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‘We Want the Students to Experience Real Project Work’

Igor Agamirzian, HSE Vice President, Head of the Department for Management of Innovation
© Higher School of Economics/ Mikhail Dmitriev

Contemporary universities are becoming not only centres for education and research, but also hubs for entrepreneurship. Igor Agamirzian, HSE Vice President, Head of the Department for Management of Innovation, spoke about the development of the HSE’s innovation infrastructure, about attracting students to technological business projects, and about the master’s programme ‘Corporate Research, Development and Innovation Management’.

What the HSE Innovation Infrastructure is Made of

Innovation infrastructure is a common term for the means and capabilities for innovation, including such everyday things as working spaces. For example, co-working is becoming increasingly popular in educational institutions. But in addition to material infrastructural objects, there are non-material ones, such as educational programmes and minors in innovation, acceleration programmes at business incubators, assistance in organizing project activities, various competitions, innovation & entrepreneurship support funds, etc. HSE has all of these. And the HSE Business Incubator, one of the country’s oldest university incubators, has an excellent international reputation: it came seventh in the international rankings last year, and has supported over several hundred projects during its lifetime.

Why Universities are Attractive for Businesses

Traditionally, universities in Russia were affiliated with industries, but such cooperation was mostly aimed at solving the tasks of the military industry. Today, the situation has changed, and contemporary universities are building relations with private business partners. The Faculty of Computer Science launched by HSE together with Yandex is a good example of this kind of modern relationship with business.

It is essential to gain experience not through study tasks, but through cases that are part of serious real projects

For a long time, there was a dominant model of reactive interaction between universities and businesses, when businesses commissioned R&D from universities according to their current needs, or universities attempted to sell the results of their research to someone. I believe that this approach is no longer effective, and we have to move on to a more proactive model, where the university doesn’t try to comply with certain commissions, but instead understands the long-term needs of businesses, and ‘converts’ them into research, educational and engineering projects. As a result of such projects, which must involve students, prototypes are created which can be offered to businesses. And if we nail it, the customer is much more serious about starting longer-term cooperation in this area.

How HSE Helps Students Become Developers

We want 100% of engineering students to experience real project work. For them, it is essential to gain experience not through study tasks, but through cases that are part of real projects. That’s why today we are launching a pilot programme of student project work support as part of the study process at MIEM. In particular, we are creating a special project office to focus on industrial communication, and to help build relations with our potential partners and customers. In terms of material infrastructure, the MIEM project includes a reorganization of space for students, organization of co-working areas, creation of a prototyping centre and other similar changes.

The students’ potential in this field shouldn’t be underestimated. For example, there is a procedure at the Faculty of Computer Science that helps register intellectual property rights for the best term projects created by students. This is a very common practice on the software engineering programme. Not all, but many of the student projects can be commercialized.

Why Everyone Needs to Know about Innovation and Entrepreneurship

According to our roadmap, by 2020, 60% of graduate programmes will include courses related to entrepreneurship. We don’t expect every one of our students to become an entrepreneur, but we must provide them with knowledge about entrepreneurship technology  which they can use if they are interested. In addition to that, each student should understand the importance of business for the country’s economic development. The culture of entrepreneurship, as well as the culture of working with data, the culture of communication and the culture of project work are inherent attributes of an educated person in the 21st century.

See also:

HSE to Help Develop Legislature to Boost Technology Entrepreneurship

Artem Kritsyn, Manager of regional programmes and projects at the HSE Business Incubator, now heads the Working Group to Involve Secondary and Higher School Students in Entrepreneurship. The Working Group was created in October 2017 by the Expert Council on the Development of Civil Education and Student Socialization under the State Duma Committee for Education and Science. The Working Group also includes Tatyana Stroganova, Head of the HSE Innovation and Enterprise Office.

HSE’s Nizhny Novgorod Campus to Help RAS Institute of Applied Physics to Market its Developments

The HSE Centre of Entrepreneurship in Nizhny Novgorod has started working in close cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) for the purpose of commercializing the latter’s research results. The Centre will help IAP’s scholars market their projects.

How Geek Can Become Entrepreneur: Advice from Uber Founder

Travis Kalanick, founder and CEO of Uber, met some HSE students and told them what qualities a successful entrepreneur should have and why there is space for magic in business.

Entrepreneurship is About More than Just Money

On September 14 2015, Dr Alina Sorgner will give a talk at the annual meeting of the HSE Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Research on 'Does Entrepreneurship Pay? Empirical Analysis of Incomes of Self-employed, as Compared to Wages of Paid Employees'. Ahead of her visit to HSE Moscow, the young academic gave an interview to HSE English News  Service about variations in entrepreneurship in post-communist countries and about her cooperation with HSE.

HSE Partners with Russian Venture Company to Develop and Promote TechUp 2015

The Higher School of Economics has gone into partnership with Russian Venture Company to develop and promote TechUp2015 — a national rating for fast-developing tech companies.

How Can Science Be Governed and Evaluated?

Giorgio Sirilli, former chairman of the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI), is offering lectures to students in the Master’s programme in Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

The Future of Business Depends on Developing Countries

The 6th International Summer School ‘Exploring Entrepreneurship’ in Moscow has come to an end. At the school, students from Russian, Dutch, British and other European universities tried to identify the main factors that will influence the future development of small and medium-sized businesses around the world.

Futures under The Microscope

The HSE Annual Conference on Foresight and STI Policy: Cooperation, Coordination, and Challenges has come to a close. For two days (October 30-31) at the HSE premises at the foot of the Shukhov Radio Tower, signals were analysed that will sooner or later show up in contemporary socio-economic policy and in future news stories.

‘Innovation: Superpowered invention’ by Leonid Gokhberg and Dirk Meissner published in Nature

In the article the scientists compare accounts on the trajectory of innovation in Russia and the USA.

A Bridge between Science and Practice

On May 20, 2013, as part of Innovation Media Day, a discussion panel ‘Technologies of the Future: A View from Innovation Leaders, Development Institutions, and Media’ took place. The panel was organized by the HSE, RIA Novosti, and Russian Venture Company.