Priority 2030

After Project 5-100 concluded last year, 2021 brought with it a new opportunity to contribute to Russian education and science. Following two defenses in September and October, we were accepted first for the annual base grant of 100 million rubles and then soon after for the top group of the Research Leadership track with a grant of 994 million rubles as part of the national Priority 2030 program

November and December brought an opportunity for university staff and students, as well as talents across the country, to contribute their ideas to the open call for projects as part of the 2030 Development Strategy. There were a whopping 141 applications, out of which 57 were chosen for open defense, and 36 were winners! They will start working on the implementation of their projects soon.

Artificial intelligence

With AI dubbed the future of technology, it’s no wonder that it now takes center stage at ITMO. This year, its development has reached an important milestone with the introduction of Russia's first-ever AI code of ethics, developed by AI Alliance in collaboration with the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economic Development. Signed by ITMO, as well as other top Russian institutions and the Russian government, it established the basic ethical rules for the development and implementation of this breakthrough technology in the modern world.

ITMO also won a grant of 1 billion rubles for the university’s Strong AI in Industry research center that will work in collaboration with Gazprom Neft. This year also saw the launch of the first and only Russian PhD program in AI that will raise a new generation of top-tier experts in the field.


We had some rebranding of Schools at ITMO this year and now have a School of Physics and Engineering and a School of Life Sciences. You can see the university’s updated structure here. This year also saw the launch of a new English-language Master’s program in public health sciences.

Open Education Conference. Credit: Megabyte Media

Open Education Conference. Credit: Megabyte Media

For the first time ever, ITMO held special competitions to recognize the university’s top educators. Throughout the many months of remote instruction in 2020, the university’s lecturers had adopted many new approaches to teaching and were all set for such contests. The EduStars competition included a 360-degree review of all teachers at the university and their ability to introduce innovative and experimental approaches in their practice. The EduLeaders contest called for lecturers and teams to submit the educational projects they had successfully implemented at the university. Winners of the two competitions were celebrated at ITMO’s first-ever Open Education conference in May 2021. This was followed by a two-day intensive event called ITMO.OPEN: Educational Practices, attended by 150 educational experts from all over Russia.


This was a year of great growth, with victories on all sides. We’re proud of our students who won a 2.5 million ruble grant for the university at the Your Move contest and another 2.5 million ruble grant at SberBank Hackathon in November. Our expert coaches helped our youth robotics team get the first place at RoboCup Asia-Pacific and also trained a team of school students who won gold medals at the first European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics. And don’t forget about the ICPC World Finals, which were held in Moscow. ITMO was triumphant as always, winning the gold medal and receiving congratulations from the Prime Minister! One of our international Master’s students, Ammar Ali, won three contests this year: the AI Journey Contest by Sberbank; the Evraz AI Challenge; and the NOAA Machine Learning Competition supported by NASA.


Of course, we excelled in research, too. Remember the first-ever quantum call between Moscow and St. Petersburg in June? Or the perovskite chess set that glows in the dark? Our students were very active, too: Alexey Ledyukov’s exoskeleton can easily lift 80 kg, while Maksim Myagkih’s smart backpack charges up as you walk. Our researchers even contributed to COVID-19 treatment by designing an algorithm system that uses data from COVID-19 patients to provide individualized treatment plans. To top it all off, the new International Cybersecurity Center opened at ITMO this year.

Perovskite chess. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

Perovskite chess. Credit: ITMO.NEWS


It’s not a yearly review if we don’t reflect on our achievements in rankings. Yes, ranking agencies around the world have acknowledged ITMO’s strengths, so let’s name a few! According to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic subjects, ITMO is one of the top 100 universities in Automation and Control. U.S. News & World Report ranked ITMO as the best university in Optics. Forbes named ITMO the best university in St. Petersburg. RUR named ITMO the top university in Russia in Technical Sciences, and the Expert analytic center ranked ITMO first in Russia in engineering sciences.

In the QS World University Rankings, ITMO debuted in the Graduate Employability Ranking, entered the top 30 of the Emerging Europe and Central Asia Rankings, and is now among the world’s top 100 universities for Computer Science. Times Higher Education placed ITMO in the top 10 universities in Russia and top 800 universities overall. Also in subject rankings, ITMO was in the top 150 in Computer Science, global top 300 for Business & Economics, top 400 in Engineering, and top 400 in Life Sciences.


Our students had a ton of opportunities this year: they got to travel across the country with ITMO.Students, they spent their summer in Yagodnoe at a variety of themed camps, and some of them even volunteered at EURO 2020. Our Choose ITMO admissions campaign was launched this year, encouraging prospective students to choose the university that offers all opportunities.

Students at ITMO_Enter during the first few days of the academic year.

Students at ITMO_Enter during the first few days of the academic year.

We also had some renovations! You can now find a brand new co-working space outside the Rector’s office on the second floor and the orange and lemon classrooms at the main campus on Kronverksky 49.

International activity

Despite travel restrictions making it more difficult for international researchers and students to travel to Russia, there were opportunities for both in-person and online collaboration. International students who were still in their home countries continued to study online, although from September the opportunity to get a student visa became available to all students. The ITMO Fellowship & Professorship program saw 15 scientists join ITMO University as fellows this year and 23 specialists participated in short-term tracks of the program remotely. Nearly 900 international students joined the university in September.

After two years of remote meetings, ITMO’s International Council had the opportunity to meet again in-person in Dubai in November, where they discussed ITMO’s plans for 2030. And our international students have been really enjoying their year. Some were waiting for months to be able to get to ITMO and are finally here! You can look at our interview series and get to know students like Chien Bui from Vietnam, Caroline from France, and Bryan from Egypt.

We wish everyone happy holidays and a great 2022 from our international students!