HSE University to Open Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology
HSE University is opening a Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology in partnership with the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IG RAS). The Faculty, which will focus on global climate change, geoinformatics, and social geography, plans to launch its first bachelor’s programme in 2020.
A New Level of Cooperation between HSE University and RAS
As Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov noted at a meeting of the HSE Academic Council, the creation of the Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology is a continuation of the long-term cooperation of HSE University and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). This will be HSE’s fifth faculty to be jointly organized by or partnered with RAS institutes. Other faculties at HSE connected with RAS include the Faculties of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and Biotechnology.
Specialists from the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IG RAS) are currently involved in setting up the Faculty. Nikolay Kurichev, a researcher at the Department of Social and Economic Geography at IG RAS, has been approved as the Dean of the Faculty. Olga Solomina, IG RAS Director, will serve as the Faculty’s Academic Supervisor as well as head of the institute’s main joint department with the Faculty.
Areas of Study
According to Nikolay Kurichev, the new faculty’s curriculum lies at the intersection of earth sciences, social sciences, and data science. Students will gain academic, scientific, and practice skills in:
Global environmental and climate change
Geoinformation technologies and spatial modelling
‘Today climate change is becoming more important politically, economically, and socially, but it needs to be approached scientifically,’ Nikolai Kurichev stresses.
The study of climate change should be based on solid science, foundational research, and modelling
Natural factors are very much interconnected with socio-economic factors; their spatial differentiation is studied by social geography. In addition, over the past decade, there has been explosive growth in the generation of spatial data, and scientists must now deal with managing fundamentally different volumes of geographic information. The new faculty will also deal with these issues.
The Role of the RAS Institute of Geography
‘Our institute is 100 years old, but we have a core of young researchers who employ cutting-edge approaches and technology in their work,’ Olga Solomina notes. ‘The Institute organizes expeditions throughout Russia, the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Andes.’
The Institute also actively involves students in research - through research supervision and providing access to IG RAS laboratory equipment, scientific archives, aerospace image archives, databases, etc.
The staff of the IG RAS will form the backbone of the Faculty’s teaching and research staff. Initially, one main department of the IG RAS will be created, but three additional departments are planned for each of the Faculty’s three fundamental areas of study.
In 2020, the Faculty will begin admissions to its bachelor's programme ‘Geography of Global Change and Geographic Information Technology’. The programme has already undergone review by the HSE Curriculum Development Committee. Applicants will be able to compete for 30 positions which will be funded by the university and 20 tuition fee slots.
The Faculty also has plans to open master’s level programmes in the future.
The HSE Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology will have interdisciplinary crossover with a number of other HSE faculties.
‘Just as cooperation between economists and lawyers is necessary, cooperation between economists and geographers is necessary,’ says Yaroslav Kuzminov. ‘But the opportunities for inter-faculty collaboration here are even bigger. The faculty will collaborate with the faculties of world economy and world politics, urban and regional development, as well as faculties of the natural sciences.’
In addition, the Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology will be able to interact with HSE institutes and centres that provide expertise for and implement projects commissioned by state and municipal authorities.
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