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9:05 PM  December 6, 2019

Zhvachkin: "Big University" of Tomsk will increase country's GDP by 1%

© с сайта администрации Томской областиZhvachkin: Big University of Tomsk will increase country's GDP by 1%

TOMSK, Dec 6 – RIA Tomsk. Implementation of the "Big University" project and its subsequent integration into a world-class research and educational center (REC) will allow the Tomsk region to increase Russia's GDP by 1%, said the governor of the Tomsk region Sergey Zhvachkin at the closing of the strategic session on the "Big University". Details – in RIA Tomsk material.

Earlier it was reported that the "Big University" project involves the unification of all universities and research institutes of Tomsk into a single scientific and educational consortium with the preservation of the legal autonomy of all participants. The main objective of the project – is to obtain a synergistic effect from the addition of scientific, educational and infrastructural opportunities for full competition with world university centers.

"Movement in this direction ("Big University") – is inevitable. Today the world has changed, it has run far ahead of us ... In contrast to Soviet times, today we are seriously talking about applied science, its integration with the economy. We calculated – the Tomsk region is able to increase the GDP of the Russian Federation by 1%! But for this, we need a REC, we need a "Big University", – Zhvachkin said.

What is the "Big University"?

The strategic session to discuss what the "Big University” could be like was held at TSU for a week from December 2 to December 6. Leaders and employees of all Tomsk universities, academic research institutes, authorities, as well as experts from the Moscow School of Management "Skolkovo" – the ideologists of the "5-100" project, took part in its work. And not as observers – but as full participants. Work went in the directions of "science", "education", "promotion", "city" and "management".

© с сайта Томского госуниверситета
The strategic session on the "Big University" project
"I can’t say that we have already unequivocally come up with a new form, but we were the first in the country to raise such a question. The legislation of the Russian Federation is not ready for this yet. We must be aware that this is not about mergers and acquisitions, but about agglomeration, consortium or some other form of association. There are enough examples in the world", – said the head of Moscow School of Management "Skolkovo" Andrey Volkov.

According to the Skolkovo expert, there are several schemes in the world to unite universities into scientific and educational conglomerates: New York system, California system, Levin consortium of universities, but in Russia there are no such systems. Now this approach is being discussed in Novosibirsk and Bashkiria, but Tomsk – is one step ahead.

According to the "rector" working group of the strategic session, in 2035 100 thousand students will study at the "Big University", 35-40% of whom – are foreigners (mainly from foreign countries). The budget should triple (today the budget of all organizations included in the "Big University" is about 5 billion rubles), and in the international rankings it will enter the TOP-200 of the world and the TOP-5 of Russian universities.

"The project of the "Big University" – is a project of a completely new scale of ambition for the region, universities, scientific institutes. And the main question here is: whether all the participants in this process are ready to meet new challenges in order to compete not with the familiar Russian universities, but with scientific and educational communities around the world", the rector of TSU Eduard Galazhinsky told reporters.

According to the rector, the mechanical unification of universities, even with the merger of the laboratory base, will not give the desired effect. It is necessary to revise all approaches based on new principles: recruit and prepare students, scientific activity and interaction with industrial partners, innovative developments. It is a matter of time and mutual adaptation. In addition, the "Big University" needs a list of "quick victories".

© сайт администрации Томской области
The strategic session on the "Big University" project

"This includes the creation of a joint innovation infrastructure, and the creation of a single selection committee, and even joint work on organizing charter flights at the beginning and end of semesters with Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and other key countries. There are agreements to create common scientific and laboratory centers, a common campus map of all universities and access to services for foreign students", – Galazhinsky said.

Difficult negotiations

The discussion of the "Big University" is not easy, all participants of the process admit this. On the one hand, they are all interested in joint development, joining forces in obtaining grants and orders from large corporations. Even the creation of inter-university educational trajectories does not raise questions. But not everyone is ready to abandon the long-standing traditions of academic independence.

"Today we discussed only the most general principles of the forthcoming association, expressed our main intentions. Clarifications, details, protocols – are still quite a long way off. But we clearly defined the interest of each university and scientific institute that will be included in the "Big University". From the transition to such a great quality will won all participants of the process", – the acting rector of TPU Victor Dyomin emphasized.

At the same time, no matter how difficult the process of integration of universities and academic research institutes is, this is the only chance for Tomsk not only to remain on the "scientific map” of Russia, but also to become a full-fledged player in the education and scientific research market of the world, stressed the governor closing the strategic session.

"Tomsk for the third time has a fateful chance to change its fate. So far, it has been possible to realize it only once: when the emperor struck out spending on an ironclad battleship from the budget of the Russian Empire and sent money to create Tomsk University ... Now there is a chance again. And this is not a solution of issues of individual universities of TSU, TUSUR or SSMU. We are now choosing the vector for the development of Russian science and education", – Zhvachkin said.

The results of the work within the framework of the strategic session on the "Big University" project will be summarized and presented to the government of the Russian Federation, as well as in the report of the governor to the country's president, Zhvachkin said. So the strategic session – is only the first step, he noted.

© сайт администрации Томской области
The strategic session on the "Big University" project

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