World-class university to solve global challenges

Tomsk universities and research institutes discussed options of academic and research cooperation at a strategic session on the project Big University. Viktor Dyomin, rector of Tomsk Polytechnic University, told RIA Tomsk why the collaboration wins “jealousy” and what projects can be implemented as early as 2020.

Heads and employees of all Tomsk universities, research institutes, authorities and experts from the Skolkovo School of Management, the masterminds of the 5-100 project, participated in this session. They focused on five issues, including science, education, promotion, city, and management. The project Big University implies the unification of all Tomsk universities and research institutes into a single research and educational consortium with legal autonomy of all participants.

The project is aimed at a synergistic effect obtained by uniting scientific, educational and infrastructural potential for effective competition with world university centers.

“The participants agreed that only the big university would be able to meet global challenges and issues,” 

— the TPU rector says.

The challenges may involve global change, ecology, and quality of life. Moreover, the quality of life is associated with environment, technological environment, society, and human development. Therefore, this global multifaceted goal can be broken into large areas, otherwise referred to as specializations.

“It is global monitoring and environmental prevention, development of new oil and gas fields, new chemistry, electronics and communications, materials science, biotechnologies, active longevity, advanced educational technologies, and social and humanitarian sphere,” – Viktor Dyomin says.

He notes that each of these areas is a major integrated task that cannot be solved by a single Tomsk university or research institute, thereby requiring active collaboration.

Uniting resources

“To solve these problems we need resources (human, financial, and material). Thus, only a world-class university can meet a major challenge. This university should be a center of attraction for creative people and for internationally oriented companies and their resources,” – Viktor Dyomin says.

He believes that this creates the foundation for a new economy of the Tomsk Oblast as a region of knowledge. Therefore, most of the above specializations are already presented in the Tomsk Research and Educational Center.

“At the session, we considered various versions of similar universities, such as University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of London, University of California, and others. Obviously, we need a clear insight into the structure and management scheme of the future university and further thorough legal preparation and adjustment of regulatory documents related to both educational and scientific organizations and the urban structure,” the rector says.

This project should unite the participants for solving major tasks, obtaining a new quality of results, optimizing resources, eliminating duplication of processes, etc. and simultaneously preserve their legal autonomy, individuality, and traditions.

“As a result of the session, this university appears to be a unity of autonomous organizations operating within the framework of an agreed strategy and common rules,” Viktor Dyomin highlights.

Action plan

At the session, the participants indicated tasks and fields where integration can already begin.

“It is creation of joint services, such as library resources, intellectual property right management, and joint Centers for Collective Usage and science parks. We have already begun to work on a joint university admission campaign, a dormitory and housing center, a joint business development center, and others. Some of them are expected to be implemented in 2020.”

The same is with large research projects. We have already shortlisted organizations that will coordinate joint work. For example, the Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS will be a coordinator of Global Monitoring and Prevention of Environmental Disasters. TPU will coordinate activities in the area of Development of New Oil and Gas Fields, SSMU – Active Longevity, and so on.

However, TPU is presented in almost all areas and not limited to petroleum and gas industry. In the BioMed area there will be a collaboration of TPU and SSMU, in global monitoring TPU will work with TSU and the Institute of Atmospheric Optics. In New Chemistry the University is already actively cooperating with TSU.

“We have collaborations in almost all areas, which gives us a vision of ways to joint projects and services,” the rector underlines.