This forum brings together rectors from leading Russian and UK universities to discuss cooperation in education and science. During the forum the participants will talk about the effects of pandemics on HEI sector, opportunities and plans for long-term cooperation between Russian and UK universities in the post-pandemic era, plans for the visit of a Russian rectors' delegation to the UK in October 2021, and will share ideas in preparation for the Russian-British Year in 2022.
The level of collaboration between the two countries is already quite high. Over 350 agreements have been signed in the areas of research and development and scientific work, within the framework of which dozens of joint projects are currently being carried out involving hundreds of qualified researchers. Additionally, 20 UK scientists recognised as leading world experts in their areas were awarded grants to set up labs in leading Russian universities. Over the last 5 years Russian Federation supported over 50 projects with UK scientists in such vital areas as energy efficiency, transport and economic systems, nanotechnologies, nuclear energy, information and communication systems, and sustainable development of nature resources. Overall, the value of Russian investment in such projects amounted 921mln roubles.
The UK government is keen to offer further support for student exchange. There is funding available for joint scientific projects and there is a commitment to increase spend on R&D to 2,4% of GDP, and not only in health sciences. The pandemic seems to have made politicians appreciate scientific cooperation even more. The UK will remain part of the Horizon Europe scheme despite leaving the EU, so scientific collaborations between Russia and the UK supported by this scheme will continue. The recently announced International Education Strategy, including the new Turing programme offers new schemes to support student mobility. There is a clear desire to see more UK students in Russia, and Russian students in the UK.
Both countries have a lot to offer to each other, and the global pandemic has only once again highlighted the value of international collaboration with the creativity and imagination that our universities and research institutions can offer. Development of COVID vaccines is a clear indication of how joint efforts help to tackle global challenges. During the first Russian UK Rectors forum hosted by the Russian Union of Rectors in 2019 Grigory Trubnikov, former First Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education said, that bridges in science and education are the strongest and can stand against global turbulence, and this forum is a vivid evidence of mutual interest in expanding cooperation between our countries.