Rector of Leading Russian University on Trends That Will Determine the Future
© Photo : NUST MISiS Press ServiceAlevtina Chernikova, Rector of MISiS
© Photo : NUST MISiS Press Service
Today, engineering and science education is growing in popularity all over the world. Russian universities are traditionally among the leaders in these areas. Among the most dynamically developing engineering universities in Russia is MISIS University, the recognized leader in the field of materials science in Russia.
About one-fourth of the 22,000 students enrolled are foreigners. Where do the applicants come from and what conditions are they offered for their scientific research? What areas of science and technology is the university most actively developing? Alevtina Chernikova, rector of NUST MISIS, has spoken about this in an interview with Sputnik.
Sputnik: Alevtina Anatolievna, which countries and regions do applicants come to your university from?
Alevtina Chernikova: Traditionally, people from all regions of Russia, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, come to us. Speaking of students from abroad, despite the years of the pandemic, which naturally led to a decrease in enrollment, a quarter of the students are citizens of 86 foreign countries.
Today, we see a demand for the development of cooperation in educational and research fields on the part of universities in China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We have already signed agreements to develop network master's programs with universities in the People's Republic of China, and we have plans to create joint programs with universities in other countries.
Sputnik: What were the results of this year's admission campaign? What programs had the biggest competition?
Alevtina Chernikova: We had the most effective admission campaign in 10 years. Once again, we have seen an established trend: strong, ambitious and well-prepared applicants choose technical and engineering specialties. This year, the competition for a number of programs reached 56 applicants per place. In recent years, the most sought-after specialties have been IT, materials science, and nanotechnology.
The second trend of the 2022 admission campaign is the increasing role of early professional navigation. Year after year, the number of students who consciously choose a field of study is growing.
The third trend is the growing demand for the personalization of education. Today, young people want to participate in meaningful, large-scale projects and change the world for the better. This is certainly a challenge for the university, but we have everything to respond to it, because we have talented and enthusiastic professors, modern laboratories, and plenty of opportunities for research activities.
Systematic cooperation with academic and business partners helps us solve the problem of personalization successfully. We create joint interdisciplinary scientific and educational projects that allow us to reveal each student's personal potential and develop his or her abilities and talents.
Let me give you a couple of examples. NUST MISIS has created a unique space for the collective work of business partners, universities, and development institutes called "Boiling Point - Commune." On this basis, we offer schoolchildren, students, and young professionals the opportunity to immerse themselves in project activities and build their own development trajectory.
In partnership with Sber, we are creating a modern training system in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics. Educational programs at the intersection of fundamental sciences, IT, and business practices allow students to form the competences needed for the economy of the future.
Sputnik: What is the university's environment like for students who want to pursue science?
Alevtina Chernikova: NUST MISIS forms a creative and eco-friendly environment, an atmosphere of scientific research, develops students' universal competences, and offers students personal development trajectories. We pay great attention to immersing students in research and project activities.
You can not only get involved in science in master's and PhD programs, where scientific work is an integral part of the educational process, but also starting from the first years of bachelor's and specialist programs. The university has the Student Scientific Society, which, jointly with the Center for Strategic Initiatives, implements projects such as "Days of Science," "Endless Science," "School of the Young Scientist," the "Youth Prize in Science and Innovation" competition, the "Christmas Lectures" series, and many others.
Sputnik: What are the priority research areas for MISIS University today?
Alevtina Chernikova: In 2021, NUST MISIS was the winner of the Priority 2030 program and entered the first group in the "Research Leadership" program. Under the program, we focused on five strategic projects.
The Quantum Internet project will give a new impetus to the existing NUST MISIS competences in the field of quantum computing and communications. This direction is strategically important for the state: all science around the world is now focused on the widespread implementation of quantum technologies. One of the key tasks for the university is to train quantum engineers – interdisciplinary specialists who integrate knowledge in quantum physics, electronics, and programming.
The Biomedical Materials and Bioengineering project aims at improving the quality of life through the creation of modern medical materials.
As Russia's leading university in materials science, NUST MISIS has set an ambitious goal to reduce the time for creating new materials, from development to implementation, from 20 to 5 years, and in some cases down to two years. Scientists are working on this goal within the framework of the strategic project "Materials of the Future."
In the New Engineering Solutions project, the university focuses on sustainable development technologies, reducing the technogenic burden, and training engineering personnel for the new economy.
The Digital Business strategic project aims at solving the problems of the real sector of the economy. The university has formed research groups on artificial intelligence and created the Big Data Research Center.
Each strategic project has both a scientific and an educational component. We plan to open new master's and postgraduate programs with the involvement of academic and business partners of the university, including Rosatom, Metalloinvest, United Metallurgical Company, Sber, Severstal, institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, etc.
This allows students to learn from the best experts in their field. Once they become professionals, they will determine the future of their countries and strengthen their position in science and technology at the global level.
Sputnik: How important is IT and computer science training to MISIS University?
Alevtina Chernikova: Our university provides training in the most in-demand and relevant areas of IT. Students study big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, software engineering, and control systems for autonomous transportation systems.
The university's partners with whom we create joint educational programs include the leaders of the global IT industry such as Huawei, VK, and Sber. University graduates are in demand with leading companies in innovative and digital industries. Most students already during their fourth year of study know where they will work after graduation.