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7. Research and Development: Interdisciplinary Approach, Partnerships and Integration

The following trends will become key features of HSE University’s research activities with the new stage of its development:  

  • implementation of a proactive innovative research agenda in the context of global challenges and due consideration of national interests;
  • development of partnerships and contemporary forms of research organization;
  • boosting research productivity and performance;
  • knowledge valorization, dissemination of research outcomes, developing and monitoring the implementation of socio-economic policy measures.

7.1. Supporting Priority Areas of Development

As it grows as a multidisciplinary research centre, the University will continue to emphasize priority fields, which will include: sustainable social development, enhancing the quality of human (knowledge) capital, contributing to the welfare of the population along with reducing poverty and inequality, macroeconomic research, cognitive neuroscience and neurotechnology, scientific and technological development accompanied by the digital transformation of economy, effective state governance, increasing socio-economic returns on education, Big Data and machine learning, as well as “Internet of Things” engineering.

HSE University will establish clusters with high-tech equipment and high-speed Big Data processing for natural and cognitive sciences, which will ensure studies in cutting-edge industries and global science, while also becoming a key centre for international collaboration.

In turn, several fields will be included in comprehensive research and technological programmes.

In terms of tools and infrastructure for Big Data analysis, HSE University will provide all research teams with computational capabilities with common access, including as part of the initiative to build the supercomputer cluster at the University.

With respect to the humanities and socio-economic sciences, HSE University will provide support to international comparative projects (primarily, empirical studies).

Mega-science tools in socio-economic sciences will be ensured through further development of Big Data monitoring and analysis, with the outcomes accessible via “supplemental tools” (i.e., open to modifications by external researchers). HSE University will also take leading positions among universities of continental Europe, as well as Post-Soviet countries, in terms of its use of advanced tools in sociological studies, including in information environments and social media.

Concerning natural and engineering sciences, along with using the equipment available at the RAS partner institutes, HSE University will create its own advanced equipment base to become better embedded in the networks of division of labour in scientific community (e.g., as part of measures aimed at updating the scholarly equipment base as foreseen by the National Project “Science”).

7.2. Structure, Resources, and Tools

In the framework of the HSE Basic Research Programme, HSE University will continue to advance research with due regard to trends in global science. This HSE Basic Research Programme is coordinated by the relevant Management Committee and engages numerous independent world-class experts representing the Russian Academy of Sciences and other leading global research centres. High-performance tools, which have been developed under HSE Basic Research Programme, will continue to be employed (supporting and launching international laboratories, activities of research and study laboratories, supporting core academic institutes and centres, conducting empirical research). The HSE University’s project “International Laboratories and Centres for Advanced Studies”, which has been carried out at HSE University since 2010, has been recognized as successful in establishing high-quality interdisciplinary research schools, ensuring the continuity of scientific knowledge and involvement in the advanced international research projects, as well as promoting the University’s rise in international rankings (in Mathematics, Sociology and Computer Sciences).

The following events are slated for the next stage of the international laboratories’ development:

  • launching clusters in natural sciences and research centres for major international projects;
  • conducting interdisciplinary research integrated with global agenda for monitoring studies;
  • promoting joint research and education projects with regional universities and research centres.

Certain other tools (including the operations of research groups at faculties and laboratories at the HSE Centre for Basic Research) shall be revised and streamlined with due consideration of a new pattern for organizing research at the Faculty level, along with delegating resources to departments and schools.

The research management model at HSE University will be designed so as to make each research project an investment with anticipated returns manifested in enhanced academic reputation (e.g., publications in international journals and citation rates), new teams of prospective researchers, value-added deliverables, and significant social impact.

HSE University will be focused on diversifying its research structure: fields like Mathematics, Computer and Natural Sciences can account for 20–25% of the University’s research budget by 2024, and in 2030 — up to 30–35% (including interdisciplinary projects). A broader research agenda will be instrumental for acquisition of new research competencies and finding solutions to interdisciplinary tasks, e.g., through launching new international laboratories following open competitions.

Furthermore, the University will design comprehensive research and technological programmes responding to major challenges (e.g., poverty and inequality reduction, sustainable social and economic development, etc.) Programmes will be interdisciplinary in nature and based both on fundamental and applied R&D efforts. In turn, a respective International Advisory Committee will be established for each programme in order to provide recommendations in regard to topic-related, HR and organizational programme development, as well as selection of projects, assessment of results, academic mobility of programme participants, the organization of doctoral schools and MSc programmes therein.

Authorities relating to basic research administration will be, in part, delegated to international advisory committees.

It is expected that, by 2024, up to 25% of funds for the implementation of comprehensive research and technological programmes will be allocated by the University for the development of basic research and exploratory projects, with this figure reaching 50% by 2030.

Based on the experience gained in the course of expert and analytical works, as well as its research potential and comprehensive R&D programmes, the University will retain its positions as the national leader in the development of socio-economic policy measures at the federal and regional level, with the overarching aim of attaining national development goals and contributing to Russia’s prosperity.

HSE University will continue to launch world-class centres of excellence on the basis of research teams in Basic Mathematics, Education, Cognitive Sciences, Foresight Studies, and Social Politics. One of the key priorities in these fields will be creating and establishing globally recognized research schools at the University. Such teams will ensure the University’s leading positions and competitive advantages in the global academic community, as well as act as centres for maintaining and advancing research competencies for all scholars in Russia.

Departments and schools will receive up to 25% of the revenues gained by faculties from their promotion of research, as well as staff and student academic mobility. Furthermore, departments and schools will become centres for coordination and discussion of research in various fields (a respective department’s joint research seminars and research projects, series of preprints of reports/articles, independent projects, focused on the popularization of research). In addition, at least 15% of faculties’ funds will be earmarked for financing interdisciplinary research and academic mobility for research teams.

HSE University will expand its range of the Master’s programmes offered at research subdivisions in order to facilitate students’ involvement in basic and applied research, as well as integration of research findings into educational programmes.

The University will promote competitive mechanisms for providing support to project teams and research laboratories, including research and international efforts, as well as the framework for involvement of young researchers in major research projects: the total number of projects implemented, predominantly, by young researchers will double by 2024.

Within the framework of HSE Academic Fund, HSE University will expand its system of grant support for initiated research projects and academic mobility.

In addition, the University will set up a base of programme libraries, as well as the unified R&D archives with the aim of boosting the efficiency of comprehensive research, engineering and expert projects. Services for attracting research grants and identifying competitions for financing research projects with the option of providing relevant information to staff, along with a blockchain-platform to keep track of and promote the University’s research outcomes, will be created within the framework of information infrastructure and digital services development.

Such services and the centralized system for organizational and methodological support are expected to serve as a framework for boosting independent activities of HSE University’s researchers on the R&D market, both before the project launch and while carrying it out.

7.3. Incentivizing Scientific Output and Research Efficiency

The University will develop tools for both medium- and long-term planning of scientific activities, specifically, academic bonuses and grants provided for 3 to 5 years.

Integrated scientific and technological programmes, which are currently being designed, will bring about an increase in scientific output, owing to the enhancement of variation in scientific and technological products coupled with the crucial role of intellectual property.

This growth will be further catalyzed by system and infrastructural transformations, including concentrating financial resources on new projects in advanced fields, incentivizing cross-disciplinary studies, clustering research equipment and facilities, its replenishment and further inclusion in research networks. Cooperation between researchers from various academic disciplines, with the aim of conducting cross-disciplinary research, will be fostered through both major integrated scientific and technological programmes already in place at the University, along with a special programme aimed at supporting cross-Faculty initiatives put forward under the HSE Academic Fund Programme.

For performance evaluation of research subdivisions, project groups and researchers, the University will adopt certain tools, including scientific performance analysis and expert evaluation (taking into account the diversification of respective research fields).

7.4. Promotion of HSE University’s Research Outcomes

At present, the University possesses a unique bank of social and economic studies. This is expected to become a tool for world-class mega-science: thus, compilations of empirical data made available at the University will lay the groundwork for international comparative studies and formulation of evidential recommendations for policy makers in social and economic spheres. Open data will be made accessible for Russian and international researchers.

All University’s academic journals will have international editorial boards, with full versions being published in both Russian and English, be indexed in international databases and feature a high impact factor: at least 5 journals put out by the University will be placed in the first two quartiles in their subject fields by 2024, and 10 journals - by 2030; by 2024, international academic journals will be established jointly with world-leading universities, including institutions in the BRICS countries.

Development of international scholarly cooperation, participation in scientific collaborations and comparative studies will allow to significantly boost the number of the University’s researchers sitting on the editorial boards of top Russian and international journals.

The University will give impetus to the adoption of digital technologies throughout academia, scientific and methodological support for regional universities through programmes for recruitment of regional postdocs for project work at HSE University, mirror laboratories, support of regional authors and other tools for developing academic competencies, as well as creating open information space, piloting new digital technologies and tools for further dissemination of best practices.

7.5. Expert and Analytical Work

HSE University directly provides expert and analytical support for the Government of the Russian Federation, the Executive Office of the Russian President, the Federal Assembly, federal ministries and agencies in their activities by way of drafting practical analytics with respect to current issues related to Russia’s social and economic development (as initiated by the University or upon request), participating in expert, advisory and consultative units by the specified government bodies, as well as conducting applied R&D works for the Government of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Executive Office.

The following key areas of expert and analytical work carried out by the University:

  • significant extension of subject areas whereby the University is able to conduct applied research, as requested by the Government of the Russian Federation and the Executive Office of the President (e.g., formulating a broader understanding of topics related to the digital transformation of national administration and regulation, economics and social relations; research into the country’s defence and security matters; works meeting today’s challenges in social and regional development, etc.);
  • adjusting the formats for working with the client, i.e., not only drafting reports and analytical notes, but also providing regular expert support and reaction consultations in regard to relevant issues, as well as writing up draft resolutions, official assignments, and potential laws and regulations;
  • enhancement of research content by practical evaluation of current and forecast responses, from various social groups to pending proposals; identifying the maximal reference international experience (with the search outside the English-speaking world becoming more frequent than the one within it) with involvement of specialists in fields under analysis (native speakers, etc.);
  • establishing a closer link between fundamental theoretical studies, applied research and specific practical proposals with regard to the matters under analysis.

The key tool for developing expert and analytical work is applied research for the Government of the Russian Federation, the Executive Office of the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Executive Office of the Russian President. In 2024, 56 studies and 190 analytical notes are expected to be released, while in 2030 – 62 studies and 210 analytical notes, respectively.  

7.6. Knowledge Valorization and Promotion of R&D Outcomes

For the research outcomes to be implemented in the national economy and within the social sphere, they will require a winning presentation and concentration of additional resources for promoting key University’s products and developments (e.g., commercial proposals, marketing materials, data interfaces, web portals, etc.)

HSE University will solidify its position on the market for research and engineering services, while also boosting the revenue generated from such activities, thanks to widening the scope and diversifying its research; consolidation of various fields, including basic, exploratory, and applied research; technical, innovative, expert/analytical and other project-based activities; designing a support system and incentivizing research subdivisions and individual researchers to take part in applied research, including special university programmes and through the Foundation for Applied Research Development (with the provisions made for building talent pools for applied research and expert and analytical work).

HSE University will arrange a belt of innovative companies linked with the University in terms of aligned research fields, through collaborations and partnerships, which will contribute to commercialization of technologies, offer opportunities to gain hands-on experience, and further develop additional marketing and entrepreneurial competencies in learners. 

In turn, the University will remain a key platform for discussions of national priorities and the country’s developmental strategy, as well as a centre for scientific audit and social and economic policy monitoring.

7.7. Innovative Activities and Commercialization of Technologies

One of the key objectives for HSE University as an entrepreneurial university is widening the scope for the commercialization of technologies, which will help upgrade the practical contents of research and academic activities, as well as ensuring the development of competencies in high demand on the part of society and contributing to the technological growth of the economy.  

At the University, and over the medium term, commercialization of digital (including the Internet of things, AI, cyber-physical systems, new telecommunications) and neuro-technologies will be among the most viable and advanced, while in the long term, - bio- and quantum technologies, microelectronics.

For the purposes of ensuring a head start in technological studies, research groups engaged in applied research in connection with the University’s core basic fields, as well as specialized engineering centres, will receive adequate support. Implementation of specified activities will be possible thanks to integrated scientific and technological programmes and the use of mechanisms for funding advanced developments (including the Fund for Applied Research Development), as well as through students’ project work.

For the purposes of commercialization of technologies, mechanisms supporting the creation of new products, their testing and prompt piloting, attracting grants, projects, and venture funding will be set up, along with communities of industry experts, mentors, business angels, serial entrepreneurs, techno-brokers.

In partnership with development institutes and government bodies in regions where HSE University's campuses are located, and along with technological companies and finance institutes, development of innovative infrastructure and scaling of implemented acceleration programmes will be secured.

Moreover, for the purposes of developing entrepreneurial culture and practice of innovative activities, corresponding modules will be included in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, along with CPD programmes. Moreover, advanced training in entrepreneurial and innovative activities will be offered to academic staff.

To identify current market demands and formulate internal assignments for applied research and advanced developments that fuel the creation of investment-attractive intellectual property, proactive work with potential technological and industrial projects will be initiated, monitoring of future-oriented demands in developing technological fields will be organized, along with the creation of mechanisms for feedback and systemic interaction with the respective markets in key natural science fields at HSE University.

Successful implementation of the specified measures must ensure exponential growth of patent development and revenue from commercialization of technologies. The number of results of intellectual activities created in a year and owned by HSE
University (except for products of mind) will reach 50 by 2024, and will continue to grow. Income from intellectual property management, including that from the sale of license agreements, patents, etc., will come up to at least 10 million RUB by 2024 and increase at least tenfold by 2030.