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HSE Co-organises Floating University

HSE Co-organises Floating University

© HSE University

Floating University is a national project to help students and young scientists immerse themselves in Earth science research and undertake an expedition aboard a research vessel. However, anyone interested in taking part must first go through the training and selection process. For those who dream of going on a scientific voyage, there is a winter school co-organised by HSE University.

This year, the programme was held at nine venues of leading scientific and educational institutions in seven cities: Vladivostok, Astrakhan, Rostov-on-Don, Moscow, Sevastopol, St Petersburg and Kaliningrad. For the first time, one of the tracks was hosted by HSE University. The Laboratory of Media Communications in Education, part of the Faculty of Creative Industries, arranged sessions in the field of science and educational communications.

3700 applications
This year’s Floating University winter school received a record number of applications

The track announced by HSE University was the third most popular with applicants, receiving almost 350 applications. The organisers selected 118 people to participate in the full-time stage: science communicators, researchers, press officers of universities and research institutes, and early-career scientists who want to learn how to talk about their research simply and clearly.

The participants spent three days listening to lectures and attending workshops by specialists from the Laboratory and guest experts. Grigory Tarasevich, editor-in-chief of the popular science magazine Schrödinger's Cat, talked about how to write about scientific topics without being boring. HSE University lecturer Ekaterina Lozovik held a workshop on social media storytelling. Anna Dzarakhokhova, Head of the Popularisation of Science and Technology at the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, gave a particularly useful presentation explaining how to communicate with press services and promote important information in various publicity groups.

Ekaterina Tereshatova, Laboratory expert and editor-in-chief of Direktor Shkoly (‘School Director’) magazine, revealed which mistakes to avoid when preparing interviews. Yulia Smirnova from the Association of Floating Universities dissected modern social media and messengers, outlining which services are the most effective for posting information. Alexander Milkus, Head of the Laboratory, demonstrated technologies that can be used to identify fake news online. There was also a lecture by Anastasia Chesnokova, a Laboratory expert, where participants discussed how to define the target audience for their blog or scientific projects.

The lectures and workshops were followed by a Q&A session. Representatives from different regions got to know each other and built a scientific community of those passionate about the sea.

Alexander Milkus

‘It is important that so many people want to go into science. It is also important that they are willing to learn and communicate with their older colleagues. They are interested not only in working as scientists themselves, but also in inspiring others to join them. Even five years ago, I heard people saying that nothing would come out of the Floating University project because there seemed to be no “middle” generation with relevant experience. And now we’ve got a community of expedition specialists who made this winter school such a fun and effective event!’

Participants of the 2023 Floating University winter school met each other in Moscow’s huge Moskvaarium aquarium to socialise and make new friends. There was also an improvised job fair where universities, research institutes, and research and production companies presented their projects and invited participants to apply for master's degrees, post-graduate courses, and jobs. This showed the participants that their studies were not in vain, that their experience and knowledge would be in demand, and that they would be able to find a job in their chosen scientific field.

Next comes the most exciting stage: the candidates will be shortlisted and the winners will begin to prepare for the voyage. This year's Floating University expeditions are planned to take place in the Arctic, the Baltic, the Far East, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and Lake Baikal.

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