International Council Shares World's Best Practices


The International Council was organized in 2014 so as to assist in development strategy planning. The experts monitor progress in University`s promotion in the international academic and educational community. The goals of the Council also correlate with the man aims of 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project.

The International Council is a key advisory body of ITMO University. We modify the university very fast by changing way of thinking of our employees and researchers as well as changing the structure of ITMO U. While providing the pioneering work one can easily make a mistake. The main target of Council is to consult us preventing from potential errors,” said Vladimir Vasilyev, ITMO U rector and the chairman of the Council.

According to Kathryn Atchison, vice provost for new collaborative initiatives at University of California, ITMO U has increased the amount of articles published in peer-reviewed journals including research works written in alliance with international colleagues. ITMO U makes great strides in making a specific atmosphere in the university, which positively affects students and researchers. However this progress cannot be evaluated by ranking systems.

The members of the Council mentioned that it is necessary not only to make more contacts with world`s research centers, publish articles and attract students from other countries, but also take into account requirements of business area.

“Most of universities make international educational departments the main facilities. Far from all of them develop programs that correlate with business needs. We use other way. On the one hand we improve research and educational projects but, on the other hand, we are open for business requirements,” said Mr. Vasilyev.

Marianna Chistyakova, head of Strategic Development Department, commented on this problem. The expert said that ITMO U together with Russian Venture Company and 12 research teams from 12 countries work on a special ranking system, which will evaluate innovative and entrepreneurial activity of universities.

Russian colleagues also presented innovations in the University structure. It is planned to establish research institutions that will be connected with the main strategic academic units. The international experts appreciated this idea. Currently School of Computer Technologies and Controls has already launched. The researchers are also going to organize School of Translational Information Technologies and School of Photonics.

The specialists also recommended how to increase international visibility of ITMO U. Georg Winkler, former Rector of the University of Vienna, head of ERSTE Foundation and former President of the European University Association, noted that it is very important to provide financial disposition correctly. He also drew the attention of his colleagues to efficiency of new departments. He supposed that it is necessary to understand how they affect educational and research activities. According to Alkis Lembessis, Hellenic Institute of Holography Director, the University has created a positive atmosphere inspiring people to make new things. It is definitely more than facilities, researchers and labs. The expert also appreciated new educational projects.

“I know that ITMO U in alliance with the University of Arizona (UA) are going to launch joint Master`s program called  Art&Science. It is a unique chance for students because St. Petersburg is a place where many of masterpieces were created and various discoveries were made,” noted Mr. Lembessis.

Paul Urbach, former President of the European Optical Society (EOS), professor and Head of the Optics Research Group of TU Delft, supposes that it will be easier to internationalize Russian universities through implementing standards of European and American higher education. He also advised to develop more courses taught in English.