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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsResearch&ExpertiseHSE International Laboratories Celebrate 5 Year Anniversary

HSE International Laboratories Celebrate 5 Year Anniversary

It is five years since the HSE began setting up international laboratories. HSE’s Deputy Vice-Rector, Marina Litvintseva, Head of Laboratory for Algebraic Geometry, Fedor Bogomolov, and Ronald Inglehart and Eduard Ponarin from HSE Laboratory for Comparative Social Research reflect on the results of the work conducted last year and on the achievements of the laboratories. 


Marina Litvintseva, Deputy Vice Rector

The purpose of international laboratories at HSE is to bring Russian academic research to a new global level and improve HSE’s international ratings in general. Since they began, the laboratories have produced significant results. Financed by the government mega grants programme the mathematics and sociology laboratories of leading academics Fedor Bogomolov and Ronald Inglehart proved to be a success and, as a result, HSE has gone on to set up a whole row of new laboratories. There are 22 of them at the moment and two centres of advanced research, The Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) and the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making.

In 2014 the international laboratories have:
— had 520 research fellows working (362 of them are under 40);
— attracted 145 students and postgrads to research work;
— produced 427 academic articles, 316 of which have been published including 114 in international peer-reviewed journals;
— presented 450 papers at conferences and symposiums outside Russia. The fact that research teams have received grants from the Russian Scientific Foundation is a sign of the value of their work.

Funding only produces results when the team works effectively under the skillful guidance of a major international researcher and the laboratory director on the Russian side. International specialists are picked for the job as a result of partnerships running projects jointly between the laboratory teams and academics at foreign research centres and universities.

One of the tasks of the Laboratories is to attract young specialists, postgraduates and HSE undergraduates. They organise open seminars and conferences and recruit their own junior staff. As a rule, the senior researchers are most active in this process. The laboratory invites potential candidates to seminars, they make joint presentations and only then, offer them a job on the team. That’s how Ronald Inglehart does it and there is a growing interest in his laboratory as a successful working model.

Laboratory of Algebraic Geometry

Fedor Bogomolov, Academic Supervisor of the Laboratory, Professor New York University

Besides achieving concrete results the existence of the international laboratories has significantly raised the level of research activity at the HSE Faculty of Mathematics. In five years the laboratory has become one of the most recognised international centres, working in the field of algebraic geometry. The speakers at the founding seminar were leading figures in our field from all the research schools around the world. The laboratory has been a base and an active force for organising important conferences at HSE and in other countries. The School of Algebra and Geometry for students, postgrads and young researchers which the laboratory organises every year regularly attracts leading international mathematicians as lecturers and is hugely popular among students and graduates in Russia and the FSU.  

Main results of work by the Laboratory of Algebraic Geometry:

  • Over five years the laboratory has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals indexed in Scopus, and or Web of Science.
  • Head of the Laboratory Alexander Kuznetsov and deputy head, Misha Verbitsky were Invited Section Lecturers at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul in 2014.
  • The Laboratory has run four mathematics summer schools on Algebra and Geometry, more than ten large international conferences and taken part in organising many other schools and conferences.
  • Laboratory Research Fellow Alexey Zykin won the Moscow Mathematical Society prize
  • Laboratory team members won prizes from Dmitry Zimin’s Dynasty Foundation for young mathematicians and All-Russian Mobius competiton.
  • 24 team members won Simons Foundation Grants for mathematicians, teachers and researchers.
  • Four members of the laboratory team won Presidential grants.

The Laboratory of Comparative Social Research

Ronald Inglehart, Academic Supervisor of the Laboratory, Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan

We set ourselves the task of developing the skills of young Russian researchers in the social sciences to be able to analyse large inter-country masses of data. From the moment it began, the LCSR became a leading centre for research in Russia on nationalism, adherence to religion, subjective well-being, interpersonal trust, cultural changes, modernisation and development of human potential. The LCSR managed to bring together a group of remarkably talented young researchers from all over Russia and the FSU. Between 2011 and 2015 altogether 41 undergraduates and master’s students and 24 postgrads have taken part in realising academic research projects and have mastered advanced techniques for conducting social research at seminars and LCSR summer schools. 

More than twenty students and postgrads from Harvard, Oxford, Humboldt University, the Universities of Essex, Haifa, Bremen, Mannheim etc, have been to the laboratory’s summer schools and working seminars. This summer LCSR is holding its 5th annual summer school from 25th July to 3rd August at the Voronova Study Centre outside Moscow. The school this year is an Introduction to Factorial Design and Data Visualization with R (- R is a computer programming language for working with data in statistics). You can find out more about the course and apply for it on our website.  

Eduard Ponarin, Head of LCSR, Honorary Professor at HSE

The laboratory has created a large network of international cooperation; about 80 colleagues from almost 20 different countries come to our meetings regularly. LCSR is training a new generation of young researchers who are already a part of international projects and connections. The vast majority of our researchers are under 35. They have published articles in journals like Journal of Conflict Management and Resolution, Democratization, Journal of Party Politics, World Politics, Social Forces, and other prestigious publications.

LCSR Main results:

  • Besides the 45 articles in peer-reviewed journals, LCSR colleagues have published their work in a series of academic pre-prints, contributing directly to research at HSE. Between 2011 and 2015 more than half of academic pre-prints in English on sociology were published by members of the LCSR team. The laboratory is building up HSE’s reputation with its regular summer schools, working seminars and annual international conferences. LCSR is involved actively in devising the programme for the HSE’s April Conferences and organises a series of special sections and honorary lectures. In the last two years, Ronald Inglehart, Eric Uslaner, Christian Welzel and Arne Kalleberg have all given honorary lectures.  
  • LCSR has worked on a number of practical projects. The report Russian Elites has been an important and high profile result, prepared for the Valdai Club in 2013-2014 (see the webpage for more details). The laboratory conducted research jointly with the Eurasian Bank of Development (EABR) and the World Bank on the mobility of pensions in the CIS, (see the webpage for more details). The results were presented at the 7th Astana Economic Forum in 2014. The results of another joint project with the EABR and the UN Development Programme on migration and human capital in Central Asia were presented at the WAPOR and EABR conference in 2014-2015 and will be published.  
  • LCSR is involved in teaching at HSE. LCSR opened an English language Master’s programme in September 2014 on Comparative Social Research. It currently has 6 international and 11 Russian students. In 2015 the intake will be increased. The courses are popular with HSE’s foreign exchange students. LCSR has devised a number of courses for HSE Summer University on working with large quantities of cross-national data.
  • LCSR has won prizes and awards for its achievements. Ronald Inglehart has received two prestigious awards - the Johan Skytte prize in Political Science and the WAPOR prize. LCSR Head Research Fellow Christian Welzel won two international prizes for his new book Freedom Rising: Human Empowerment and the Quest for Emancipation and his world standard academic theory. He presented the theory at the 2014 April Conference. The results of another important book by Welzel were presented at the conference this year. Eduard Ponarin was appointed to the executive committee of WVS (World Values Survey) and Tatyana Karabchuk joined the staff of the Principal Investigators of WVS and EVS (European Values Survey) and was appointed Deputy Director of the Eurasian Monitor with whom LCSR signed a partnership agreement in 2014.
  • Since 2011 LSCR and associated research laboratories have published 45 articles in peer-reviewed journals affiliated to HSE, indexed in Web of Science and Scopus and have published a total of 270 books, lectures and articles.
  • The results of LCSR’s population survey using WVS methodology in six CIS countries (7500 respondents) and in six Russian regions (6000 respondents) are published in five peer-reviewed foreign journals and numerous other related articles are due for publication.
  • LCSR have devised a unique toolkit for collecting and analysing genetic data for use in sociological theory on the basis of WVS questionnaires in six Russian regions (3000 respondents) and are writing articles about it with geneticists. 

Source: The 102 issue of Okna Rosta (Windows of Growth)  

See also:

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