TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting

Moscow State University file photo

(Kremlin.ru – January 25, 2017)

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Moscow State University (MGU) Board of Trustees.

On the agenda were the interim results of the programme for developing MGU through to 2020 and progress in developing the Vorobyovy Gory science and technology cluster.

Other items on the agenda included developing fundamental science and the higher education system within the National Science and Technology Development Strategy, and measures to improve training of specialists and facilitate their employment in Russian companies.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

We are holding this latest meeting of the Moscow State University Board of Trustees on the day of the university’s founding, which, as you know, has become by tradition a date celebrated by Russia’s students as their holiday. Let me therefore congratulate all of Moscow State University students and faculty and actually, all students and faculty around the country. I congratulate you on this occasion and wish you all the very best.

I would like to thank the Board members for their active participation in the university’s life. I suggest that today we discuss some of the decisions that will enable the university to continue playing a determining part in shaping Russia’s intellectual and technological potential.

The university has always been proud of its graduates, and justifiably so. They make unique scientific discoveries, achieve success in business and civil service, carry out important social, cultural and educational projects and bring glory to the country and to their alma mater.

If we judge the university by the results and achievements of its graduates, Moscow State University counts deservedly among the world leaders. This raises MGU’s prestige and influence both at home and abroad.

Our universities, including MGU, have made significant advances in different ratings in a number of areas. At the same time, we have said before that piecemeal success is not enough. We need to set more ambitious goals and join the ranks of the world leaders, above all in training top-class specialists and in contributing to the development of new breakthroughs and of science in general.

It is also our responsibility before the young generation to reach this ambitious and absolutely vital objective. We have many talented young people who seek a high-quality and competitive education and want to take part in promising research, projects and developments of the highest level, right from their student days.

Ever since the days of Mikhail Lomonosov, Moscow State University has always attracted the most talented and driven young people from all around Russia. Last year, 371 winners and runners-up of national Olympiads and 9 winners and runners-up of international Olympiads were accepted to MGU. Young people who have shown particular talent in technical and humanitarian fields study at the university and have received special grants of 20,000 rubles a month. We will continue to support talented children from throughout the country.

[Rector of MGU] Mr Sadovnichy said that the university school has started work and its students have already gone to the Sirius Centre in Sochi, where they attended lectures by scientists, business representatives and other prominent and interesting people who have achieved exceptional results in their fields of activity.

I draw to the Board members’ attention that we must ensure the required conditions not only for study but also for subsequent employment of these gifted young people in the state agencies and in Russian companies. They should have an interest in working here for the benefit of our economy and our country’s development.

I ask you too to reflect on further measures we can take to support student teams already working on promising new developments in the sectors of greatest priority for the country. This could include measures to integrate their projects with the activities of the world-class laboratories that have also been established at MGU through the so-called mega-grants programme.

Let me note in particular that many of these laboratories are headed by compatriots who had been working abroad. More of them are coming home now and working here, and this includes Moscow State University graduates.

Colleagues,

We adopted the National Science and Technology Development Strategy at the end of last year. Its implementation will enable us to make our country more globally competitive and respond to the serious ‘big challenges’ that practically all countries face today.

In this respect, I think that we should review once again the development programmes for our leading universities, including Moscow State University. The idea here is to establish and develop so-called technological valleys. You know that Moscow State University is examining just such a project. I want to ask Mr Viktor Sadovnichy to tell us how this work is going and update us on Moscow State University’s development plans in general.

Let’s begin our work. Please, you have the floor.

Rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy: Mr President, thank you for these congratulations and for these warm words about the university.

Colleagues,

Yes, today is our birthday, Moscow State University’s biggest holiday, the day marking its founding. Your executive order in 2005 gave this date official status as Russian Students’ Day. We are deeply grateful to you for the constant attention you give to developing science and education in Russia, to MGU’s life, and to the decision to hold a meeting of the Board of Trustees at the university today.

We will look today at Moscow State University’s development. I would like to speak in brief about what we have accomplished since the last Board of Trustees meeting took place just over a year ago, and tell you about our plans for the future.

Since 2010, we have been working on implementing the development plan that you, Mr President, approved. Budget funding for the development programme from 2010 through to 2019 comes to around 11 billion rubles. MGU’s contribution through various means to this programme comes to around 50 billion rubles. The programme continues with success and I will now brief the Board of Trustees on the results.

Our main task is to teach. As you know, Moscow State University works according to its own independently set educational standards. These are unique standards that exist only in our university. We have set a six-year study programme or so-called integrated Masters course, for a number of disciplines. In other words, the course involves four years at the undergraduate degree level and then a two-year Masters programme in the same field, mathematics, physics or biology say, thus making a six-year programme overall. Such was our choice.

We had 10,000 graduates in 2015, and more than 7,000 in 2016. As was said, they are good specialists in their fields. We have taken responsibility for the six-year study programme experiment and have added to student living allowances from our own funds to cover the sixth year of study, and we are sure that study programmes of this length are what are needed to develop a modern knowledge economy in a modern country.

To be continued.