On March 31 Ilshat Gafurov, KFU Rector, and Dan E. Davidson, President of American Councils, signed a cooperation agreement in the headquarters of AC in Washington D.C.
The meeting was attended by Roald Sagdeev, academician of Russian Academy of Sciences, professor of Physics at Maryland University, honorary doctor of KFU; vice rectors Danis Nurgaliev and Linar Latypov; Ravil Nigmetzyanov, representative of Tatarstan at Trade Representation Office of Russia in the US; Randy Levinas, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of U.S.-Russia Business Council and others.
Cooperation of KFU with American Councils has been almost two decades long. In 1990s, representatives of AC came to Kazan University to select candidates for UGRAD, JFDP and Muskie scholarships.
Currently, the main direction of cooperation is organizing individual research and study trips as well as group programs for American undergraduate, graduate students and faculty members.
Considering existing business cooperation, in July 2013 the AC proposed joint participation with KFU in the American-Russian Innovation Corridor. This project aims to help Russian universities to switch from purely theoretical studies to applied technologies. In January 2014 the American Councils announced the process of accepting applications for participation in the Innovation Corridor. The application was extended to Russian start-up companies working at universities, entrepreneurs and executives of innovative projects interested in establishing cooperation with U.S. partners, business incubators in order to have access to the network of American contacts in their respective industries.
14 small innovative enterprises applied from KFU. Chosen directions included web technology, environmental innovation, development of biological products for plant protection and food from the growth of molds, innovative technologies in education, laser physics, etc.
President Dan E. Davidson in his welcoming speech emphasized the importance of personal meetings and negotiations between representatives of the university community, as only the live communication makes it possible to find common ground. He expressed the hope that the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of science and education will be assigned to the establishment of joint research and business projects.
KFU Rector Gafurov thanked the President for organizing the visit of KFU delegation in the U.S. and the warm welcome. He summed up the negotiations with the representatives of two universities, in particular, of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University.
At the University of Pennsylvania, they met with experts in the field of petroleum engineering. Vice-rector for research at KFU Danis Nurgaliev identified three potential areas of cooperation with American experts: in creating models of oil and gas fields, in the research and design of hydraulic fracturing, and the study of the pore space of rocks and processes saturation tight reservoirs using SPECT.
KFU delegation attended nanocenter and met with the senior researcher of cell and developmental biology Rustam Litvinov. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Basic Medicine and Biology at KFU and several times a year comes to the University to deliver lectures. Moreover, he and his students from all over the world have participated in the launch of Open lab in KFU, which conducts research in one of the priority areas of medicine.
In further discussion of mutually beneficial cooperation Ilshat Gafurov expressed readiness to assist in the opening of a representative office of the American Councils on the basis of KFU. Representative office, in his opinion, could be a valid platform for the development and strengthening of relations between the US and Tatarstan universities. Rector also noted that Kazan University has the opportunity to start distance courses of the Russian language, which could make a significant contribution to the promotion of the Russian language among Americans.
Dan E. Davidson responded positively to this idea and promised to come back to this issue when discussing the nuances.
Today, April 1, the final day of the working visit to the United States the delegation of KFU visited BioMaryland Center (Baltimore), part of the Department of Business and Economic Development of Maryland. This center establishes communication between the companies engaged in life sciences research, education, and scientists working at the national level, as well as between them and potential investors, partners, customers, and other resources.