The Russian international educational policy through and post the Soviet period has experienced radical evolutionary changes. Through this prism of progression and the complexities encountered, Ural Federal University, founded in 1920, is one of the leading and oldest higher educational institutions in the Ural region. With a vision to develop the human, scientific, technological and innovation potential of the Ural region and Russia, the university was founded in alignment with the state policy to overcome human resource shortages in metallurgy, chemistry, mining, and engineering and promote the industrialisation of the country. UrFU takes pride in its unique location, Ekaterinburg, the 4th largest city in Russia, a modern megapolis with world-class infrastructure and services for education, business, and tourism.
Victor Koksharov, Rector at Ural Federal University, explains that in the frame of the modernisation reform of the Russian higher education system launched in the 2000s, several universities were merged and received a federal status and additional financing from the state. Thus, in 2010, UrFU was created by merging two Universities: Ural State Technical University – Ural Polytechnic Institute and Ural State University, providing classical education.
The university campus is designed to meet every attendee’s requirements. It boasts 12 institutes, labs equipped with modern devices and equipment, research centres, 16 dormitories in the city centre close to education buildings, libraries, banks, sports facilities (indoor & outdoor), and cafeterias.
Catering to international students’ requirements with a focus on achieving their full academic potential, the university has an International Students Adaptation Centre and a Buddy-system that offers help and guides foreign students in all matters of their daily life upon arrival. This includes but is not limited to pick-up service at the airport, accommodation, health insurance, education, social adaptation, and so on. For international students, UrFU specially designed 15 Master’s degrees and 47 PhD programs in English in most topical fields of study of the modern world; Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI/ML), Food Biotechnology, Cognitive Neuroscience, IT innovations in Business, Biodiversity, PR and Advertisement in International Communication, Energy for Smart Cities, AI for Power Industry, International Trade and Management, International HR Management, and High-Performance Sport.
The university recently launched two new cutting-edge Master’s Programs in English; Artificial Intelligence for Power Industry Applications & Energy for Smart Cities. The aforementioned program is focused on Data Science and the design of adaptive intelligent systems for the Fuel and Energy Sector. The program is implemented with RTSoft Group of Companies. In addition, the program Energy for Smart Cities is focused on the design, operation, and analysis of up-to-date urban power supply systems using machine learning technologies in the Fuel and Energy Sector. The program is implemented together with Schneider Electric company. Rector Koksharov reveals, “The University has the highest employment rate in Russia. 85% of UrFU graduates find a job in Russia or abroad within the first six months post graduating. There are employment opportunities at the university as well. Over 200 foreign students currently work at UrFU.”
Dedicated to Shaping Young Lives
Of the firm opinion that the faculty plays a critical role in the development of each student’s potential, the team at UrFU consists of over 4000 faculty members, including 298 professors, 1062 associate professors, 599 Doctors of Science, 1977 PhDs, and 40 foreign lecturers. “Most of our teaching staff are practising experts actively engaged in research and highly experienced in industry and business. Thus, they can give their students the required fundamental and practical knowledge,” adds Rector Koksharov.
UrFU is a Russian federal innovation platform with a modern innovation infrastructure consisting of several Centers of Technological Leadership available for students, some of which are the Cyclotron Center of Nuclear Medicine, Chemical-Pharmaceutical Center, Model Lean Factory, and Center for Industrial & Service Robotics. Promoting innovation, creativity, and increased productivity, students are provided with the opportunity to attend open lectures given by distinguished scientists or politicians. The University conducts joint scientific research with foreign partners and the world’s top-notch experts as UrFU visiting professors. Rector Koksharov opines, “Access to cutting-edge facilities and the possibility of collaboration with foreign researchers opens wide opportunities for students’ scientific activities.”
Moreover, faculty members at the university collaborate with students in research activities. They co-author articles in scientific journals indexed by Scopus and Web of Science databases. They do not just work in research laboratories and centres but also participate in implementing research grants from the Russian Science Foundation and international organisations.
These efforts in developing advanced research are reflected in the university’s global recognition. According to the most authoritative global ranking – QS World University Rankings, UrFU is among the best universities in the world across many sectors. The university has been ranked 26th for social policy and administration, ranked in the top 51-100 for petroleum engineering, history, and philosophy and 192nd for Arts and Humanities.
In essence, UrFU offers its students a bright, active, and unforgettable student life full of academic, cultural, and sports events while maintaining a friendly international atmosphere. The university organises over 200 sports, social and cultural events yearly, such as Orientation Week, Festival ‘Friendship of Nations’, UrFU Student of the Year Awards, Educational excursions, musical evenings, cuisine nights, simulating games, and sports competitions.
Easing Financial Burdens
The university is also dedicated to providing its students equal opportunities in tandem with helping them shape their careers and future. Keeping this in mind, UrFU offers students a myriad of scholarship opportunities and financial support. In line with their academic performance, meritorious foreign students are awarded scholarships. First-year students of engineering, technology, and natural sciences programs with high exam scores get a monthly scholarship of 10000 Rubles.
Every year UrFU students receive prestigious personal grants, such as the Alfa-Chance scholarship, the Potanin Charity Fund scholarship, the scholarship of the Sverdlovsk Region Governor, the President of Russia scholarship, the scholarship of the first President of the Russian Federation, and others.
Furthermore, UrFU awards 20 grants every year for foreign postdocs. Rector Koksharov elaborates on how foreign applicants are provided with the opportunity to receive a Russian Government scholarship to study in any program within the quota established by the Government of the Russian Federation. This scholarship includes free tuition for the entire study period, a monthly scholarship (for the entire study period, regardless of the candidate’s academic results), and a designated place in the university dormitory. The selection of foreign applicants is carried out by Rossotrudnichestvo through its network of representative offices (Russian Houses) in different countries and through Russian embassies abroad.
Another excellent scholarship opportunity is the Open Doors Russian Scholarship Program for Masters & PhD. Studies. Open Doors is an international Olympiad by Global Universities Association, giving a chance to winners for early admission to a tuition-free Master’s degree or Doctoral program. And for participants of the final stage of the Open Doors Olympiad, UrFU offers a 25% discount on their tuition fee.
The University has an exciting and flexible tuition fee discount system where a 4% discount for advance payment (for each year of study) is available for any level and form of study. Additionally, applicants who earn 40 or more points on the entrance exam get a tuition fee discount of 10 to 30 per cent for the entire study period. Lastly, students under the low-income category may avail of financial help to pay their fees and some of their living expenses through UrFU’s Students’ Union.
A Futuristic Approach
The university is fully equipped to help students and faculty alike to realize their full potential. UrFU has been successful in doing so over the decades, owing to its drive to continually innovate and stay abreast of trends and emerging technologies. Even when the world was crippled by the onset of the Corona Virus pandemic, UrFU spearheaded the online education revolution. In 2019, the university had successfully implemented the digital transformation program and thus managed to conduct teaching and research activities in a remote format even during the pandemic. “UrFU uses its online educational platform HyperMethod and Microsoft Teams and Zoom services to enable students to attend classes from home and abroad. Apart from that, there are also courses on the National Open Education platform,” elucidates Rector Koksharov .
In conjunction with this, the university also offers other online educational & scientific services, such as:
- Online courses on the National Open Education Platform
- More than 4000 courses in electronic format on LMS platforms
- University portal of electronic scientific archive and resources
- Work of the dissertation councils in mixed mode: full-time format plus online participation of the members of the dissertation council
- The digitalisation of teaching and administrative work: introduction of 270 digital services for all areas of the university: 91 for training, 11 for scientific activities, 80 for administrative needs, and 85 for IT support.
Rector Koksharov adds, “Ural Federal University attaches great importance to international academic mobility programs and now develops them in both formats – offline and online to not depend on possible constraints with cross-boundary movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or any other factors.” So, academic exchange with more than 100 partners in 40 countries around the globe goes on regardless of external conditions. All courses are enabled with the option to be conducted remotely through Zoom and Microsoft Teams services, while webinars of staff and students are held through the UrFU online service, BigBlueButton, as well.
Currently, post the pandemic, UrFU hosts exchange students from different countries of Asia and Europe while UrFU students participate in mobility programs in those countries. The university’s main partners for student mobility remain universities of China, India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Hungary, France, and Turkey.
Continually Maintaining Relevancy
As one of the leading education providers, UrFU is committed to further the development of its online programs and courses. Perfectly aware that scientific research plays a key role in global and self-development, UrFU ensures that its students work with top-notch practising experts and use advanced facilities on its campus and online services where possible and necessary. In 2023, UrFU will have a fully operational campus with 8500 additional places for student accommodation and advanced infrastructure for studies, research, and sports activities. The university aims to develop the campus for a specialised education and science centre, UrFU Lyceum. The campus construction will create an advanced educational environment and foster the implementation of project-based and interdisciplinary training by forming multifunctional teams.
Contributing to Scientific Breakthroughs
On the research front, UrFU is constantly fostering research activities on its campus. The renowned university, together with Russian and international academic and industrial partners, is currently implementing six megaprojects, which are focused on breakthrough directions of scientific research. These projects will significantly contribute to the development of the world’s science. Rector Koksharov concludes, “Our breakthrough projects concern new energy technologies, electronics and spintronics, climate-ecological monitoring and Arctic Science, Advanced Technologies for the Electrochemical Power Engineering, Study of protoplanetary matter, carbon micro-, opto-, and nano-electronics, and also an intellectual and technological platform Smart Grid for processing large data sets.”
For More Info: https://urfu.ru/en/