Two HSE Projects Win ‘Mega-Grant’ Competition
A ‘Mega-Grant’ Competition for ground-breaking research projects funded by the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education was held for the seventh time, and this year’s competition winners included two projects that will be based at HSE University campuses. One research group will study dynamic systems at HSE – Nizhny Novgorod, and a new social neurobiology laboratory will begin work at HSE University in Moscow.
Developing a Russian School of Dynamic Systems Research
At HSE – Nizhny Novgorod, a research team led by Professor Dmitry Turaev of the Imperial College of London will study dynamic systems theory and its applications. The research project will be conducted at the Laboratory of Topological Methods in Dynamics, which is based in the Faculty of Informatics, Mathematics, and Computer Science on the HSE campus in Nizhny Novgorod.
Professor Dmitry Turaev is a leading expert in dynamic systems theory who has led significant advances in the field. He is the author of more than 125 scientific articles and two books, which have been published in English, Russian, and Chinese.
The main objective of the project is to develop new methods for studying multidimensional systems with non-trivial dynamics. Due to the large number of applied tasks which involve dynamic chaos, dynamic systems theory is one of the fastest growing areas in mathematics. However, most researchers focus on systems with a ‘convenient’ mathematical structure. Researchers at the HSE campus in Nizhny Novgorod will focus on studying the structures that formalize the dynamics of systems of natural origin. The results can be applied to technological problems in physics, geophysics, and engineering.
The research group’s location is not accidental – Nizhny Novgorod is where Dmitry Turaev was born, grew up, and attended school. ‘The Nizhny Novgorod school has been and remains a leader in this area due to its combination of rigorous methods of topological and geometric analysis with applied research on nonlinear physical phenomena,’ says Professor Turaev.
It is especially important for me that the Russian center for research on dynamic systems be created in Nizhny Novgorod
In terms of the organizational tasks that lie ahead, Dmitry Turaev plans to focus on strengthening international relations, organizing effective cooperation between representatives of different disciplines, and supporting young researchers. He has prior work experience with many researchers of the Laboratory for Topological Methods in Dynamics, which includes six PhDs and seven candidates of physical and mathematical sciences. Professor Turaev intends to also collaborate with and invite 12 additional leading researchers from Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the USA to the lab.
The fact that HSE’s Nizhny Novgorod campus offers courses in mathematics at all levels – from the undergraduate level to the PhD level – will allow the researchers to quickly implement their findings in the educational process and get HSE students and beginning researchers involved.
Russia’s First Social Neuroscience Laboratory
The HSE campus in Moscow, which is an active research site for neuroeconomics, will see the opening of Russia’s first social neurobiology laboratory. Under the leadership of Professor Iiro Jääskeläinen of Aalto University (Finland), a leading expert in the field, the lab staff will study social cognition using different forms of neuroimaging technology.
As the project leaders explain, narratives and naturalistic incentives have not yet been used in decision-making research, although interest in studying the impact of narratives in a behavioral economy — especially when making risky decisions — is growing day by day.
The use of films and narratives in combination with the latest experimental approaches to the processing of multidimensional data obtained as a result of dynamic fMRI (functional MRI), MEG (Magnetoencephalography) and EEG (Electroencephalography) brain mapping, as well as artificial intelligence, will enable the researchers to perform studies that were not previously possible.
The researchers expect that the new laboratory will allow them to make major breakthroughs in understanding brain decision-making mechanisms within social contexts and the perception and processing of narratives (including the perception of false and truthful information). They will also investigate the influence of a given cultural environment on these processes, which is especially important for a multinational country such as Russia.
The laboratory will be Russia’s first laboratory to employ cognitive neurobiology methods in the social sciences, including ethnic studies.
Thanks to the grant funds, the researchers will be able to work with new tools for neuroimaging and computing in order to study various forms of natural social communication
The new laboratory will play an active role in fostering interdisciplinary and inter-university relations at HSE University. As HSE is already an active research hub in mathematics and computer sciences, the laboratory will also be involved in developing new approaches to computational data analysis. The lab will undertake collaborative research projects with Aalto University, Harvard and Princeton Universities, and Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
Over the course of the project grant period, the laboratory will offer eight student and postgraduate research positions and will provide supervision of five master’s and doctoral theses. In addition, HSE students will have the opportunity to take two courses in cognitive neurobiology taught by lab staff. The laboratory will also collaborate with HSE’s English-taught master's programme ‘Cognitive Sciences and Technologies: From Neuron to Cognition’.
An international team of researchers carried out an experiment at HSE University demonstrating that knowledge of several languages can improve the performance of the human brain. In their study, they registered a correlation between participants’ cognitive control and their proficiency in a second language.
On September 23-24, the CCCP19 Symposium ‘Cognition, Computation, Neuroeconomics and Performance’ will be held at HSE University. The goal of the symposium is to exhibit cutting edge research at the CCDM, a leading cognitive neuroscience research centre in Russia, and LNC2, a leading European research centre in neuroeconomics, cognitive neuroscience and neural theory. Ahead of CCCP19, the HSE News Service spoke with the conference organizer and several invited speakers about the plan for this symposium and the importance of their research in the field.
The Russian Foundation for Basic Research announced the results of the first project competition for doctoral students studying in Russian universities and research organizations. Among the winners are forty doctoral students from HSE University, whose projects will receive support over the next two years.
The International Mathematics Competition for University Students was held in Bulgaria from June 28th to August 3rd, 2019. 360 students from 77 teams from all over the world took part in one of the most prestigious student competitions in mathematics. Teams from the Faculty of Computer Science and the Faculty of Mathematics represented HSE University at the event.
Recently the Laboratory of Topological Methods in Dynamics, which is headed by Professor Olga Pochinka on HSE’s Nizhny Novgorod campus, received international status. Professor Pochinka spoke with the HSE News Service about the applied use of research in fundamental mathematics and her grand plans for the future. This interview is the first of a special series on HSE’s international laboratories.
The Russian Science Foundation announced the results of its 2019 competitions for support from the Presidential Research Project Programme. One competition was for grants in support of research initiatives by early career researchers, and another was in support of research conducted by research groups headed by early career scholars.
In a competition for science bloggers held at HSE University, Vladimir Mikheev and Vikotria Zemlyak were among the top performers. The students of the English-taught Master’s programme ‘Cognitive Sciences and Technologies: From Neuron to Cognition’ produce ‘Neirochai’ (‘NeuroTea’), a science podcast. The duo spoke with the HSE News Service about their guests, their listeners and their future plans.
Anna Kozhina, a Research Assistant at HSE’s international Laboratory of Stochastic Analysis and its Applications, earned her PhD at Heidelberg University in Germany with highest distinction and earned an academic degree of the first category from HSE’s new Dissertation Committee. This year Anna’s dissertation was awarded the Wilma-Moser prize, which recognizes the best work among female graduate students in the natural sciences. In an interview with HSE News Service, Anna discussed what made her fall in love with mathematics and how science keeps her on her toes.
A public council for the independent evaluation of the quality of education conditions has been created at the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. Alexander Milkus, Head of the HSE Laboratory for Educational and Youth Journalism, has been unanimously elected as its chair.
Faculty of Computer Science of HSE and Skoltech are pleased to announce the launch of the second joint Olympiad in Statistical Learning Theory (SLT). The competition will be open to students specializing in the fields related to Applied Mathematics and Informatics. Following a pre-selection phase (application details below), the Olympiad final will be held at Skoltech on April 6-7, 2019.