the BRICS development strategy.

The implementation of the HSE University Development Programme until 2030, approved by order of the Russian government in November 2021, continues. ‘The programme was well thought out and really allows the university to develop. But new realities have emerged and they require that we make efforts in other areas,’ Nikita Anisimov emphasised. In particular, the international context has changed, and there is a need to support new Russian regions.

Elena Odoevskaya
© HSE University

The participants of the Academic Council meeting discussed a report on the programme implementation for the year 2022 presented by HSE University Vice Rector Elena Odoevskaya. She reported on the most significant results and analysed the achievement of targets for each of the seven sections:

 modernisation of educational activities

 modernisation of research and innovation activities

 promoting the university in the global space

 development of human resources

 digital university

 contribution to the development of Russia’s educational system, interaction between the university and society

 development of a material and technical base and social infrastructure

As Elena Odoevskaya noted, the efficiency of achieving the target indicators was 93%. And now it is necessary to improve and adapt the programme, taking into account the specified development priorities for the country: technological sovereignty, new principles of foreign policy, and pressing tasks of developing science, education, and youth policy.

The university’s vice rectors and heads of the Academic Council committees expressed their views on the opportunities for improving and adapting the development programme.

First Vice Rector Vadim Radaev, among other things, focused his attention on support for young colleagues. One tool for such support could be the return of the starting grant for those who are included in the personnel reserve and begin working in full-time teaching positions.

The concept for Russia’s technological development until 2030 will be adopted in the near future. Based on the concept, it will be necessary to rethink the university’s scientific policy and update priorities, First Vice Rector Leonid Gokhberg emphasised. HSE University is ready to propose an interdisciplinary comprehensive agenda in which there must be a place for social sciences, economics, and humanities.

HSE University stands out on the global stage primarily because of its competitive educational activities, Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin stressed. It is necessary to maintain this high quality while considering the tasks of science and technology development, among other things.

Vice Rector Victoria Panova spoke about the importance of maintaining a high level of training for foreign students and attracting well-prepared applicants. To achieve this, the university should be involved in their education from as early as the high-school stage.

During the discussion of the report, HSE University Academic Supervisor Yaroslav Kuzminov said that the development programme proved to be extremely resilient in light of the fundamental changes that took place over the past year. ‘We have retained almost all key areas of development and are moving along them even faster than planned. This also applies to economic results: the amount of funds received in 2022 from R&D correlates with the figure that we planned for 2027,’ he explained.

According to Yaroslav Kuzminov, in the next two years, it will be necessary to create additional incentives to retain young researchers and educators at the university, and to develop cooperation with business more actively by attracting practitioners as educators, among other things. It is necessary to interact with friendly countries, maintain relations with colleagues in the West who are ready to work with the university, and attract foreign students at a time when international platforms are abandoning its online courses.

Following the discussion, the Academic Council approved the report on the implementation of the development programme and invited the administration to submit proposals for its improvement, taking into account the new realities. This will allow the university to increase its contribution to the achievement of national development goals and the implementation of Russia’s priorities in scientific and technological development.

University As Media

The second item on the agenda comprised the main directions for the development of HSE University’s external communications. As Nikita Anisimov emphasised, it is the beginning of a big conversation about university communications that concerns each member of the team.

Andrey Lavrov
© HSE University

Senior Director for Communications Andrey Lavrov noted that HSE University is one of Russia’s strongest brands, and that this is the expected outcome of the work done by all members of the university corporation over the last thirty years. However, over the past few years, the media environment in which HSE University operates has undergone tremendous changes, and it is vital to understand this environment and be in tune with it. The brand is facing new challenges, and the answers to them must be sought collectively.

Andrey Lavrov listed the key media trends for 2019–2023, including the decline in the role of traditional (primarily print) media, which is now focused on generating traffic rather than creating quality content. It has lost its monopoly both on content and as an advertising channel. And although HSE University relied for many years on the media as a public institution to promote science and expertise, it can no longer be an equally significant partner in solving informational tasks.

Under these conditions, it is not the number of references to HSE University that is important, but the quality of the information field around it, the Senior Director for Communications believes. In 2022, out of twenty HSE University mentions with the highest MediaIndex, seven are about research publications, eight are expert comments, and another five are about achievements, initiatives, and events.

HSE University publishes content on a variety of platforms, guided by the concept of ‘University as Media’. Communication with the audience is carried out not through mass media, as before, but through dedicated channels and brand media. HSE University sets trends, enters into media collaborations with other brands and industrial partners (in particular, it became the first university producing popular science content to sign an agreement with the Okko online cinema). This places great emphasis on the format in which information is presented: whether we are noticeable or not depends on the way we talk about ourselves.

Work with social media plays an important role. Despite the blocking of large foreign platforms, HSE University has 28 social media and blog accounts with a total audience of more than 380,000 users (22 accounts with 280,000 subscribers in 2020). Resources are being successfully developed for various target audiences: applicants and their parents, students of HSE University and other universities, employees, government officials and university partners, etc.

‘We are counting on the support of the scientific community in the development of the HSE University brand,’ Andrey Lavrov emphasised, concluding the report.

During the discussion of the presented talking points, the meeting participants stated that one of the university’s most important tasks is to maintain a meaningful and constructive dialogue with society. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that HSE researchers’ ideas are presented in the external environment as reliably as possible. In this regard, a proposal was made to create a ‘red button’ in employees’ personal accounts, which can be used to contact representatives of the PR block for advice on interaction with the media.

As a result of the meeting, the participants decided to develop a communication strategy for HSE University by the end of this year.

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