Russia Platform Opens Way For Cooperation with Belgian Universities

On the 19th October, ITMO University was visited by a special delegation from Ghent University (Belgium). The delegation was led by the Academic Director for Internationalization, Professor Guido Van Huylenbroeck. The main purpose of the visit to Russia, during which representatives of Belgian universities held meetings with several universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg, was the announcement of the launch of the Russia Platform program, designed to increase awareness of Russian universities among Belgian students and their interest in studying in Russia.

As part of  Russia platform, it is planned to accumulate financial resources to support international academic mobility programs and to organize the interaction of various educational and research units of Ghent University with their Russian colleagues. This project is being organized by Professor Koen Schoors, who was also part of the delegation and assured those present of his readiness to contribute to the development of multilateral Russian-Belgian cooperation.

Among the delegates were representatives of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Faculty of Economics and Business, Faculty of Bioengineering, and the business community.

For instance, the specialist for development of the Port of Ostend, Wim Stubbe, is interested in cooperation with the eScience Research Institute and Biochemistry cluster at ITMO University. In addition, the Belgian partners have expressed interest for joint initiatives in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. In this regard, residents of ITMO’s Technopark Yaroslav Smirnov and Dmitry Pavlov spoke of the main areas for the development of their startups, and the Deputy Director of Technopark, Olesya Baranyuk, talked about its development.

One of the main topics of discussion was the development of bilateral academic mobility for students, teachers and researchers. There are currently two ITMO students studying at Ghent University on an exchange semester, and ITMO is trying to increase this number. Ghent University, which is in the top-100 of world rankings, is quite attractive for ITMO students, not only because of the large number of English-language programs available, but also because of the location, since it is located only some 100 km from the most enticing world capitals – London, Paris, Brussels and other European cities. In addition, ITMO University welcomes Belgian students who, at the moment, are mostly interested in participating in short-term summer schools; however. in the future, they might like to stay in St. Petersburg for a semester or more.

There are many opportunities for collaborative research at Ghent University. Starting now and until 30 November, a small grant has been announced for 2000 euros for the Russia Platform Short-term Fellowship Program for young scholars.

As of now, ITMO University has an agreement with the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at Ghent University, and now plans are underway for a cooperation agreement with other faculties, which can increase the chances of obtaining grant funding when applying for such programs as Erasmus+ or Horizon 2020. All departments at ITMO University are welcome to take an active part in developing cooperation with Ghent University in organize international research and education initiatives.

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