Scientarium: Integrating Student Scientific Associations and HSE University Projects
In early July, the Voronovo Study Centre hosted Scientarium, an off-site session for representatives of HSE University student research communities organised by the university’s Centre for Student Academic Development and Unit for the Popularisation of Science. More than 50 students from 10 scientific student associations and three campuses took part.
The meeting’s agenda included identifying the problems of young researchers and the state of student scientific associations, building a plan for the joint development of student research projects for the next year, and forming a community of young HSE University scientists.
Student science at HSE University comprises a multitude of student initiative centres, clubs, and groups. The university offers a large number of tools, support measures, projects, and competitions. One important condition is effective scientific communication that takes into account the differences in student formats and the scientific cultures behind them: physicists, sociologists, philologists, etc.
A few years ago, the Scientarium educational intensive was created at HSE University by the Centre for Student Academic Development (CSAD). This year, for the first time, it was held at the Voronovo Study Centre. Over four days, students and managers met to consider a plan for the 2023/24 academic year. The goals of the visiting session were to prepare the student scientific avant-garde for joint work in the next academic year and the development of plans for joint activities.
On the first day of the meeting, students from various HSE University academic associations got to know each other and learned about the specifics of each project. During the second and third days, they divided into small groups to create plans for the development of their student association, focusing on experience and knowledge in the field of project scientific activity.
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Most of the time was devoted to intensive work, but the evening activities from the Training School allowed the students to take a breath. The activities allowed the students to acquire important teamwork skills such as communication and the ability to negotiate and distribute roles.
‘For five years, my colleagues and I have been looking for a way to gather a scientific student community, not only by developing a system of centralised support from above at the university, but also by creating a favourable environment for the development of independent student projects ranging from popular science and the scientific to the educational,’ says Andrey Kozhanov, Director of the Centre for Student Academic Development and the Moscow city branch of the Russian society Znanie. ‘Live communication at the field session showed that we are ripe for integrating one and the other: to strengthen the “Science Republic” project to support young scientists with energy and ideas from the most active HSE University scientific communities.’
‘One of the important missions of the Centre for Student Academic Development and the Scientarium trip is to let students build a personalised track for their participation in research and scientific-educational activities using tools for scientific communication. This allows everyone to determine their own area of interest in the large and diverse scientific landscape,’ says Denis Smetanin, manager of the centre and coordinator of the projects ‘Travel Grant’ and ‘Student Scientific Event’.
On the final day, each of the teams presented the results of their reflection on their project and plans for the next academic year.
‘Thanks to the trip, we managed to make new acquaintances with people from various scientific student organisations and get more detailed information about opportunities to participate in student science,’ says Anastasia Bochkor, participant of the ‘Science Republic’ project. ‘This allows us to continue to successfully realise ourselves in the scientific field, and motivates us to engage in new research and be actively involved in student activities.’
‘The trip gave a great boost of motivation to develop our student scientific association, to hold events,’ says Angelina Vershinina, Chairperson of the Student Scientific Association at HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod. ‘It was great to see how other scientific organisations live. This made it possible not only to exchange experiences, but also to look at ourselves and our activities from the outside.’
‘One of the problems of student associations at our university is disunity, and this is especially reflected in scientific communities,’ says Arina Simonova, participant of the ‘Academic Curators’ project. ‘Scientarium gave all of us the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities of different teams and with our peers in the organisation. This is especially important for identifying existing problems, finding solutions to them, and building a development trajectory. As for me personally, I talked to people from various HSE University educational programmes and found out how diverse research is at the university: there is not a single faculty that is not engaged in it.’
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