The meeting discussed the university's development plans through to 2020 as well as the creation on its basis of the Vorobyovy Gory science and technology cluster.
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Speech at a meeting of Moscow State University Board of Trustees
President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon friends and colleagues.
We are holding the first meeting of the Moscow State University Board of Trustees today. It is a pleasure to see here well-known people, people who are not just well-known, but who can genuinely do something to help our country’s leading university — Moscow State University. They can give it intellectual and financial support and provide the university’s initiatives with the necessary administrative support they need.
Quite a lot has already been accomplished. If we look at the interim results of the Moscow State University Development Programme through to 2020, we see that a lot of work has already been done. I remind you that the Government approved this programme in 2010. It allocated 5 billion roubles [more than $150 million], I think, from federal budget funds back then, and another 23 billion roubles was raised from extra-budgetary sources.
This money was spent primarily on developing the university’s infrastructure and on stimulating priority research areas. The results are there for all to see.
The National Collective Use Centre has been opened. Its computer base can carry out the most complex calculations and enable unique research projects and programmes to go ahead. This is also a big step in developing mathematics and engineering education in Russia.
Moscow State University’s Medical Science and Education Centre has also begun work. It uses the very latest treatment and diagnostic equipment and this base will help to produce new results in applied and fundamental research, as well as contributing to training.
Moscow State University’s space programme has also got a boost. Construction of the Caucasus Mountain Observatory has been completed. This observatory has the second most powerful telescope in Russia. Several satellites equipped with the university’s equipment have been put in orbit, and one satellite, Lomonosov, is ready for launching.
Overall, the university’s scientific and research base has been substantially reinforced. It is important now to see this reflected in the university’s results. Over 2010–2012, the amount that publications by people working at the university were quoted increased 3.5-fold, and publications by researchers at Moscow State University increased as a share of overall research publications in Russia.
It is especially important that scientific ideas and developments not stay on paper but become reality. The university’s innovative enterprises had earnings of more than 5.5 billion roubles last year. This shows the obvious potential of its human resources, and also shows that its new infrastructure possibilities are enabling the university to set ambitious new goals and objectives.
I know that there are plans to establish a science and technology cluster at the university — Vorobyoviye Gory, I think the planned name was to be. It would offer students, young researchers and scholars the chance to carry out breakthrough projects in priority science and innovation fields. We are talking here about areas such as bio- and nanotechnology, simulation and robotics, and studying outer space and our country’s land resources.
This is a unique project that is one of its kind in Russian universities. We will hear a detailed report on this subject today and will discuss in general the university’s future tasks and objectives.
In conclusion, I just want to highlight one point, namely, that Moscow State University should work more actively with its alumni. The university’s alumni include many well-known and influential people in all senses, people who can help to develop the endowment here and develop the university in general in the broadest sense.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: This was only our first meeting. I am sure that we will have more, and they will be deep-reaching and focused on developing Russia’s top university.
I met just before with students from Moscow law faculties, including because today is Jurist’s Day. If any of you here are in the legal profession, I congratulate you on this holiday too.
The students asked a lot of questions. One of them was, “What do you think of the quality of education today?” I bring this up because things such as the cluster project and many other development projects are extremely important, as is developing the university’s material base. This goes too for computer equipment, since you cannot have a modern academic and research facility without this, and for things such as the medical centre, which we also examined today.
The only thing is, we must make sure that the university’s growth is not just about development projects alone. Educational content is also important, and so are issues such as housing, for students and for teachers and young researchers. The quality of education is very important; giving students modern knowledge that will equip them for the future.
The students asked me this question and we did not even discuss it at all today. Of course, the rector and his colleagues think about it in their practical work. Mr Sadovnichy [Rector of Moscow State University] spoke today about the university’s place on the ratings and the place that it really ought to have. We should always keep this in mind too and think about it.
If our support is needed in any area, I think we would do everything we can to support Mr Sadovnichy and everyone involved in helping to develop Moscow State University.
I want to thank you all and say that we will remain in regular contact. As chairman of the board of trustees I ask Mr Sadovnichy to keep ongoing, regular contact with you, including on my behalf, as the board’s chairman.
Thank you very much for your participation.