Geography is a new field for HSE University and it shall be developed with a reliance on globally recognized best practices, as accumulated by both the RAS Institute of Geography (a key partner of HSE University in the field of Geography) and several University’s subdivisions. In turn, geographic research will focus on such issues as global climate change or environmental changes (e.g., glaciology, paleo-geography, soil science, and climatology), as confirmed by publications in top international journals made by the staff from the Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technologies and experts from the RAS Institute of Geography, as well as their status as leading authors of certain reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With this in mind, HSE University will create laboratories, which will ensure an interdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge for urgent research issues, such as cold regions studies and research on natural extremes, e.g., by hiring top researchers and scientists from reputable global research institutions.
The applied aspect of this subject field includes the creation of a competence centre for the management of spatial data, thereby solidifying the University’s leadership among Russian academic institutions in this field.
The key objectives in this area shall include:
- systemizing and unifying spatial data at the University;
- compiling databases with geo-data drawn from various sources (geocoding of statistical information, earth remote sensing, crowdsourcing, and integration of open source data);
- developing geo-information systems with the application of Big Data storage technologies for spatial data, Fast Data and Data Mining technologies;
- commercialization and distribution of collections of spatial data;
- applied solutions to assess territorial units for government and corporate clients.
Furthermore, these activities will be instrumental in the effective application of spatial data by the University’s various subdivisions, and will ensure HSE University’s involvement in the creation of national standards in this field.
Also, Human Geography has the potential for building substantial synergy with adjacent subject fields at HSE University (e.g. Social Sciences, Economic Sciences, Urban Studies, etc.) The key objectives in this respect shall include synthesizing the latest theoretical approaches, applied by HSE University staff, with the experience of new teachers, recruited from applied fields (contemporary instruments for regional policy and developing regional strategies, methods for geomarketing in order to assess the potential of local markets and optimize distribution networks, developing methods for location research and analyzing transportation chains, spatial planning, etc.)
Research and educational activities may be integrated thanks to the following efforts:
- Bachelor’s programme “Geography of Global Changes and Geoinformation Technologies” and upcoming Master’s programmes in the field of Geography (with a particular focus on research activities);
- implementation of degree programmes in the field of Geography in close collaboration with the RAS, relying on the resources of the joint department, created together with the RAS Institute of Geography (hiring institute staff for teaching positions; organizing academic and research internships for students with the involvement of the Institute’s facilities; providing students with access to the institute’s laboratories and data sets, etc.);
Furthermore, this academic field will strengthen connections with business and public administration and real-life practices, primarily, through the partnership network maintained by the Faculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technologies, including state entities (e.g., Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia, etc.), scientific organizations (Yu.A. Izrael Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, RAS Institute of Water Problems, etc.), and companies operating in the sphere of geoinformation technologies, regional and business consulting, and non-commercial organizations.