The main purpose of this year’s International Days was to showcase the changes in the University’s educational structure, as well as to show the guests ITMO’s diverse research areas, as it specializes not only in its major traditional areas but also in interdisciplinary fields. The Institute of Design and Urban Studies, the Institute of Translational Medicine and the eScience Research Institute talked about their research fields as they all work in interdisciplinary areas.

In addition, during the event, the First Vice Rector Daria Kozlova presented ITMO’s new educational standards, in which priority is given to values such as creativity and an individual approach. Colleagues from abroad, for whom interdisciplinarity is also very important, were appreciative of the proposed goals and changes. Belgian colleagues from the University of KU Leuven believe that if everything goes as planned, it would be a great breakthrough not only for the Russian system of higher education, but also for the international environment as a whole, as they themselves, for example, are not always able to fully implement the concept of students’ academic freedom.

Another objective of the event was to show the international guests, especially those who had never been to ITMO University or Russia, the university’s infrastructure. Italian colleagues from the University of Siena were impressed by the Museum of Optics and Fablab and together with German colleagues noted that the University has a lot of very young professors, which is rare for their universities. They saw this as the reason for the university’s dynamic development.

It’s worth mentioning the relationship with the French partners separately, with whom ITMO University has had close contacts for some time both in the field of education and science. During the event, there was a special signing of a cooperation agreement with the University of Lorraine (Mines Nancy) with which a successful joint research project in the field of nanophotonics is already being implemented. The Consul General of France in St. Petersburg, Mr. Hughes de Chavagnac, as well as the Attaché for Science & Technology of the French Embassy in Moscow, Mr. Aurelien Leynet also participated in the ceremony. The Consul General stressed the importance of promoting scientific and technical cooperation between Russian and French universities and expressed hope for a successful partnership between ITMO University and University of Lorraine. Mr. Leynet, also noted the importance of joint projects for the development of science around the world.

As part of the event, an exhibition of partner universities was held for students of ITMO University, where anyone interested in studying abroad could ask questions directly to the universities’ representatives and learn about the features of education in a particular country. In addition to the university staff, the exhibition was attended by international students who are currently studying at ITMO, as well as Russian students who have already studied at some of the universities represented. They were happy to share their experience and vision of the importance of the international component in the educational program.

Moreover, during the event, it was possible for the international representatives to initiate a dialogue on research and educational cooperation with specific departments and labs. A host of bilateral meetings were held with representatives of the Institute of Design and Urban Studies, “Biotechnology of the Third Millenium” International Research Center, Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics, Department of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials, Computer Technology Department, Information Systems Department, Department of Production Management and Technology Transfer, and international colleagues from the University of Eastern Finland, ParisTech, and the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer (Germany). It’s evident that such meetings are necessary in order to understand on what subjects and in what areas it is possible to develop constructive collaboration with international colleagues.

This year, the format of the event was different from that of the previous years. Emphasis was placed on how to best introduce foreign partner universities to ITMO University and its team, to establish personal contacts with faculty members, to attract students to participate and to provide a platform for communication.

Written by Elena Shumeyko