For the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, the past year turned out to be difficult, but interesting and rich in achievements. Andrey Rudskoy, Rector of SPbPU, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke about new discoveries, cutting-edge technologies and preparations for the 125th anniversary of the university in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Andrey Ivanovich, 2022 brought many challenges for the economy and the scientific and educational sphere. How did this affect the life of the Polytechnic University? Which vectors of its development had to be adjusted, and which remain unchanged?
Andrei Rudskoy: Of course, the Polytechnic University, as the largest engineering university in Russia, lives in unison with the country, with the socio-political and economic processes that are currently taking place. Understanding the urgent need for import substitution, we greatly reoriented the scientific-technical base and updated our interaction with the national industry.
The development strategy of the Polytechnic University is aimed at covering the key needs of biotechnology, microelectronics, the energy industry, unmanned vehicles and controlled thermonuclear fusion. Last year, our scientists developed eight analogues of foreign solutions. Today we feel a great demand for developments in the field of cybersecurity, there is a growing interest from the energy and oil and gas industries.
In 2022, one of the most important events at the Polytechnic University was the creation of the Advanced Engineering School “Digital Engineering”, the main goal of which is to solve frontier engineering tasks formulated by the leaders of Russian industry and to train qualified engineers. personnel with world-class competencies according to these tasks. For example, in 2022, the NSP SPbPU has already trained 1,374 specialists. And in 2023, it is planned to develop and implement more than 20 projects worth more than 400 million rubles. In total, the university was supported by 22 Russian high-tech companies, which planned co-financing of the SPbPU NSP development program until 2030 in the amount of more than 1.6 billion rubles.
Last year we redirected the areas of foreign cooperation, and we also changed the vector in the field of distance education. The leading Chinese platform XuetangX has become a new partner of the university: now our university can publish educational content on the resources of colleagues in this country.
Separately, I note that the Polytechnic University has always been famous for its patriotic and volunteer activities. But lately, we have mobilized even more around targeted assistance for soldiers of the Northern Military District and residents of new regions of the Russian Federation. The polytechnics personally brought 10 tons of humanitarian aid there.
The “quality mark” of the Polytechnic University remains unchanged: cutting-edge scientific research, a high level of educational services and a rich student life.
What did the implementation of the “Priority 2030” strategic academic leadership program give the university? What will it be filled with in 2023?
Andrey Rudskoy: Thanks to this program, we have focused on bringing our developments to a high level of technological readiness. So, in 2022, our scientists created 21 products ready to be implemented in the country’s economy. As part of the program, polytechnics work on projects in the field of medical biotechnology, microelectronics, sensors, develop engineering software, intelligent systems, and create innovative materials for the oil industry.
The SPbPU Flight Control Center for Pilgrims and Unmanned Vehicles is a modern scientific and educational center equipped with tools for Earth and space exploration Photo: SPbPU press service
Priority 2030 funds also help engage talented young people in relevant research projects. We pay special attention to the development of digital skills among students: in one year we managed to open seven trending IT programs.
The goals for 2023 are ambitious and a start has already been made. Thus, under the development program, the Polytechnic University launches small-scale production of import substitution for the oil and gas industry and creates a large platform for the development of unmanned vehicles.
Plastic of the future, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a sled for a world champion and much more: SPbPU scientists are developing in various fields. Which of them do you consider especially significant and promising today?
Andrey Rudskoy: Any success of our scientists is a step forward for our country. It is very important to have national technologies, especially in areas that are the locomotive of technological progress.
Among the most significant are discoveries that bring the greatest social and economic benefits. A cure for Alzheimer’s disease is undoubtedly one of the most important studies. Our scientists have developed a treatment method and are now on their way to creating a drug. Laboratory research continues, then clinical trials will follow, and in the next few years we will have the world’s first drug that will help millions of people.
In the Molecular Neurodegeneration Laboratory of the SPbPU Institute of Biomedical Systems and Biotechnology Photo: SPbPU Press Service
The same story with the “miracle plastic”: where have you seen that an airplane is made of polymers? And our scientists have created and patented a device with which plastic can be made stronger than many metals.
I also consider the sled, designed by university engineers with the help of advanced technology for the development of a digital twin for athlete Roman Repilov, a great success. In December, he won the Federation Cup in a new sled.
I would like to note another excellent example of working with an industrial company: our NTI Center specialists, together with partners, have developed a prototype of a software and hardware system for automated detection of fabric defects. It has already been put into trial operation on the production line of the Teikovsky cotton mill in the Ivanovo region.
The close connection between science and production is a distinctive feature of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Last year, our industry was restructuring work in the new economic reality – how did the university contribute to this process?
Andrei Rudskoy: We focus on solving pressing industrial problems, conducting cutting-edge scientific research, creating advanced educational programs, and other factors that guarantee our country’s sovereignty and national security.
Under the conditions of the new reality, not even the substitution of imports, but the advance of imports acquires a special value. Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University always strives to create the best products. For this, the university develops and applies advanced technologies: digital design and simulation, computer engineering and supercomputer, platform and other solutions.
Today, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University is the leading center of competence in the field of creating products using digital twin technology, a key tool for the digital industry.
The development of digital platforms allows combining advanced technologies. Our developers annually improve the CML-Bench™ digital twin development and application platform. It has received many high awards, is included in the Russian software registry, and is actively implemented in the largest companies.
Thus, the university contributes to the digital transformation of the industry. The Pedro el Grande Polytechnic University is an active participant in these large-scale transformations. In addition, the vast majority of our projects are real industrial orders, as they say, “from the market”. The importance of the tasks to be solved is determined by the current scientific, educational and industrial agenda. The state forms a strategic request, companies set specific science-intensive tasks, and we solve them.
How is the university preparing for its 125th anniversary in 2024?
Andrey Rudskoy: Several events dedicated to the anniversary of the university will be held this year. The upcoming holidays have a logo and visual elements. We want all the polytechnics and guests of the university to be imbued with the spirit of the anniversary. To that end, iconic art objects and retrospective exhibitions will soon open on campus.
The anniversary of the Polytechnic University will be noticed in the city: together with our partners, we will open exhibitions, installations and carry out festive promotions.
An important event in 2023 will be the All-Russian Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, which will take place from August 21 to 25. The largest event in the country in this area has been held every four years for more than 60 years, and each time in a new city. The congress will be held in St. Petersburg for the first time, and the Polytechnic University will become its general partner.