Experts of the Open Innovations Forum Urge Universities and Businesses to Synchronize the Speed of Response to Changes Happening in the World


Within the framework of the Moscow International Innovation Development Forum "Open Innovations 2018", the session" Education 4.0. took place Creating optimal conditions for the transition from university to business.” RVC and Rusnano organized the session.

Representatives of leading Russian and foreign universities, technology companies and authorities discussed the challenges that face technological universities today and shared their vision of what education should be in a new technical structure.

Speaking as a discussion moderator, Alexander Povalko, the General Director of RVC, noted that the problem of differences in views on the educational process among universities and businesses has existed for many years and there is no common understanding of how to improve interaction in the professional community today.

“It's a long-time discussion — who owes whom. Business makes claims to the university; universities are dissatisfied with their industrial partners. Moreover, in general, everyone says that there is not enough money in the system. These two camps were formed very tightly. Many people believe: there are no ways to solve the problem. However, our opinion is as follows: with the help of discussions and debates we can find a way out of the vicious circle,” said Alexander Povalko.

According to the ITMO's rector Vladimir Vasilyev, today, the success of interaction between universities and businesses determines the speed of response to changes happening in the world.

“Internal contradictions between universities and business are on the surface. Because of the different understanding of the educational process and the speed of reaction to changes in technology, we often cannot get a good result in training specialists. In this case, synchronization of the reaction rate to changes is of great importance. For example, in the IT field, the platform changes every year and a half. If IT companies and technical universities will take into account these innovations in the formation of educational programs, their interaction will be more understandable. Also, regardless of whether the graduate becomes an entrepreneur, we need to instil in students a culture of entrepreneurship. Such knowledge is necessary for specialists of the future,” said Vladimir Vasilyev.

The problem of interaction between science and business, in the opinion of the Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Marina Borovskaya, consists of two parts.

“First, we need to create optimal conditions for the transition from university to business. Today, they do not adequately meet the requirements of the parties. We want the graduate to immediately plunge into the business environment and be ready to demonstrate his skills at the university: knowledge of languages, subjects. However, business practices differ. The second problem is the desire and capabilities of the professional university community to train such specialists. Yes, many universities today are ready to change their educational programs and training trajectories for business needs. Nevertheless, many continue to work without changing the trajectory. Apparently, in the hope that the system of change will not affect them,” said Marina Borovskaya.

According to the expert, disputes also arise in the professional community: what kind of specialists should universities train; do they need to have knowledge that may come in handy in the future, or that is in demand right now.

“In any case, the future specialist should receive the maximum knowledge. Our common task is to extend the presence of students in the educational field. Including due to internships at the sites of industrial partners of universities or hands-on training using their equipment. Today, there is a wonderful tool for such training — engineering training Centres, when students are engaged in equipment companies at universities. Such a partnership needs to be developed. However, the main thing is that universities and companies need to precisely formulate their visions of educational programs, specify them, know the supply and demand in the labour market, and then this partnership will be successful,” said Marina Borovskaya.

Sergey Mardanov, the Mail.Ru Group's director for interaction with universities, shared his experience:

“The main value of our company is our employees. They give growth to the business. Understanding this, many years ago we established educational ties with universities. Now every year we take more than three thousand people in seven universities of the country. However, there were many problems on the way to building such cooperation. The main one is legal. For example, the following questions often arise: on what conditions is the company located at the university, how the rental of premises is paid for, and how the documents are executed. Sometimes, it takes us up to six months to agree on cooperation with some universities, and then we quit and go to others with whom it is easier to agree. Another problem with universities is that they know little about the interests and professional aspirations of their students. We try to carry out such analytics — through the same social networks. By and large, all issues that arise in cooperation are resolved.”

The problem of insufficient demand for graduates in business can be solved through practical training with students, believes Yuri Udaltsov, deputy chairperson of the board of RUSNANO.

“Often, we discuss problematic issues with a different understanding of the word “business”. Professional training of a technician for a university is more understandable than business training. Therefore, it is important that industrial partners formulate their requests better, which specialists are needed, who are in demand in today's business. We chose a simple path: we use the old physics and technology model when we immerse students in real life projects. The student should know how the company works, what skills are needed here. Having gained practical knowledge during his studies, he will then be able to find himself in business quickly,” the expert noted.

In conclusion, of the discussion, Alexander Povalko noted that the topic of interaction between universities and business structures is very complicated, but the conditions for the further growth of mutual understanding between science and business have already been formed.

“When a university rector says that he is preparing independent-minded people, it is expensive. It is crucial to be able to speak the same language with the scientific community. When graduates of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology return to universities and launch educational projects that are in demand on the market, it inspires hope,” concludes Alexander Povalko.

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