Presentation of the University of Tyumen's Competitiveness Program

Project 5-100 26 October 2015
The University of Tyumen has joined the Project 5-100 aimed at improving the university's international competitiveness. The meeting of the Expert Council of the Russian Academic Excellence Project 5-100 under the chairmanship of Dmitrii Livanov, the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation was held on October 23 in Vladivostok. Valerii Falkov determined the tasks for the university.
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Dear ladies and gentlemen! My name is Valerii Falkov. I am proud to be the rector of the University of Tyumen, and I am here today with my team to present a competitiveness program, that will open a dynamic new path for the university for the years to come. 

Our preparation for today’s meeting has stimulated an intense debate on how best to develop our level of international competitiveness. So, now I am happy to present a fresh new vision of the university's future. 

In this presentation, I will show you the current situation and will also explain the gaps we have identified and our proposals to bridge them. 

  1. The university has many advantages, which make it possible for our plans to be reached;   

  2. The University has several world-class research teams in Physics, Chemistry, and Biological Sciences; 

  3. We have extensive experience, enrolling international students from other countries; 

  4. We have formed a globally oriented management team to promote dramatic improvements in research, teaching, administration and outreach; 

  5. We have a high share of non-budgetary revenues in the university's income; 

  6. And the university has established strong links with the regional governments and globally operating companies. 

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For the last three years the university has already demonstrated of several major indicators: 

  • We have seen a thirty percent rise, in foreign students’ enrollment; We have a seventy percent increase in human capital investments by fostering professional development for faculty and staff; 
  • Our R&D budget has grown to almost half a billion rubles; 
  • Publications in Web of Science and Scopus-indexed journals have doubled; 
  • We have seen a remarkable increase in global visibility, thanks to our collaborations with other universities.

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We have started to attract new talented academics. 

We have established new integral university units, which will be at the frontline of innovative changes, such as the Polytechnic SchoolEngineering CenterLaboratory of Photonics and Microfluidicsresearch groups in biodiversityCenter of Robotics and Mechatronics, School of New Media and Communications, the Fabrication Laboratory, and Project Office of Open Online Education. 

We are inspiring faculty and staff, with our new university vision, goals, and values. 

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In research, the university will reach excellence, in several global frontiers based on our existing strengths. 

The leaders of key research groups are present here today: Natalia Ivanova, working in the area of optofluidics, and Andrei Tolstikov, who established a world-class group in biodiversity. 

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The major obstacles as WE see them, are as follows: 

  1. the faculty’s low international recognition, 

  2. our faculty are aging, and we have few younger scholars on our staff,

  3. the high level of “academic inbreeding”, due to the lack of faculty, hired from other universities and research groups. 

These challenges will be responded to over the coming years with new investments in human capital, hiring moratorium on our graduates, and extensive international recruitment. 

Our plan is that by 2020 no less than twelve percent of the faculty will be hired from the international job market and the number of postdocs, will reach two hundred and fifty. The R&D budget is expected to exceed 2 billion rubles versus HALF a billion by the end of this year. The sharp increase in research funding will be achieved through contracts with regional corporations and by regional government support. 

All this will make it possible to increase the number of Web of Science and Scopus publications, up to one point five per faculty. 

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In Education, we are targeting front-running technologies, such as massive on-line course development, research- and practice-oriented education as compared to traditional teaching methodologies. 

We will update curricula to make them globally oriented and flexible, and we will develop new joint programs with our foreign partner universities. We plan to increase the number of joint programs to thirty-five by the year two thousand and twenty (2020) with a number of courses taught in English. 

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We plan several initiatives to attract prospective students

First, we will increase the visibility of university programs by extensive participation in educational fairs and the use of modern branding technologies. We are going to introduce the honors program, to keep talented school graduates with the university. Also, those school graduates, who studied distant education courses at our university, will get their academic credits in advance, upon university enrollment. 

The University of Tyumen is supporting diversity and promoting inclusion by setting up a creative campus. We know this will attract the most talented, irrespective of age, physical health, migration history, gender, ethnicity or religion. 

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The Faculty is the main driving force of changes. 

We will significantly increase the requirements for professors by introducing a merit-based contract system. Extensive professional development programs will be launched to retrain facultу at world-class institutions in Russia and beyond. Special attention will be paid to hiring new faculty from abroad. We will increase the number of international faculty up to twelve percent in the next five years. 

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Our ambitious goals require financial support. By 2020, we plan on the university's budget to increase three times and hope it will reach seven point two billion rubles. How will we increase the budget? First of all, we rely on ourselves. The university’s advantage today is the high level of non-budgetary revenues, which are around seventy percent. Having R&D budget growth during the last several years we expect to increase it further up to 2.2 billion rubles. 

The significant infrastructure renewal and campus modernization will be sponsored by the Tyumen Region governments headed by its governor - Vladimir Yakushev, who was a Tyumen University graduate, and is a Chairman of our Board of Trustees

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Our seven guiding principles are shown on the slide. We are fostering a culture of change and innovation in the following way: 

  1. By focusing on a global agenda for both research and education, 

  2. networking with key partners, 

  3. applying the concept of shared governance, 

  4. respecting diversity and inclusion.

If we manage to be successful in this competition, the major share of state subsidy funding will go to support frontier research. 

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Dear panelists! 

We have Ambitions and we have a Team that can achieve these goals! We feel strong Support by the Regional Governments and Industry. We have a clear vision of the ways of university transformation. 

We are ready, we have the will and the competence to build an excellent university. 

I understand, that the selection of a principally new model of the university is a risky strategic decision. However, I do not see any alternatives. 

Thank you!


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