DFG Participates in Polytech Days in Berlin 2020

(28.02.20) In February 2020, following a major event in St. Petersburg, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) also celebrated its 120th anniversary in Germany. Polytech Days 2020, which saw the participation of many German research institutions and funding organisations such as the DFG, formed part of the German-Russian Year of University Cooperation and Research at the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin.

In his opening speech, Prof. Dr. Andrei Rudskoi, Rector of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, highlighted the diverse relationships that the university maintains with partners all over the world. Guests from more than 30 countries, including 20 university rectors, scientists and researchers from academic institutions and industry, and alumni, came together to discuss successful research projects and new forms of cooperation over the course of the two-day event.

Rector Prof. Andrei Rudskoi opens the forum

Rector Prof. Andrei Rudskoi opens the forum


The DFG is an important partner of the former polytechnic institute. This was emphasised by Russian and German researchers during a panel discussion entitled "Russia – EU: Opportunities for Scientific Cooperation", which was moderated by Dr. Jörg Schneider, Head of International Affairs at the DFG, and Prof. Dr. Vitaliy Sergeev, Vice-Rector for Research at St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In his introductory address, Dr. Jörg Schneider emphasised the DFG's varied and long-standing links with the university, presenting a number of German-Russian projects funded by the DFG with the involvement of the institution. The audience was especially interested in the two DFG calls offering funding for German-Russian research projects with Russian partner organisations RFBR (Russian Foundation for Basic Research) and RSF (Russian Science Foundation). Both German and Russian researchers stressed the importance of the DFG for the funding of joint projects, giving examples of completed or planned German-Russian projects with the financial involvement of the DFG. Prof. Dr. Hanno Schaumburg from the Hamburg University of Technology, who visited Russia in 1970 as part of an exchange programme for German and Soviet scientists supported by the German Foreign Office and the DFG, described early German-Soviet academic relations.

Finally, Prof. Dr. Sergeev emphasised that the German-Russian research projects presented during the discussion reveal considerable diversity in terms of the participating institutions and funding formats. Mechthild Köhler from the DFG's Berlin office stressed how important it is to the DFG to support German-Russian academic relations and to give researchers advice and support in the process of submitting proposals to the DFG.

The Polytechnic University is one of the oldest and most respected technical institutions in Russia, counting Nobel Prize winners Pyotr Kapitsa, Nikolay Semyonov and Zhores Alferov among its former staff. The university was founded on 19 February 1899 as a polytechnic institute by a decree of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. Today, over 30,000 students are enrolled at the university, which now bears the name of Peter the Great. In 2010, the polytechnic was accorded the status of a National Research University, making it one of a select circle of leading universities of the Russian Federation. The DFG has maintained close links with St. Petersburg's "Polytech" for many years and regularly organises seminars and events at the university, most recently the Leibniz Lecture given by DFG Vice-President Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer in 2018.

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