More Universities Participating in 5-100 Project
On October 19, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov took part in a meeting hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets at the Russian White House to discuss ways of improving the global competitiveness of Russian universities.
In opening the meeting, Golodets noted that many Russian universities have succeeded in advancing on global rankings. The government will continue to support universities given the progress they have already demonstrated.
Russian Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov added that the main objective was to improve the work of Russian universities and increase their ability to compete with the world’s leading universities. This can be done by bringing in top researchers, ensuring internationalisation takes place, and improving schools’ academic reputation. Because of the excellent results the 5-100 Project has had, around a dozen more universities in Russia have joined the programme.
The meeting also saw the participation of rectors from universities that participate in the 5-100 project, and the keynote speaker was Yaroslav Kuzminov, who talked about the ways in which the structure and staff of the Higher School of Economics is improving.
So-called megafaculties were created at HSE to bring together sciences that are most closely connected to one another. This new structure makes it easier to search for areas of rapid progress at the interface of the sciences, and this is exactly how the world’s leading universities are developing as well, Kuzminov emphasized. The former faculties have schools, departments have been done away with, and ‘educational programmes’ now form the structural basis.
The number of articles HSE researchers published in journals on Scopus and the Web of Science has more than doubled since 2012, while the number of citations has tripled
The creation of the new and larger faculties with no departments began with the Faculty of Economic Sciences, which served as an example for the others. Only two departments – law and mathematics – maintained their ‘independence,’ the latter of which has close ties to a number of other faculties. The remaining departments have been combined.
Larger, market-oriented academic institutes have largely kept their autonomy, but the government’s presence in the structure of applied research developments has fallen considerably. The institutes have entered the market, and they now receive a high percentage of orders from Russian companies themselves.
Over the last five years, HSE has been turning its research endeavours into international laboratories and research divisions that are managed by a leading foreign researcher along with a representative of HSE’s academic community. One such laboratory is the Centre for Market Studies and Spatial Economics, which is headed by the Belgian researcher Jacques-François Thisse at the St. Petersburg campus. The number of articles HSE researchers published in journals on Scopus and the Web of Science has more than doubled since 2012, while the number of citations has tripled.
HSE has also begun creating centres for advanced studies, of which there are now two: one operates as part of the Centre for Market Studies and Spatial Economics, and the other is the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making. Created in January 2014, the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making now has 27 staff members, including seven foreigners and 11 PhDs, and three of the six group leaders are visiting professors. In little over a year’s timespan, Centre researchers published 37 articles in indexed scientific journals.
According to Yaroslav Kuzminov, HSE now has a single contract that has long been standard practice in foreign universities. Any HSE employee who holds a research or teaching position has to conduct research, teach, and take part in organizational work to develop services for the university. This makes up around 10 percent of the employee’s time.
Russian universities are advancing on rankings very rapidly. HSE, for example, has improved on the QS Subject and Faculty rankings
The Higher School of Economics recruits at the international level, signing three-year contracts with 20-30 individuals each year. After this – depending on the employee's performance – the contract is either prolonged or terminated. Out of roughly 100 instructors hired from the international PhD market, around half do not speak Russian, which is why each faculty requires that every student, beginning their junior year, take subjects taught in English.
What Can Be Done?
Kuzminov believes that, excluding Moscow State University, the chances are low that Russian universities will make it to the list of the world’s top 100 schools by 2020; more time is needed. Nevertheless, Russian universities are advancing on such lists very rapidly. HSE, for example, has improved on the QS Subject and Faculty rankings, and among the 1,500 universities and research centres on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), HSE is ranked 108th by overall number of citations.
In order to achieve international excellence in the future, Kuzminov adds, Russian universities first need to participate in the implementation of international open-course platforms. HSE currently has 22 courses on the website Coursera, and of the 500,000 students participating, nearly 100,000 are U.S. residents.
Second, it is necessary to create a system of our own academic degrees and international graduate schools. On behalf o the Association of Global Universities, Kuzminov asked the government to allow the country’s leading universities to award their own academic degrees.
Lastly, Russian universities must resolve the problems associated with Russian academic journal. Publications and citations have a strong impact on how universities advance in global rankings, and unlike expert voting, this is an objective procedure. Kuzminov also proposed earmarking funds to promote Russian academic journals on Scopus and Web of Science. He emphasized that this work is beyond the capabilities of a single university and must be carried out collectively.
‘Over the Last Two and a Half Years Five Russian Universities Have Joined the World’s Top-100 in Various Subjects’
HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov updated the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the implementation of the Academic Excellence Project 5–100. He also suggested extending the project until 2025 and setting the objective that at least one Russian university be included in every subject-specific ranking by 2025.
University rankings, which increasingly impact both universities' development strategies and state policy in higher education, was one of the main topics discussed at the meeting of the HSE's International Advisory Committee.
The meeting of International Advisory Committee starts December 6. Three newly appointed members of IAC have shared with HSE News Service their views on the role of external consultants in the development of universities, described their reasons for joining the committee and spoke about HSE’s academic reputation and the challenges the university faces.
On October 19, the rectors of 21 top Russian universities met to discuss Russia’s position in international university rankings. These 21 universities are all are members of the Global Universities Association, the main purpose of which is to create a network for and inspire collaboration among schools participating in the widely discussed Project 5-100. Slated to last eight years, this project was established under Russia’s Presidential Decree No. 599, which aims to improve the standing of Russian universities among the world’s top schools and research centres.
On March 18th and 19th, the Council on Enhancing the Competitiveness of Russia’s Leading Universities met in Moscow to discuss Russia’s role on the world academic stage. As a result, the Council recommended that the Ministry of Education and Science allocate subsidies to three groups of universities in 2016. HSE made it into the first group.
On March 3, 2016, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov gave a talk about possible future scenarios for Russia's higher education at the All-Russian Research Centre for Aviation Materials (VIAM) as part of the Syncletos at VIAM series of meetings with prominent guest speakers such as academics, government officials and politicians.
In January 2016, six university research centres representing countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa came together to form an international consortium whose main objective is to develop a strategy for carrying out comparative higher education research in various regions around the world.
Academic and expert in the field of international higher education, Philip Altbach has been made Honorary Professor in a ceremony at HSE. Altbach began to study education in his youth because he believed it was a key factor to bring about change in society. Is it possible to take educational models which work well in some countries and copy them in others without making any alterations? What good are rankings and what shouldn’t we sacrifice for their sake? What gives HSE its competitive edge? Professor Altbach talked about all these issues in an interview with HSE News.
'In Order to Have Teaching That’s Really Worthwhile, You Have to Have People Who Are on the Frontier of Research'
The only way to detect weaknesses in one’s own ideas is to expose them to criticism from colleagues, says Eric Maskin, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2007, Chairman of the HSE International Advisory Committee, and chief researcher at the International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis. The HSE news service recently spoke with him and Fuad Aleskerov, head of the Laboratory, about the the value of other people's opinions, joint research projects and opportunities for international cooperation in our time.