Roundtable discussion with rectors of leading Moscow universities

On 10 December, on the initiative of the DAAD and the DFG, German research organisations in Moscow invited the rectors of leading universities to a roundtable discussion to debate current developments in the Russian university and research system. The main topic of the discussion was the impact of Russian university reform on bilateral cooperation with Germany.

Under the umbrella of the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH), representatives of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Research Foundation, the German Historical Institute and the German Embassy received the rectors of 12 Moscow universities. These included the Lomonosov Moscow State University, seven new National Research Universities and full universities with a traditional subject profile as well as technical, medical and legal universities.

  • Bauman Moscow State Technical University (MSTU)

  • Higher School of Economics (HSE)

  • Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU)

  • Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI)

  • Moscow Power Engineering Institute (MPEI)

  • Moscow State Institute International Relations of Russia (MGIMO)

  • Moscow State Law Academy (MSLA)

  • National Research Nuclear University MEPHI (NRNU MEPHI)

  • National University of Science and Technology MISIS (NUST MISIS)

  • Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (PFUR)

  • Russian State Medical University (RSMU)

  • Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH)

Since 2006, the restructuring of the Russian university and research system has led to the creation of an elite network of seven Federal Universities and 27 National Research Universities, in the Russian equivalent of Germany's Excellence Initiative. Over the next five years, universities of this new type will receive 1 billion roubles (about €125 million) each per year to boost research and promote the formation of regional clusters.

In addition to the massive expansion of infrastructure at selected sites, there will be grants for individual researchers. In the first round of mega-grants awarded in the autumn, 40 out of 507 proposals were accepted. The researchers - some of them of high international standing - who received the sum of US$ 5 million for a period of three years to research and teach at a Russian university included seven German nationals. The Russian Ministry of Education and Science (MON) announced a second round of applications in March 2011. In addition, around €700 million is to be made available over the next three years for joint high-tech research between universities and industry.

Links: Karsten Heinz (Leiter des Referats Wissenschaft und Bildung, Deutsche Botschaft), Thomas Göbel (Leiter der Kulturabteilung, Deutsche Botschaft)

Left: Karsten Heinz (director of research and education unit, German Embassy), Thomas Göbel (director of cultural department, German Embassy). Centre: Tatiana Yudina (AvH), Gregor Berghorn (DAAD), Jörn Achterberg (DFG), Alix Landgrebe (DWIH), Christian Schaich (DFG). Right: Per Brodersen (AvH), Nikolaus Katzer (DHI)


The goal of the roundtable discussion was to discuss the profile, structure and responsibilities of the new elite universities as well as the future of the other universities which were not successful in this competitive process. The group discussed the fundamental orientation of research activities and key research topics from a national and international perspective. One key question was what German universities and research institutions should expect in terms of long-term relations with their Russian partners and the effects of this for German research funding organisations. A similar discussion will be held next March with university representatives in St. Petersburg.