‘We Want the Students to Experience Real Project Work’
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.
On May 27, the Day of Russian Entrepreneurship, HSE University’s Cultural Centre hosted HSE Business Club, an annual student entrepreneurial forum. Three years ago, the HSE Business Club initiative group opened the forum as a platform for entrepreneurs to exchange experiences. Now it is the largest student business forum in the CIS. This year, a record number of 1,900 guests registered for the event.
At the end of August, the Centre for Internships, Projects and Entrepreneurship of the Faculty of Computer Science, with support from the HSE University Business Incubator, held the first summer school on entrepreneurship. More than 40 HSE University bachelor’s and master’s students participated in it. The school was aimed at developing the students’ entrepreneurial skills and introducing them to the art of presenting ideas and products.
Over the course of 12 weeks, participants of the HSE Business Incubator’s programme will finalise their startups under the leadership of renowned market experts and attract grant funding for their projects. The programme will be held both online and in person. Applications for the accelerator are open until May 28, 2022.
One of the most popular minors that HSE University students can choose in their second and third years is 'Startup from Scratch'. With the teachers’ support, students launch their own business projects, including startups for the production and sale of souvenirs and cosmetics, which can serve as unique New Year gifts.
This event was timed to coincide with Russian Entrepreneurship Day, which is celebrated on May 26. Forum attendees included not only students of HSE University, but also students from other Moscow universities. They were able to learn about internships in forum partner companies, as well as interacting in person with successful Russian business businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.