Key development results in the previous period and groundwork

Educational activities

At the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, 12,974 people studied at the FSBEI HE “Astrakhan State University” (hereinafter referred to as the University, ASU) on basic professional educational programs, the list of areas of training and higher education programs are presented in tables 1 – 3 of the appendix to the section. The formation of the structure of specialties was based on the needs of industries and spheres of activity of the Astrakhan region[1], in this regard:

– opened a bachelor’s degree in welding for regional shipbuilders (300 people);

– the faculty of agribusiness was created (directions “Agronomy”, “Agroengineering”, “Technology of production and processing of agricultural products”)[2];

– “Biotechnology” master’s degree program was opened for the fishing industry (about 400 people were trained), a scientific laboratory of biotechnology was created, advanced training programs are being implemented, a joint postgraduate program of ASU[3] and Ca’Foscari University (Venice, Italy) with the simultaneous obtaining of a Russian candidate of science and PhD. The “Ichthyology and fish breeding” direction was opened under the order of the region;

– in order to develop at the enterprises of nanotechnology and nanoindustry, a bachelor’s degree in robotics was opened (100 graduates);

– “Tourism” bachelor’s degree was opened (annual admission of 60-65 people, in total, about 600 specialists in tourism and hotel business have been trained);

– seven educational programs were opened under the President’s program for the training of management personnel, more than 750 people were trained;

– in order to develop the transport and logistics complex of the region in 2014, all levels of the “Logistics and supply chain management” were opened (100 people).

When forming educational policy, the trend of a decrease in the birth rate (in 2020, natural population decline – 2,701 people) and migration outflow in the region (2019 – 7,881 people, 2018 – 3,496 people) are taken into account. According to Rosstat, by 2036, there will be 867 disabled citizens per 1,000 workers, and therefore the niversity conducts admissions campaigns in Russia and the countries of the near and far abroad (primarily the Caspian region).

As part of the CDIO methodology, in 2013, the Philosophy in Large Streams project was launched for most areas of training (9,000 people received soft skills in team building and leadership), for students in robotics (329 people), training was fully based on CDIO standards.

Research activities

The ASU implements more than 30 scientific directions corresponding to the Russian scientific and technological standard. There are 6 scientific schools, which are the core of 50 postgraduate training programs: more than 700 graduate students have graduated, of which they defended their dissertations for the degree of PhD more than 160 people (22.8%, which is higher than the national average). Projects of ASU scientists have repeatedly received grants from Russian scientific and foreign foundations, programs and organizations[4].

2007 to 2015 ASU has created more than 100 SIEs (aggregate turnover of about 230 million rubles) on the basis of the ASU Technopark[5]. The result is the publication activity of the teaching staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students (annually about 3000 scientific papers, the creation of RIA, the receipt of Russian and foreign grants). ASU cooperates with industrial partners in the implementation of research projects (more than 120 agreements [6]have been concluded). For more than 10 years, the Center for Collective Use “Advanced Technologies in Electronics and Robotics”[7] has been operating; technologies of the project office “Artificial Intelligence”[8]. The most significant results have been achieved by scientific schools in the areas of studying the problems of the Caspian: conservation and restoration of biological resources; production of ecologically clean agricultural products; ecology of improving the quality of life; integrated security and geopolitics.

International activities

ASU has signed “double-degree” agreements for joint master’s degree programs[9]. ASU has signed agreements with universities from 29 countries, the University is a member of the SCO University (since 2009 in the field of “Information Technology”), the Association of Universities of Caspian Region States (which includes 55 universities), Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN), it is a partner of the Directorate-General for Conference Interpretation of the European Parliament, Directorate-General for Interpretation of the European Commission, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Association of Russian Graduates of Higher Educational Institutions, International Association of Translation Institutes CIUTI, World CDIO Initiative, International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is also promoted by the UNESCO Chair “The Learning Society and Human Sustainable Development” established in 2004 at ASU, which aims at creating a regional system of continuous education and enhancing the development of innovative programs and projects aimed at the implementation of UNESCO’s ideas and mission.

In 2007 ASU was selected by Harvard Business School (USA) as a pilot site for implementing an educational program in international competitiveness[10]. In this regard the Russian-American Centre for Education and Research was set up and a new management training program based on the “Microeconomics of Competitiveness” course delivered by Professor M. Porter (USA) was developed.

Since 2000 more than 10 major international projects under the Tempus-Tacis Programme have been implemented at the University. ASU was the coordinator of works in 5 projects (together with universities in Nice (France) and Glasgow (Scotland)[11].

With the help of ASU Tempus projects, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has been introduced into the university’s educational process, which allows to intensify student exchanges with European universities[12], which helps (since 2013) to train translators (more than 120 people, including 14% – students from Italy, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan). In the framework of cooperation with WIPO, CITS undergraduates enreaches the WIPO Rearl terminology base. Education at ASU takes place in 15 languages, including 9 oriental. The high level of professionalism of the graduates is confirmed by the Department of Linguistic Support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. In 2010 – 2020 ASU demonstrates a positive dynamics of indicators characterizing the effectiveness of international activities (Table 4 of the Appendix to the section): the number of foreign students – (as of 01.10.2020) 1958 people. from 50 countries of the world (17.7% of the total number of students), which is 40 times more than 2010 (50 people), 88 programs of international academic mobility (8 times higher than 2010), 29 double degree programs (growth more than 2 times).

Human Capital Management

By 2014, the university had 13 dissertation councils and the level of tenure was 75% (annex, Table 5), there was an active recruitment of doctors and candidates of science (Oriental languages, Robotics). Improving the competence level of personnel, 15%[13] improved their qualifications in leading universities in Russia and the world: a) interaction with St. b) projects with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation made it possible to develop hard skills in the field of engineering sciences and digital culture (advanced training of teaching staff, creation of joint student teams in robotics and alternative energy); c) cooperation with MIT (USA) and with Skoltech in the framework of CDIO made it possible to switch to a project-based method in teaching and research; d) participation in international conferences[14] on the initiative of CDIO made it possible to build up the competence of teaching staff and open the direction “Robots and robotic systems” according to international standards; e) partnership with Toyota (Japan) made it possible to work out management technologies for organizing educational and scientific processes (built-in quality (5S, TPM, Kanban), Just In Time).

In 2016, an educational building (more than 14 thousand sq. M.) Was introduced, designed taking into account the requirements of project learning, innovation and innovation based on CDIO and including a laboratory of robotics, electronics, design and prototyping, a laboratory of ideas. Over the past 15 years, the number of educational buildings has been increased from 3 to 12, the number of student dormitories – from 3 to 7, the main part of the classroom fund has been modernized.

Additional education

ASU is the permanent leader in additional education in the region[15] (appendix, Fig. 1). At the moment the university offers more than 500 practice-oriented additional education programs, more than 300 of which are professional development and professional retraining (10-fold growth for 2010-2020)[16]. In 2019 Astrakhan State University won the competitive selection under the project of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation “Training citizens in lifelong learning programs in educational organizations, implementing additional educational programs and vocational training programs”[17] of the federal project “New opportunities for everyone” of the national project “Education”. Main results of the project in 2019: 7,600 people from 66 cities of the Russian Federation were trained under 4 life-long education programs. In 2020: 3,473 people from 93 cities and 35 regions of the Russian Federation were trained under 8 professional development programs. In 2019, as part of federal projects:

– “Every Child’s Success”, the University opened the Center for Development of Modern Competences of Children “House of Scientific Collaboration named after V. K. Trediakovsky” in 4 trajectories: genomic engineering, bioinformatics, machine learning and design. More than 500 people attended the classes;

– “Teacher of the Future” created two centers for continuous professional development of teaching staff, on the basis of which about 850 people were trained.

In 2019, the Caspian Higher Engineering School was opened at ASU, which, together with the engineering classes operating on the basis of partner schools, solves the problem of forming engineering competencies of students.  The project of the World Engineering Games, the regional stages of which are held annually by ASU, contributes to the solution of this problem.

In the period 2010-2020 ASU: formed as a multipurpose educational complex based on the dynamic renewal of EP, taking into account development trends and global trends, providing personnel for the socio-economic development of the Astrakhan region; a significant scientific groundwork has been obtained in certain areas; educational products that are competitive on the Russian and international markets (primarily in the Caspian region) (robotics, oriental languages, agricultural areas, information security) have been created, developed international cooperation to increase the attractiveness of Russian education; built up human resources (organizing foreign internships, obtaining additional vocational training in Russian and foreign EP, corporate training); ensured the growth of the material and technical base that meets modern requirements; occupied a strong position of AE in the region, based on an in-depth analysis of the labor market and modern trends.

[1] transport, oil and gas industry, agriculture, shipbuilding, tourism, culture, construction

[2] received about 50 RIA (modernization of agricultural machines, methods of preparing seeds for sowing, harvesting and processing of stem crops)

[3] graduate students from Syria, Iran, Egypt

[4] RFBR, RSF, Russian Geographical Society, LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft LLC, Erasmus + MAGnUS, Erasmus + Jean Monnet, King Sejong Institute

[5] The technopark was equipped with modern research equipment, included 4 research laboratories created in conjunction with the institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2 REC, the Regional Center for Nanotechnology and Nanoindustry, the Center for Collective Use “Advanced Technologies in Electronics and Robotics”.

[6] The most important strategic partners of the university are: LLC LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft, PJSC Sberbank of Russia, JSC Russian Railways, JSC OSK, JSC Gazprombank, LLC Yandex

[7] 53 units of machinery and unique laboratory equipment, which implemented 262 projects in robotics, electronics and automation, prototyping (a project to create a robotic search and rescue system based on the ThermoCap-E individual rescue vehicle for RobBotCraft LLC (Skolkovo Participant with 2020 ORN 1123395). The Center for Shared Use allows the implementation of a complete technological chain of a scientific and innovative product: a number of residents of the Skolkovo IC have been designed, prototyped and tested. The project of underwater robotics was awarded the status of a Resident by the expert board of the Skolkovo Research Center, and the UAV project “LEGEND” received the status of the one supervised by MINPROMTORG.

[8] Areas of activity – applied database analysis, natural language processing, computer vision (9 projects implemented, regional in nature) and digital products for implementation in the activities of the university and its partners, as well as training courses are being developed (90 students trained)

[9] Sophia Antipolis University (France, Nice), Clark University (USA, Massachusetts), Artois University (France), Ca’Foscari University (Venice, Italy), Karakalpak State University named after A. Berdakh (Uzbekistan), Urgench State University (Uzbekistan)

[10] the Russian-American Center for Education and Research was created, a program for training management personnel was developed based on the course “Microeconomics of Competitiveness” by prof. M. Porter (USA).

[11] ASU, together with the universities of Nice (France) and Glasgow (Scotland), carried out a project on the creation and modernization of training courses, electronic teaching aids and programs in the field of IT technologies, with the universities of Belgium (Geel) and Italy (St. Genoa), a project was carried out to develop an innovative project management course, taking into account the experience of the Belgian PLATO project, which was successfully implemented at ASU and replicated in other universities. Since 2009, the university has been implementing a project to create a module “Information technologies in the field of tourism” (profile “World Economy”)

[12] Directorate General for Interpretation of the European Commission, Directorate General for Translation of the European Commission, Directorate General for Conference Logistics and Interpretation of the European Parliament

[13] within the framework of practice-oriented classes, modern tools of lean manufacturing were studied weekly, benchmarking of the best practices of companies and educational institutions around the world

[14] Harvard University, MIT (USA), Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands), University of Sydney (Australia)

[15] in terms of the number of students and the nomenclature of programs, ASU is several times ahead of universities of the Astrakhan region (1.5 times – ASTU) and universities of the Volgograd region (2 times) and the Republic of Kalmykia (1.5 times)

[16] “Digital branding of agricultural products”, “Digital logistics”, “Psychology: digital consultant”, “Project manager in the field of AI” “Fundamentals of signage communication. Spoken Sign Language “,” Development and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence in Mobile Applications “, etc.

[17] Federal project “New opportunities for everyone” national project “Education”