Federal Universities are relatively new and society still discusses their role in the development of higher professional education, science and innovations on the regional level and on level of federal districts.
By establishment federal universities were regarded as educational and scientific centers not only of that region where they are situated, but of the corresponding federal districts. However educational and research “niches” of regions included into districts were occupied by their own Universities and research centers, there occurred misunderstanding between the role federal universities claimed to and real situation. For example, concentration of research centers in the Volga region federal district is very high – there are 6 research institutes and more than 300 universities.
As result, federal universities and regional universities became competitors on Russian and district level. We should take into account that regional universities and research centers are more close to Russian regions where they are situated. In this case they try to protect their market and special relations with region`s authorities and keep distance from cooperation with federal universities.
And what is effective and profitable model of cooperation between region, federal university and other universities on district level?
First of all, it concerns cooperation in research. As far as federal universities get special support from government (within development program they receive 1 billion rubles), so they have, undoubtedly, more opportunities in forming and financing competitive educational and research laboratories and attracting leading specialists.
One form of such cooperation is establishment at federal universities common use centers. This way has chosen KFU, when there was organized Common use center for conduction of physical and chemical researches of substances and materials. Currently, more than 50 outside organizations use its device and material base. Now KFU is forming Common use center in the sphere of biopharmaceuticals.
Another direction is cooperation in training and retraining of universities Faculty members and research institutes staff. We think that federal university should not claim to monopolistic position in training the basic specialists. Regional universities adequately cope with this task. So, in this field the main university mission lies in training the university staff. According to changing market requirements and trends federal university should construct anticipatory educational technologies oriented on satisfaction of needs in specialists that will be in high demand in the nearest future, get unique equipment and invite the best world scientists and specialists. We think that we can overcome challenge set by our authorities on enhancing general level of education through improving quality of Faculty members and research staff, development of new Master`s programs and graduation of specialists with new competencies in demand.
Certainly, this is a complicated task and to cope with it federal universities should have additional powers.
Granting to federal university powers on carrying out state accreditation of higher educational establishments and forming of long-term educational programs and curriculums of researches in district will provide an essential support to this problem. Currently, there are a lot of serious contradictions and disagreements between such programs and curriculums. Federal universities could take responsibility on their harmonization and synchronization.
It is desirable to allow regions and municipal institutions direct financing of joint projects with federal universities among which the most needed are:
Another problem is impossibility of receiving by autonomous non-commercial organizations, including federal universities, direct state order or co-financing from Federation regions in the framework of existing legislation.
In a number of regions, e.g. in Arhangelskiy and in Krasnoyarskiy region, this problem was solved by accepting regional laws for support of their federal universities. Similar law was prepared in Tatarstan.
Let us discuss cooperation with federal universities. What reasons may cause enterprises to cooperate with federal university, except for sphere of training qualified staff? They possess their own specialized subdivisions dealing with research, design and experimental works, applied institutes and their own innovations. What can federal university offer above all mentioned?
I am firmly convicted that federal universities should not compete with these organizations and, moreover, substitute them. Our strong side is fundamental training. Enterprises` functions joint with universities will present real support in organization of students` industrial placement. Furthermore, participation of enterprises in the process of task setting for university scientists and receiving recommendations concerning fitting universities with laboratory equipment from industrial organizations is very important. As it is significant to teach students to work with this equipment, so they will bу ready to work on factories.
To sum up, it is important to mention critical need in efficient mechanism of coordinating the strategies of development of various levels: federal districts, regions and federal universities. Currently, the de facto situation is the following: strategies are weakly coordinated with each other in tasks, objectives, mechanisms and the most important indicators; this does not allow to reach synergetic effect by their realization.
Discussion of conditions, stated in this article, with colleagues from other federal universities, institutes of higher education and representatives of state power, allows to make a conclusion that role of federal universities in strategic development of regions and country in general, is still a subject for scientific and practical search. In this connection author of this article would be pleased if it served as matter for discussion with participation of all interested in becoming of federal universities the real instruments of country innovative tool.
Doctor of Science in Economy, Professor,
Rector of Kazan Federal University