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The figure goes to the Russian island

FEFU Vice-Rector Dmitry Zemtsov on the near future of the University and Far Eastern Education

In 2019, the Far Eastern Federal University, located on Russky Island in Vladivostok, completes the development program approved by the Government of the Russian Federation in 2010. The development of a new document has already begun by teachers, scholars and students who will invest their understanding of the university of the future in the program. FEFU today is betting on the development of the digital economy - a direction that the state has put in national priorities. In 2018, it was on Fr. Russian opened the first in Russia School of digital economics and started the training program for digital officials. About the fact that they will be able to give such innovations in education, EastRussia asked the vice-rector for the development of FEFU, Dmitry Zemtsov.

The figure goes to the Russian island
Photo: FEFU Press Office
Student and "figure"

In the summer of 2018, the university hosted an educational intensive "Island 10-21", where students were taken by artificial intelligence, and he also built the learning path for them. Recently, a new data management program (CDO) was trained by 200 officials from across the country. What does the introduction of new educational formats to the university? Will the university “adopt” such forms of education?

- Until artificial intelligence selects students for us, nevertheless, of course, we use the achievements of Ostrov and the CDO program. We now have online access to educational courses at NTI University 20.35, and contacts with the most popular teachers from all over Russia, which allow us to invite them to read educational modules for FEFU students. The Islands' experience, in particular, was used when launching in 2018 the Academic Excellence and Honors Education program for the best first-year students who entered with high scores and have increased educational needs.

As for the CDO module, this semi-annual program began in November of the 2018 of the year. Her listeners - mostly officials of municipal and regional authorities, will come to us with the same composition three more times. The objective of the program is to create a network of people who understand what management is on the basis of data and capable of being qualified customers for such solutions.

The end result should be implemented projects that improve people's lives through the transformation of management processes, improving the quality of management decisions. Projects are being developed that will, for example, make less queues in hospitals, organize traffic on the road without traffic jams, speed up the provision of public services ... Simple tasks, but solving them with the help of a “number” can lead to unobvious answers that are unlikely to come would be in the head.

In the next module, in February, teams will need not only the competence of managers, but also the knowledge of specialists in the field of information and data processing techniques, so students of the FEFU Digital Economics School, our first-year undergraduates, will be involved in problem solving.

The School of Digital Economics you mentioned has become the first in Russia. What master programs have caused the greatest interest? Why?

- It turned out unexpectedly. When we opened the school, we assumed that the most popular programs would be “Artificial Intelligence and Big Data” and “Cyber ​​Security”. But in the first place, according to the results of the admission campaign, “Digital Art” burst out - this was the biggest competition, applications came from different regions of the country. I think this is due to the fact that in a rapidly computerized world, a person is looking for human spheres of application. He wants to be not a machine application, but a creator. In the digital world, the sphere in which a person will be able to create images, new meanings for other people, will remain for many years to come. In art for a long time, and, perhaps, always, a person will be better than a car.

Recently it was decided to transfer the capital of the district from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. Does this somehow affect the life of the university?

- We think so. This is a good sign, a link in the chain of events that took place in the past six months - the Eastern Economic Forum, where unprecedented attention was paid to the university agenda, presidential instructions on giving the Russian island special status as a “digital development center”, conducting educational programs “10-21 Island” and CDO.

I think that the status of the capital will help us attract more talented students. In 2018, we seriously went up on the Unified State Examination score, crossed an important threshold and were among the “top” on the introductory score of Russian universities.

Robots are here

How does the FEFU team see that “digital development center”? What does the university have to offer?

- Speaking at the WEF, the president described a picture of the university of the future. The university, in which breakthrough educational programs are implemented, where the largest technology companies operate, has opportunities for young scientists and researchers. Therefore, we need a special status and opportunities for experiments, tests - better than in other territories.

For this and need a technopark. Unfortunately, both lawmaking and construction are time-consuming processes, but we hope that VEF-2019 will start the construction of a separate building for the technology park, where all our residents will be accommodated, and the plan of the Ministry of Eastern Development will be implemented to create a special regime on the island. There are several options, in varying degrees suitable for the development of the technology business. The most profitable at the moment is the mode "Skolkovo". The relevant bill is currently awaiting a second reading in the State Duma. 

Technopark, meanwhile, lives its own life. Some residents have already started their first sales, there are projects that are at the final stage of negotiations for the next round of investment. Like, for example, a very interesting energy saving project. Its participants, first with a grant and then with a university development program, were engaged in fundamental research on combustion and created a device that significantly increases the efficiency of gas combustion - heating a larger space requires less fuel. The team became a resident of the technopark and, thanks to this, entered a consortium with one of the leading enterprises of the country's military-industrial complex. There are plans to launch joint production.

There are other interesting projects - navigation developments, developments in the field of virtual and augmented reality (VR / AR), educational designer of underwater robots ... Today, the Russian Technopark is a tool to support the technology business, and as soon as its “radar” appears then a technology start-up, he should “grab” him, make him a resident, help him stand up. And the Center for National Technological Initiative (NTI) on neurotechnology and VR / AR, formed at the university, is gradually becoming one of the suppliers of such startups. We invest NTI in small business research projects that are of strategic importance for the development of the market.

Specific examples of this interaction already have?
- Virtual reality is now most effectively used in the field of entertainment, and this is a very large market. The next largest is the education market. VR / AR has already taken its place in corporate training - for example, using virtual reality, workers are taught how to act in extreme situations.

But there is a wider segment - schools and universities, where, if properly implemented, VR / AR can significantly improve the quality and accessibility of education. But there you can use only those products that have a solid evidence base. Therefore, we entered into an agreement with the network of children's technology parks "Kvantorium" and in close communication with colleagues from the Ministry of Education in 2019, we launched a pedagogical study on the introduction of VR / AR in the experimental mode to prepare for the Unified State Exam in high schools. This will occur simultaneously at two points - on the basis of FEFU in Vladivostok and in schools in Moscow.

It is planned that in this way schoolchildren will study several subjects, including chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Having received computers, glasses, joysticks, flash cards with tasks, students in any Russian school will be able to set up virtual chemical experiments as many times as necessary to master the material. Such an application of virtual reality expands access to quality education.

On 10 years ahead

In 2019, the university’s development program ends. What directions will you bet on in the new program?

- Now we can name an approximate set of directions for the future development program. The first one is a block related to biomedicine, based on a cluster of the School of Biomedicine and the FEFU Medical Center, which is objectively the best in the Far East. 

We have a very strong and broad in the areas of interest Engineering School. Absolutely, we will develop the direction of “shipbuilding”, on which in the medium term a stake is made. The Zvezda shipyard is being built in the city of Bolshoy Kamen, and Rosneft involved in the construction project is supporting FEFU in the training of specialists.

On the other hand, the Russian president ordered the opening of the centers of the largest technology companies here, including Gazprom. Obviously, this engineering center should deal with gas production on the shelf, engineering equipment of the process. 

It is impossible not to mention the theme from the World Ocean. This is the legacy of a mega-grant, on which scientists from the Far Eastern Federal University and the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have been conducting large-scale research for five years. In mid-December, at a meeting with the Minister of Science and Higher Education Mikhail Kotyukov in Vladivostok, we discussed the issue of creating a scientific and educational center for the World Ocean. Moreover, the university development program will be linked to the national program for the development of the Far East, in the development of which we are also taking part.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of destinations. Oriental studies and international relations, digital development, socio-economic direction, law, natural, technical, humanitarian and pedagogical sciences will take their place in the future development program. These priorities were determined by the leading professors, scientists, students and postgraduates of FEFU. They appreciated the world scientific and educational trends, focused on the strengths of the university.

The development of the most important document for FEFU is already underway, and we are striving to ensure that all university staff are involved as much as possible in its preparation. The more people who participate in the preparation of the program and support it, the more successful the implementation will be. 2019 marks 120 since the opening of the Eastern Institute. This historical milestone makes it possible to realize which path the university has taken since it was founded, what it is today, and how it should develop in the future.

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