Campus and infrastructure policy

Resources available. The infrastructure of Astrakhan State University is a distributed campus located in different parts of Astrakhan and the region[1]. The main educational and scientific center consists of a group of buildings, located in the city[2]  in close vicinity to the Astrakhan State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering which is being merged with ASU. The scientific infrastructure is located far from the educational buildings[3]. Some of the buildings are located in the historical part of the city, in the buildings constructed more than 50 years ago, which does not allow the re-shaping of the premises for the modern educational needs. The university also rents some premises[4]. All the premises of ASU and ASUACE comply with the current standards but have a different degree of functional and physical deterioration[5].

To solve interstate and regional problems and conduct world-class research activities, the university needs a modern technopark, a unique instrument base, comfortable living conditions for young researchers and invited leading scientists, and a platform for holding international forums and exhibitions. The infrastructure policy is aimed at building a campus based on cluster spatial organization; creation of a comfortable and safe green campus based on the principles of environmental management, energy efficient technologies, waste-free consumption and separate waste collection; an increase in the accessibility of the environment for the population of different ages and health opportunities, socio-professional, ethnic, linguistic and other groups; development of a modular transformable environment through co-working spaces, transforming study rooms, public spaces for teamwork and leisure.

Priority areas of the university campus and infrastructure policy: to create a comfortable, modern and smart environment through modular spatial, infrastructural and digital solutions; to improve the environmental friendliness of the ASU environment; to increase the campus involvement in the development of the urban environment; to implement project “Creation of a New Modern Campus in Astrakhan Region, a Geostrategic Border Area of Russia”[6].

The existing infrastructure of the university is going to be modernized. As a result, more than 70% of the space will become a modern scientific and educational space[7]. Projects and technologies of smart management of engineering systems[8] will be introduced to ensure an increase in the efficiency of resource consumption.

One of the significant infrastructural constraints for the development of the scientific and educational cluster of Astrakhan Region is the shortage of lodgings for nonresident and foreign students and teachers (Table 1 of the Appendix to the Section). By 2023, a complex of two 10-storey brick dormitories with 900 accommodation places will be put into operation. However, the construction of these dormitories will not cover the existing need for residential infrastructure: taking into account the implementation of the development program, the unmet need for dormitories by 2030 will amount to more than 6,000 places.

Implementation of the program strategic projects requires creation of an additional scientific and educational infrastructure to locate educational and specialized laboratory complexes for conducting research and testing the results, an environmental analytical center, a situation center, a multidisciplinary scientific center of excellence, including laboratories and a shared knowledge center.

To address these issues, it is envisaged to create a modern campus of educational institutions of higher education in Astrakhan Region[9]. The campus will combine the functions of education, housing, sports and recreation; universities and scientific organizations of Astrakhan Region that are members of the territorial consortium will be able to address the issues of socioeconomic development of Astrakhan Region on its basis.

The campus will have classrooms, research laboratories, a library, engineering centers, technology parks, and communication infrastructure. Specialists will be trained in cutting-edge majors for the professions of the future in modern modularly equipped premises. More than 6,000 m2 of the campus will be allocated for scientific laboratories and model workshops, equipped with the facilities necessary for scientific creativity, and research centers[10].  A technological, scientific and engineering area – Technopark – will be developed at the campus[11].

The campus will represent a perfect digital ecosystem covering all functions and services[12]. It is planned to build a congress center[13] and dormitories for students for 7,000 accommodation places (taking into account an increase in the number of foreign students in the universities of the region). Comfortable lodgings will be also built for young researchers, teaching staff, including for invited leading scientists from Russia and abroad.

Creating the campus will contribute to the development of adjacent urban areas and comply with modern architectural and planning solutions that will logically fit into the concept of urban environment development. The created infrastructure (city-wide area, open public areas) of the new campus will be available to of the region’s residents for everyday use. Attracting new industrial partners to the campus to open joint ventures will give a new impetus to the innovative and economic development of Astrakhan Region.

The main results of the campus policy correspond to the indicators of achieving national goals[14]. Implementation of the campus policy will result in: a) improving the efficiency of resource consumption; the annual savings will increase from 3.1% to 5.2%; b) an increase in the share of premises equipped with modern fire safety systems – from 80 to 100%; c) an increase in the level of accessibility for special-need students and the equipment level – from 75 to 100%.

[1] 12 educational buildings, 7 dormitories, 16 auxiliary and maintenance buildings, linear objects (internal passage, heating network, sewerage, water supply), 19 land plots, 2 outdoor sports areas

[2] educational buildings, engineering scientific laboratories, sports facilities (including an indoor pool), an administrative building and dormitory

[3] a technopark, a shared knowledge center “Caspian Agrotechnological Analytical Center”, an industrial park for digital solutions in innovative shipbuilding and a virtual shared knowledge center

[4] for the Academy of Foreign Languages and the Astrakhan University Publishing House

[5] real estate (excluding the cost of the extension to the educational building No. 1, commissioned in 2017) – more than 65% wear; most valuable movable property – 64%; other movable property items – 89%

[6] The university has submitted an application with its project on creating of a world-level modern university campus, the implementation of which is expected within the framework of federal project “Development of Infrastructure for Research and Training” of national project “Science and Universities”

[7] multifunctional classrooms equipped with modern ergonomic teaching furniture, co-working areas for independent and group work and communication between students and the university staff

[8] gas contamination sensor; power supply systems based on low voltage subsurface electromagnetic generators; modular thermal systems using universal heat exchangers; vision-system smart lighting; control of energy consumption on each floor with data transmission to the server; solar panels and solar collectors on the roof of the pool for its lighting and hot water for the shower room

[9] The project was supported by the Federation Council in May 2021 (Resolution No. 272-СФ of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly dated 02.06.2021), the Government of Astrakhan Region and the municipal entity “City of Astrakhan”, and is included in the urban agglomeration development plan.

[10] for research in alternative energy, ecology, development of high-tech chemistry, artificial intelligence for solving resource-intensive computational problems, etc.

[11] a business center, multidisciplinary simulation complexes, exhibition pavilions, a business accelerator, a co-working space with an office area, etc.

[12] implementation of a single integrated solution to automate all business processes of the university; installation of smart controllers of the Smart Campus system using artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), digital controllers; corporate wellness culture; coverage with high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi and charging points for mobile devices; organization of the rector’s situation center for monitoring and supporting management decisions.

[13] an open communication platform for representatives of science, big businesses, small enterprises, start-ups, investors and government authorities of the five Caspian countries. It will also become a platform for organizing summer schools, holding hackotons and festivals, and will contribute to the development of student tourism

[14] determined in the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 474 “On the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation for the Period up to 2030” dated July 21, 2020: construction of a sports and recreation center and open areas will contribute to the achievement of national goal “Protection of the Population, Health and Well-Being of People”; formation of an efficient system for identifying, supporting and developing the abilities and talents of children and youth will contribute to the achievement of national goal “Opportunities for Self-Fulfillment and Development of Talents”; the share of citizens engaged in volunteer activities or involved in the activities of volunteer organizations will increase; the number of people involved in cultural events will triple against the level of 2019; the living conditions of more than 1.5 thousand families will improve, the quality of the urban environment will contribute to the achievement of national goal “Comfortable and Safe Environment for Life”