Cooperation plans, its directions and even specific projects were discussed by Michael Zgurovsky, the rector of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Academician of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, with the Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield (University of Sheffield or UoS, Great Britain), and Dr Malcolm Butler, Vice-President and Director of Global Engagement, during a meeting on December 9. Sergii Sydorenko, vice-rector for international cooperation of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, also took part in it. Of course, this meeting was held online, but this did not prevent participants from reaching an agreement on all the subjects brought up in the conversation.
It was not about the initiation, but about the expansion of cooperation, because it began back in April of this year, when Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute joined the Unification initiative by the universities of Great Britain and the Cormack Consultancy Group. The essence of this initiative is to establish and develop close partnership relations between Ukrainian and British universities. Partner universities can provide Ukrainian higher educational institutions with the assistance in academic mobility programs implementation; participate in joint projects for submitting applications for grants; provide free access to its online courses and library holdings; raise and transfer funds for the support and restoration of Ukrainian universities, etc. In addition, the activities of British universities (to which, by the way, higher educational institutions of the USA, Canada and the EU can join) and the Cormack Consultancy Group also aim to prevent a brain drain and help Ukrainian universities emerge from the war stronger and more experienced, thus playing an important role in post-war reconstruction.
The University of Sheffield, which is among the 24 best universities of Great Britain united in the Russell Group, and is also a member of the informal group "Red Brick Universities” which includes only six leading British universities located in the country's major industrial cities. Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has been developing contacts with Sheffield intensively since the spring. For example, specialists of the Scientific and Technical Library of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute actively cooperate with colleagues from the university library of Sheffield. Among their common endeavors is cooperation in the field of open science, implementation of the experience of using library services by English colleagues to support learning, teaching and conducting research in the Library of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute work practice. The University of Sheffield has provided Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute with full free access to online tools for performing virtual laboratory work developed in it. Agreements were reached on the transfer to Kyiv of the professor Andy Tyas’s author's lecture module "Effect of explosions on structures'' (it will be a 12-week online course with weekly inclusions for the possibility of direct communication with the students of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute), as well as the initiation of joint research activities on this issue. In addition, the University of Sheffield is giving Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute computer equipment to improve the hardware base at the Supercomputing Center. Sheffield has already transferred £20,000 to the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Support Foundation for the reconstruction and equipment of university bomb shelters and creating in them safe conditions for students and teachers, necessary for the organization of a smooth educational process.
Of course, one of the main goals of establishing friendly contacts with Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on the part of the British university is to support its students and scientists during the war. But not only. After all, there are interesting developments in both universities, which are quite advanced for carrying out joint research and implementing innovative projects on a specific subject. Therefore, during the online meeting, Professor Lamberts distinguished works in the fields of hydrogen and storage energy, development of nuclear technologies, agricultural technology, and others as advantageous for cooperation.
In turn, Michael Zgurovsky invited his English colleagues to participate in the creation and launch of university nanosatellites. Scientists of Sheffield also received an offer to work together with scientists of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on the development and implementation of a pilot project of post-war innovative transformation of Ukraine on the basis of the All-Ukrainian Innovation Ecosystem “Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine”, which was created at the university. The participants of the meeting agreed that the emphasis in cooperation in this area should be on the academic dimension of this activity. And the first step on this path should be the formation of groups in separate fields and brainstorming effective solutions to certain problems with access to a large joint project. The persons responsible for communications on this issue were also pointed: on the Ukrainian part, this is Inna Malyukova, the head of the Sikorsky Challenge Startup Schools Network, which is an integral part, or rather the core, of the Innovation Ecosystem "Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine", (it is her who is responsible for the preparation of materials on this issue), on the British part - Sue Hartley, Vice-President for Research of the University of Sheffield.
"We are really happy to start cooperation with the University of Sheffield. It is similar to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in many ways: it was created in 1905 and it has many areas of studies similar to the areas we have - Michael Zgurovsky said after the meeting. - Joint work on the post-war transformation project of Ukraine will be extremely important. We agreed on the creation of a group that would work on the platform of such a transformation, giving priority to its academic dimension, since the platform itself would have political, economic and other dimensions, and we would take the initiative to develop its academic aspects. This joint group will start working soon. We plan to participate in the Ukrainian-British project, we count on receiving a grant from Great Britain to support this project, the purpose of which is to offer our country a transformation from a raw, low-tech economy to a high-tech and innovative one, since Ukraine, in our opinion, has no other way ".
Therefore, the prototype of such a transformational model will be the Innovation Ecosystem ``Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine". At the same time, Kyiv polytechnicians will be involved in joint programs with universities in Great Britain and other advanced countries initiated by Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and Sheffield. That is, they will be able to participate in advanced research, work on modern laboratory equipment, immerse themselves in actual and extremely important problems for humanity, thus receiving an impetus for their own further development. And the project itself should become a certain integrator, which will unite all areas of joint activity of University of Sheffield and Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
"This is a partnership, cooperation with a university that achieved great triumphs in the field of high technologies and innovative development. The six Nobel laureates who graduated from this university are a vivid embodiment of such development. And it is very important for us to work with the scientific schools of such scientists," - Michael Zgurovsky added.
Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Expands Scientific Cooperation
Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, together with the University of Sheffield, plans to create and launch nanosatellites into space and engage in the post-war innovative transformation of Ukraine — the transition to high-end manufacturing.
The partnership between the universities takes place within the Unification initiative by the Cormack Consultancy Group, under which the Higher Educational Institutions of Ukraine cooperate with sister universities from Great Britain.