Aсcording to the name of the program, its attendees are women who work in the field of higher education as scientists, heads and specialists of various university departments. The new pilot Russian-American project involving experts from UCLA and ITMO (three participants from each country) consists of several stages. This year the first stage took place in Los Angeles — during five days, six participants attended lectures on project planning and learned how to evaluate and deal with risks that occur at different stages of a scientific project.

According to Natalia Lukovnikova, head of the Center for Science and Technology Foresight, Russians mostly ignore the importance of communicative skills, while in America this competency is extremely important. The success of a project often depends on communications and knowledge of conflict management.

Natalia Lukovnikova

"I presented a program of ITMO’s Foresight Center development as my project. Despite the fact that it is not a new program, the Center had no enough specialists to launch it. At the end of 2016, ITMO’s Rector approved the increasing the number of our staff, so our center hired five analysts who would work on ITMO’s top majors. Most goals we plan to reach are related to communication. The information I learned in UCLA was very useful. This year will be devoted to developing foresight models for new units of the university. For instance, one of the global tasks is creating a model for the new School of Refregiration and Biotechnologies," says Ms. Lukovnikova.

According to Daria Denisova, another participant of the international project and Deputy Director of the Center for Science Communication, sometimes your project amounts to you and the knowledge and skills you gained during your Bachelor’s and Master’s courses. To become successful in academic career, it is necessary to use your abilities properly. Daria Denisova talked about the experience of specialists from UCLA — the University pays a great attention to science communication projects.

Daria Denisova

"For instance, the university offers a training program on public speaking. Our colleagues understand how to guide students so they would understand what they really want. It gives them an opportunity to change a profession completely. It is normal for a young specialist who has never dealt with IT to start a career in this field," notes Ms. Denisova.

The career guide has to help specialists pick up all disconnected information gained from classes, workshops and seminars, and make a structured system.

Daria plans to spend the following six months for developing the "Map of Opportunities," which is a working title of her project. This would be the second stage of the program, when the participants of the "Developing Women Leaders in University Administration" will work on projects together, under the guidance of the mentors. In June, Daria is to present the final version and also share several initiatives and projects, including a Russian-American science slam and a series of international internships.

Lyudmila Nadtochiy, associate professor at the Department of Applied Biotechnology, became the third Russian participant of the program. Her project is the "Biotechnology School for the Youth", where high-school and university students can try to conduct research in the field of biotechnologies. An interactive course called "Edible Science" has recently been launched as part of the project, whose main goal is to make schoolers interested in science. The school will open its doors in the fall of 2017.

Lyudmila Nadtochiy

According to Ms. Nadtochiy, in future the school will be expanded, so not only Russian, but also international students will be able to take part.

"These days, we are looking for funding and gathering a team. We want to invite students from UCLA to our summer school, where they will follow an informative and creative course. According to the American experts and my mentor, we would be able to do that in about a year" says Lyudmila Nadtochiy.

The final event of the second stage of Developing Women Leaders in University Administration will be a five-day session, which will take place in ITMO in June, 2017. Russian and American participants will sum up the first results of their activities and discuss their future joint projects.