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Regular version of the site

Russia Holland Inter-University Partnership

 Video

Yaroslav Kuzminov
Yaroslav Kuzminov
On the 15th-16th November on the eve of the “Crossroads” Russia- Holland year, HSE held a conference for the directors of leading universities in Holland and Russia. “The Russia-Holland inter-university partnership: new academic and scientific priorities.”

The heads of the Technical Universities of Eindhoven and Delft, of the Universities of Amsterdam, Maastricht, Twente and Groningen, the Open University (Amsterdam) and the Dutch scientific research centres were all there, and on the Russian side, the heads of almost thirty HEIs and scientific research institutes.   

 “We have grown more like each other,” said HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov. “We need to listen to each other carefully and work out how we can cooperate further. Planning this conference we wanted to bring a wider range of Russian HEIs into the discussion about joint projects with our partners. The “Crossroads” - Russia-Holland year, will begin very soon and that’s another reason to roll our sleeves up and get working.”

“International cooperation is often perceived as something we can take for granted and it’s true we do sign hundreds of agreements,” said Karl Dittrich, leading the delegation of The Association of Universities in the Netherlands, and former head of the University of Maastricht, “But the most useful and effective agreements are those between scientists and researchers who have something concrete they actually mean to work on together.”

Yaroslav Kuzminov talked about attracting foreign teachers and researchers to work in Russian universities. He told his Dutch colleagues about Putin’s decisions about a “radical rise in salaries” for academic staff to bring them up to parity with Western academics, in terms of buying power, in five years. Kuzminov believes this is will help Russian HEIs overcome problems with international recruitment and offer foreign academics more job opportunities.

HSE already has more than 80 professors with qualifications from Western universities and 100 foreign research staff. And, another thing, it will become easier for foreign students wanting to study for MAs and PhDs in Russia to get visas. They will even be able to take part in Russian grant programmes which will broaden the possibilities for international student exchanges.

Among the papers given at the plenary session, First Rector of HSE, Leonid Gokhberg talked about the priorities of Russia’s scientific and technical development and “Strategy 2020”. He mentioned that in developing these kinds of programmes, discussions have arisen among experts and government departments about “possibly moving away from traditional priorities to something more interdisciplinary, moving towards socio-economic aims, and the search for technology to respond to the challenges.” And there is a keen interest in building up a solid national programme of science and innovation and developing infrastructure and human capital. Leonid Gohkberg said that in the last few years Russia has seen significant changes in policies of science and technology and we are hearing a lot about “innovation”. Government spending on science has increased 4-5 fold in a decade. But, bringing “innovation” into economic policy is limited by current structures in the budget, the lack of coordination of efforts to innovate on various levels of government and in fact many of the institutions of “innovative economy” are not real institutions at all, but dummies.

Andrei Yaroslavtsev, Vice-Rector of the National Research Nuclear University “MIFI”, talked about the possibilities of Russian-Netherlands cooperation in the field of energy and material sciences.

Martin Paul
Martin Paul
Martin Paul, President of the University of Maastricht talked about the Dutch higher education system. He explained that the high standards of the Dutch Universities can be witnessed, not only in their good reputation and the stream of foreign students and professors wanting to work and study there but also by expert evaluations. At the last rating, seven Dutch universities were among the top 100 in the world. Martin Paul says Dutch academic success is down to the traditions of university education in the Netherlands and the well developed network of cooperation they have in both the state and private sectors. There are already a lot of Russian students studying in the Netherlands but, says Martin Paul, there could certainly be more of them in the future.

“We must make the most of the coming Russia in the Netherlands and The Netherlands in Russia year, to strengthen our cooperation,” Martin Paul rallied his colleagues, “There’s plenty of room for improvement, and we need to lay the ground work for future joint projects in education and research.” 

Sibrand Poppema, President of the University of Groningen and Rob Hartman, Director of Strategic Technology Programme at ASML, (which set up a special fund to support students at the Technical University of Eindhoven) talked about the importance of networked coordination between HEIs and scientific centres in different countries, and business. Hartman said that his company’s experience of working with the Technical University of Eindhoven showed that universities can learn a lot from business.

Sibrand Poppema
Sibrand Poppema
Aard Groen of the University of Twente, agreed, “The development of universities and industry should no longer be seen as completely separate things, the production of knowledge is vital for the development of the whole society,” he said.

This cooperation is fruitful for the HEIs themselves, for business and for the government. Subsidiaries, set up at the University of Twente, proved to be viable and have won awards for their products. The business park which was empty twenty years ago is now brimming with companies and they have created new jobs. So Aard Groen is convinced that universities can not just teach people how to do business but also can play a significant role in regional economies. Aard himself has worked with several Russian universities for more than ten years and he is counting on the number of Russian students in the Netherlands growing, and the number of projects they create growing too.

The Plenary session was followed by group discussions where the delegates talked about energy efficiency, computer technology, educational innovations, valorisations and business development, hi-tech systems and materials, life sciences and health.

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