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HSE to Open Department of Geography and Geoinformatics Technology

© Signature/ iStock

The new department is being created in collaboration with the Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and will focus on problems of geoinformatics, climate change and socio-economic development. The department’s first educational programme in geography at HSE may open in 2020.

According to Olga Solomina, Director of the Institute of Geography at RAS, the institute’s interest in collaborating with HSE to create a new department particularly stemmed from a need for better trained new researchers. ‘University students come to us, and we are very happy to have them, but they come too late,’ she explains. ‘In order to make full-fledged scientific researchers out of students, we need to work with them much earlier.’

In addition, in Solomina’s view, there are ‘walls’ between the geography-related disciplines, and this needs to change.

Modern geography is a high-tech sphere

Qualified geographers should be able to use genetics and geophysical and geochemical methods in their research. And economic geographers should have full competency in and be able to apply mathematics, statistics and probability theory to their research. Young specialists often have problems with this, and the new department aims to change this.

‘Our main task is to prepare educational programmes, primarily undergraduate,’ says Nikolai Kurichev, a researcher at the RAS Institute of Geography, who will head the Department of Geography and Geoinformatics Technology at HSE.

According to Kurichev, the educational programmes—the first of which may be launched as early as 2020 or 2021—will focus on three main areas of study:

 Methodology in application to geoinformatics. This will cover all contemporary methods of collecting, processing and managing spatial data.

 Interdisciplinary studies. This area will involve the study of global climate change and the environment, bringing together various geographical and related disciplines into a single framework.

 Social, socio-economic geography and spatial planning. Within this area, spatial research methods will be used to study socio-economic processes. The department will develop this area in cooperation with other HSE divisions, particularly the Faculty of Urban and Regional Development.

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