During the summer when the classrooms were quiet due to the pandemic and the holidays the university life was still busy and eventful. A number of events has confirmed that, in spite of all the difficulties, the past academic year was successful for SSU. We have learnt about new opportunities in education and research due to special working conditions in the pandemic. Today we can say that the professors and researchers of Saratov University have used those opportunities very effectively.
In June, Saratov University was highly rated by one of the most authoritative annual international university rankings Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QS). In the new rating, Saratov University is ranked 18th among 28 listed Russian universities. SSU has been included into this rating for the last seven years, and it has steadily been holding high positions among the best universities in the world. In total, QS has included 1002 universities in the ranking table. In the general list, SSU is in the interval group 521–530.
In mid-June, Saratov University was included into the 2020 TOP-20 Best Russian Universities List, according to SuperJob. SSU managed to get into the list of leaders in three directions at once: law, economic, and technical universities. The key criterion for evaluating educational institutions was the level of salaries of employed young professionals who graduated from academies, universities, and institutes in 2014-2019. Together with the level of earnings, the experts also took into account the average USE score of graduates and their desire to stay in their hometown after graduation.
And, in August, SSU has improved its positions in the University National Rating (UNR) in 2020. The rating was presented by Interfax Information Services Group. Included in the first category of universities Saratov University is one of the leading educational organisations in Russia.
Stable high positions in independent international rankings were achieved thanks to the highly-performed research of the entire SSU team. At present, as a support to leading universities, the Government of the Russian Federation invites Saratov University to participate in a grant competition within the Research national project. For this purpose SSU has developed a five-year programme for equipment updating. According to it, the university will purchase and renovate the most modern research hardware systems. The purchased and upgraded equipment will be a part of the all-university resource sharing centre, and a wide range of researchers will be able to use it, therefore, its efficiency will also increase. Due to the implementation of this programme the number of articles in top-rated scientific journals will rise by 25%, the number of young researchers under 39 years of age leading research projects in priority areas will increase by at least one and a half times, and the equipment itself will be useful for the entire powerful research cluster of Saratov Region.
According to SSU Rector, Professor Aleksei Chumachenko, young scientists engaged in the breakthrough interdisciplinary research within Research the national project will break new ground using the modern unique equipment, first of all.
SSU researchers became winners of the 2020 Russian Science Foundation competitions titled the Initiative Research Conducted by Young Scientists and the Research Conducted by Scientific Groups Led by Young Scientists. Three SSU projects were supported within the Presidential Programme of Research Projects and the other two projects will be further implemented, which initially were supported in 2017.
Another SSU journal, Applied Nonlinear Dynamics, was included into Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Earlier DOAJ included such SSU journals as Izvestiya of Saratov University. New Series. Series: Mathematics. Mechanics. Informatics, Izvestiya of Saratov University. New Series. Series: Physics, and Speech Genres. Indexing in DOAJ means that the journals are internationally acknowledged, and the access to full-text content is free.
Besides, published by Saratov University the Speech Genres Journal was included into ERIH PLUS, the European Reference Index for the Humanities. Nowadays the European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences is the biggest world citation index. Due to the ERIH database the journal authors are more likely to be cited by researchers from different countries.
Also we celebrated a few anniversaries last summer. In June, the SSU Faculty of Physics celebrated its 75th anniversary. It was established in 1941, when the Great Patriotic War started. In fact, the physics education and research began when the university was founded – from June 10, 1909. As the faculty dean, Professor Valerii Anikin marked, “Speaking about the reasons to establish the Faculty of Physics in 1945, one of our professors, Peter Golubkov, ranked physics as one of the most extensive areas of nature science, which influences the development of various industries and the national economy, and the growth the defense power of the country. In other words, physics is the foundation of the technical development of human civilization”.
The same anniversary was celebrated by the ‘brothers’ of physicists – the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics as the new faculties appeared after the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics was divided into two parts in 1945 (from June 1, 1917 the joined faculty was headed by one of its founders – Professor Vladimir Zernov).
Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, Professor Andrei Zakharov quoted the academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Kashin, “Saratov is a special point on the map of Russia where many mathematical talents were born. The Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics has taught thousands of highly qualified specialists. Among them are outstanding scientists, members of the Academy of Sciences, and laureates of the State Prize for Science and Technology and the State Prize for Defence. Our graduates form the new digital economy.”
In addition, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the SSU Veteran Council last summer. Today this public organisation consists of more than 1,000 people. The council provides welfare service for the veterans and moderates events for them as well as strengthens the bonds among generations, including history and patriotism education.
In July, there were announced the results of the traditional universiade. The competitions lasted for a long time – from September 2019 to March 2020. Because of the pandemic it consisted of only fifteen sports disciplines. Nevertheless, our university team became the best among all the other Saratov students!
Also SSU students won the All-Russian Grant Contest for Youth Projects (the Creative Youth Initiatives nomination). Our students offered to hold the first Festival-Contest of Inclusive Dance titled the Pro/Movement in Saratov Region. The other event moderators will be the members of the Inspiration dance club of the Centre for Adaptation and Rehabilitation of Disabled People and the participants of the Wave 2015 Sports Club for Disabled People.
This year the pandemic has influenced not only the lifestyle and working conditions of millions of people but our communication. For the first time in the university history its graduates had their farewell ceremony online. The graduation ceremony in the country was organised on June 27, and on July 2, the students of Saratov University talked about it on the Young Saratov YouTube channel and celebrated it with their friends, ex-groupmates, professors, and parents.
This year the admission campaign has been online in Saratov University, and enrollees applied their documents via SGU.RU. Traditionally, the state-funded places were in favour. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has distributed the 2020 admission quotas for Saratov State University as a leading Russian and the first category university. As its result, the university received 140 state-funded places more. That decision was initiated by President Vladimir Putin who said that the university admission quotas had to be increased.
And, as for another significant event that happened last summer, SSU received 50 state-funded places for its new faculty – the Faculty of Fundamental Medicine and Medical Technologies! The studies will start next academic year there. The faculty establishment was initiated by Chairman of the State Duma of Russia, the first chair of the SSU Board of Trustees Vyacheslav Volodin. It should be noted that for many years the university researchers conducted research in fundamental medicine one of the priority areas of the university, and this fact also played an important role in the faculty foundation.