The accelerating pace of the Russian Far East
An economic summit – and a longstanding partnership – set the stage for a new university campus
By Galina Yakshonak Posted on 18 September 2012
Earlier this month, much of the world’s political and economic attention was riveted on Russky Island off Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. This was the venue of the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week – and the site of a new university campus made possible by the summit and supported by a longtime publishing partnership.
In Soviet times, Russky Island was closed to the public, housing military units that included the famous Vladivostok Fortress. Since then, the island has become a popular holiday destination, in part because there had never been an industrial construction there.
In 2007, it was chosen as the place for the APEC Leaders summit, and large-scale construction was launched, including new buildings for Far Eastern Federal University, which hosted the APEC Leaders’ Week.
“The Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is very important for Russia as a whole, but also of great importance for the Far Eastern Federal University,” said Dr. Sergei Ivanets, president of the university, at a press conference for Russian and foreign media on September 2, the first day of the APEC summit.
He then pointed out that one of the outcomes of the summit would be opening the Far Eastern Federal University on Russky island.
Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) is a leading university in the Russian Far East. A Russian federal university, it was created by presidential decree in October 2009 as one of four major Far Eastern universities with a history spanning over 120 years. The university is charged with an important mandate in this strategic region: providing large-scale investment projects with technological developments and innovations, which are being implemented in the Far East with highly qualified staff.
The mandate has already seen results as experienced scientists and young researchers carry on the university’s rich scientific heritage. Recently, for example, the student team from the Far Eastern Federal University won the world championship on underwater robots, ROVs at the 2012 MATE International ROV Competition, in Orlando, Florida. The FEFU team, Primorye Coast, competed against more than 20 teams from different countries, including the United States, China, India, Great Britain and Egypt.
Primary research areas of the university’s scientists are energy and energy-saving technologies, resources of the world ocean, biomedicine, nanosystems and nanomaterials. These areas are reinforced by various development and international partnership programs launched by FEFU.
An international partnership
The principles of cooperation for one of these programs were discussed at the meeting of university leaders and Elsevier representatives (JC Heyneke, Director of Global Business Development, andGalina Yakshonak, Customer Development Manager for Russia and Belarus) during Netherlands Ambassador Ron Keller’s trade mission to Vladivostok in May. This partnership will help FEFU create a world-class scientific and educational center and enhance the competitiveness of the Far Eastern researchers in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Meanwhile, their partnership has led to the creation of theAPEC ASPIRE Prize.
The 2012 winner was Dr. Rossa Wai Kwun, a chemical pathologist from Hong Kong who was recognized for her research on the development of a non-invasive prenatal test for Down’s syndrome.
The prize was presented at the APEC Leaders’ Week by Dr. Ivanets, president of FEFU, and Dr. Brad Fenwick, a key organizer of the ASPIRE Prize program who recently became Senior VP of Global Strategic Alliances at Elsevier after after serving as Senior Science Advisor for the US Department of State.
“Scientific research and innovation are essential for the economic prosperity within the APEC region and the rest of the world,” Dr. Fenwick said at the ASPIRE Prize ceremony on Sept. 7. “In addition to actively supporting research and innovation efforts, we must also encourage knowledge sharing among the science and technology community. APEC has worked hard establishing and fostering scientific innovations in this region. The remarkable new campus of FEFU is evidence the commitment by the Russian Federation to advanced learning and research. Elsevier and other scientific publishers are proud to contribute to the creation of new knowledge and its application, and to have the opportunity to recognize outstanding scientists.”
“Scientific networks in the Asia-Pacific region will play an increasingly important role in sharing of scientific knowledge, innovations and discoveries,” said Dr. Ivanets, using the example of Dr. Chiu’s research and its widespread applications.“FEFU’s participation and support during APEC Global Summit held this year here in Russia have been truly valuable,” saidDr. Igor Osipov, Regional Director of Elsevier Russia and Belarus. “We have worked together with the university and its president, Dr. Ivanets, for some years now and are very honored to further strengthen our long-standing collaboration. With the ever increasing focus on science in the Far Eastern region, FEFU is destined to quickly increase its role as a significant team player in the global science arena.”
Immediately after the APEC summit, the new FEFU’s campus opened its doors to students and researchers, providing them with the unique educational and discovery environment created on Russky Island.[divider]
Galina Yakshonak is a Customer Development Manager for Elsevier in Russia and Belarus. She is based in Moscow.