Before the meeting, Mr Putin inspected the university’s new buildings and saw in operation the electronic university system, which gives access to information resources in all of the university’s various departments.
The President also presented the university with the symbolic key to the new campus and handed over computer and multimedia equipment that had been purchased for the APEC summit.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues,
Let me start with a few general remarks. I am very pleased to see you all, and very happy to see that we are setting goals and achieving them.
When I came here more than five years ago, there were only some back roads through the forest and practically nothing at all beyond the remnants of the military unit. But now, in this same place, we have just held one of this year’s biggest international events – the APEC summit, using the Far East region’s new research and educational centre as the venue. Let me say a few words first about this university, and then we will discuss its future.
The new building is located here in wonderful Ayaks Bay on Russky Island, as we all know. The site’s construction began in May 2009. The construction works have for the most part been completed in the three-and-a-bit-years since then, although, as I will add a bit a later, the full development programme has a longer timeframe.
Some of you perhaps know, and others perhaps don’t, that the campus has a total area of 200 hectares and its 22 buildings have total area of just under 1 million square metres.
Vladimir Putin: For comparison, I can tell you that Moscow State University has total area of 1 million square metres, but Moscow State University has been developing over decades now, while this campus was built in just three years.
The university’s student dormitories provide housing for 11,000 people. I realise that this is still not enough, and I know that the student hostels on the mainland are overcrowded. This is an on-going problem that will require further measures to fully resolve.
The campus has been built, and it is important that construction has taken into accounts the needs of people with mobility problems and offers a barrier-free environment to people with disabilities.
The campus has 390 lecture theatres, classrooms, and offices with capacity ranging from 20 to 250 people. There are also two conference halls seating 750 and 900 people respectively, and it was these that we used for the APEC summit. Let me say too, that these halls are very spacious, comfortable, and convenient to use.
”The university has six priority development areas: the study of the World Ocean and its resources; energy resources and conservation; nano-systems and nano-materials; transport and logistics, above all the development of transport and logistics opportunities in Primorye Territory and the Russian Far East in general; cultural interaction between Russia and the Asia-Pacific region countries; and biomedicine and biology in general.“
The campus offers a full range of sports facilities, including indoor facilities, some of which still need to be completed. What we see already completed are the outdoor facilities – open air stadiums and tennis courts. They all look very nicely designed and modern. ”“
The university has nine schools and 15 branches, with a total student number of 53,600 as of September 2012. That is the total including the branches. The total number of fulltime students is almost 30,000 – 29,700, to be precise. The university has teaching staff of 3,400 people, including 300 holders of doctor of science degrees and around 2,000 holders of candidate of science degrees. Total staff, together with the technical personnel, will come to 10,000 people. One could say that is a whole army, really.
The university has six priority development areas, the main purpose of which is to provide the skills and training base in these six areas of modern science and technology so as to meet the needs of the Far East region and indeed the whole of Russia and this part of the world.
These six areas are: the study of the World Ocean and its resources; energy resources and conservation; nano-systems and nano-materials; transport and logistics, above all the development of transport and logistics opportunities in Primorye Territory and the Russian Far East in general; cultural interaction between Russia and the Asia-Pacific region countries; and biomedicine and biology in general.
I mentioned earlier that we are starting work on building a space launch centre in the region. The main training centres in this sector were always in the European part of the country, but the new launch centre here will be one of the country’s biggest national civilian-use facilities and will be able to launch heavy rockets, including for orbital stations, and so we will need to train local specialists here in the region too. The new university offers the most convenient base at which to start developing training in this area from scratch here. I ask you and the new rector to keep this in mind too.
The university will include one of the biggest medical schools in the Far East, with all the latest equipment and a 200-bed in-patient clinic. When the project was still at the design stage we agreed that the clinic would be incorporated into the teaching block in such a way as to make it convenient to work at both sites. A special laboratory block is being built for the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences’ needs.
One of the university’s top priorities is to give education an international dimension. The university is therefore taking steps to bring in foreign faculty to work on international educational programmes. There are 70 foreign professors working fulltime at the university in the 2012–2013 academic year, and there were several candidates contending for each vacancy. Prominent scholars are also invited to give short series of lectures, and good working contacts have been established with colleagues in other countries in the region.
”One of the university’s top priorities is to give education an international dimension. The university is therefore taking steps to bring in foreign faculty to work on international educational programmes. There are 70 foreign professors working fulltime at the university in the 2012–2013 academic year, and there were several candidates contending for each vacancy.“
As far as developing the laboratory and research side goes, the university seeks to bring in not just good teachers, but also world-renowned scientists, people who really do have a worldwide reputation. A competitive selection took place this year, and five people were chosen, all of them globally known in their fields. There were six candidates for each vacancy. This is quite understandable given that the university is offering excellent conditions: pay of 150,000 rubles [around $5,000] a month, as well as providing the resources for setting up laboratories and funding for the various materials needed. The university also provides these specialists with accommodation.
In 2012, the university developed 10 international education programmes for Russian and foreign students. These programmes were put together in cooperation with leading universities abroad, and teaching is in English. I am pleased to see that the rector (the former rector and the current one) established good and friendly ties with universities in the United States and Australia. These are on-going ties that open the way for student and teaching exchanges, and this is excellent to see.
The university is developing a bilingual environment and increasing the number of foreign students. By 2019, the year the development programme ends, the number of foreign students should be up to 7,500. This will constitute around 25 percent of the total number of fulltime students, which corresponds to the standards at the world’s top universities.
The university’s youth team took first place at the world championship for building remote controlled underwater craft, beating even top universities such as Bauman Moscow State Technical University and MIT, Princeton and others. I congratulate the team on this. Well done!
”We are starting work on building a space launch centre in the region. The new launch centre here will be one of the country’s biggest national civilian-use facilities and will be able to launch heavy rockets, including for orbital stations, and so we will need to train local specialists here in the region too.“
The campus is implementing the electronic university project, which we heard about just before from the students and faculty. This system unites every aspect of the university’s life, all of its processes and services, including scientific, educational and research aspects. I will not repeat all the details now. This is a very promising and effective system, which I hope will play a positive part in the teaching process.
I note particularly the university’s work on innovation projects together with some of Russia’s biggest companies. There is the shipbuilding and underwater robot technology project, for example, being carried out together with United Shipbuilding Corporation. The medical school is working with the University of Southern California and Severance Hospital of the Yonsei University in South Korea. There is a nuclear medicine project underway with the National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, and colleagues from the University of Osaka in Japan. There is also a pharmaceuticals project underway with ChemRar High-Tech Centre, which is a world-class and very advanced centre in Khimky [Moscow Region]. The university is also carrying out a petrochemicals and chemicals technology project together with Rosneft, one of Russia’s top companies in the sector.
I think this is an excellent start. I wish you success. I want to inform you that together with our colleagues we looked over the equipment that was purchased and installed for the APEC summit, and we decided that a large part of it – computers, display panels and so on, everything that will help students to learn and help faculty to transmit knowledge using modern methods – will be handed over to the university. This comes to more than 1 billion rubles worth of equipment that we are giving the university.