Adapt the best practices of the world's universities and take leadership positions

From the report of the Vice-Rector for International Relations S.I. Sydorenko at the Academic Council of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on January 29, 2021.

The dramatic events of 2020 to some extent complicated, but did not suspend the development of the international sphere of the university in accordance with the Strategy of its development until 2025, namely: to be in the first thousand in the world rankings, to reach the number of 1500-1600 foreign citizens studying at KPI, to increase the supply of international projects submitted by our departments by 3-5 times.

Improving the management of the international sphere of the university. Over the past year, the areas responsible for the management of the international sphere in the structures of vice-rectors for scientific, educational and educational-mentor work have been strengthened; international offices under the deans of faculties / directors of institutes for the preparation of project proposals and the formation of international consortia to participate in competitions for funding from international sources were formed; the column "To the project manager on a note" to which more than 20 materials, recommendations, regulations are sent is opened in the newspaper "Kyiv Polytechnic"; "Information platform of opportunities of international project-grant programs" in scientific-innovative and educational spheres ("Intermozaika") - an interactive web service for organizers and participants of international project-grant activity (https://intermozaika.kpi.ua), which is fixed by the certificate on the object of intellectual property rights and has no analogues in other universities of Ukraine is developed.

In order to reform the work on the recruitment of foreign citizens to study at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, the Concept of this work was approved, the deep idea of which is to help our educational programs to start working in the international markets of educational services. The number of foreign citizens becomes an indicator of the competitiveness of each educational program! Economic incentives for teachers are introduced: of the funds allocated to the faculties, up to 39.5 - 49.5% are directed to teachers who work directly with foreign students and graduate students. As for the positions of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the rankings, the profiles of departments introduced the parameters required by world rankings, and this now affects the calculation of funding for departments.

Practical results of SMS activity with departments and divisions.  It should be noted that the international activity of the university in 2020 was quite high - 103 international events were held: 42 conferences (37 of them online), we were attended by more than 300 specialists in 61 foreign delegations (including 18 online visits). 199 of our students and graduate students went on included training and internships - 11% more than a year ago.

Important agreements have been reached in talks on new issues with the ambassadors of 9 countries (China, Turkey, Argentina, Montenegro, Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Switzerland) and delegations from four continents. With the Ambassadors of Turkey and Argentina - on the Ukrainian-Turkish and Ukrainian-Argentine Centres in the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, with the CRDF Civil Research Foundation, USA - on cooperation in the field of cybersecurity, with the National Space Administration of China - on a new level of cooperation in the field of peaceful space exploration, on a broad program of student exchanges - with Montenegro; with the Business Association of Japan and the JICA office in Ukraine - on the innovative component in the work of the Ukrainian-Japanese Centre and on participation in the Sikorsky Challenge Festival, with a zone of special development of

Chongqing,  China - on scientific and technical cooperation on the model of the Ukrainian Science and Technology Centre.

Regarding Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute's positions in world rankings:  the decline in the global QS ranking has been suspended (today it is in the 701-750 position range). Elevated positions in the regional EECA QS ranking (66th in the ranking and second place among Ukrainian universities). Returned the first place in the National rating "TOP 200". Confirmed the leadership positions of two educational engineering programs ("Engineering - Electrical & Electronic" and "Engineering - Mechanical, Aeronautical"), which again entered the top 500 in the subject rating QS and became the best in these programs among Ukrainian universities. In the subject rating THE, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute for the first time entered the top 1000 in three subject areas: business and economics, computer science and engineering. Today, KPI is among the top 4% of the world's 26,000 universities and has the maximum ratio from the contribution of international activities to the formula for calculating funding for 2020.

Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute integrates the best experience of the organization of educational process and development of potential of higher school - using mechanisms of projects of the EU programs, Erasmus + (FMM, FSP), Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Improving the Quality of Higher Education EURASIA (XTF, IEE, FMF, MMI, FMM), National Academic Exchange Agency of Poland NAWA (IEE),United States Agency for International Development USAID (IEE, IPO).

A total of 151 international educational projects were implemented in 2020. Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute internationalization is deepening both through 41 educational projects - a double degree program with universities in 11 countries, and through international student mobility: these are 55 mobility projects of the Erasmus + program of KA1 level. 

Another characteristic of internationalization is the number of foreign citizens studying at KPI: even under the conditions of the pandemic, it was increased to 713 (in 2019 it was 663), almost half of them study in English.

72 projects were implemented in the field of international project-grant activity in the scientific sphere. Among them are 3 projects of the NATO program "Science for Peace and Security" (FPM, PBF, IMZ), 6 - bilateral with Lithuania, the Czech Republic, China, Latvia, India and Poland (IMZ, XTF, FEA), 3 projects - under the program " Horizon 2020 "(IMZ, IEE, FEL, FIOT).

International sphere for university development. Today the university is developing at the expense of external sources, which is a favourable factor for the development of the international sphere. I want to name the units that have performed well:

  • in the number of international educational and scientific and technical projects - FMM, IMZ, VPI, TEF, FEL;
  • in the amount of project funding - TEF, FPM, FMM, IASA, IEE;
  • in the cost of equipment from abroad and charitable assistance - RTF, IAT, TEF, FEL, MMI;
  • in the number of individual grants - FEL, FTI, VPI, TEF, FEA.

And in the group of positive achievements ahead - TEF, FEL, IMZ, HTF, FMM.

What has international activity brought us to the educational process? For example, at the Faculty of Electronics about 1 million UAH for training and research laboratory from GlobalLogic Ukraine on IT design technologies embedded systems (embedded systems): development of embedded solutions and software for medical devices, various automotive applications, computer vision systems, on-board computers, etc. UAH 600,000 from Tower Jazz and Cadence, State of Israel, for the creation of a world-class training laboratory for the design of analog circuits at the same faculty.

And also - a joint Ukrainian-Chinese laboratory of space research at the IAT (through projects funded by the Chinese side) and equipment for the Academy of Huawei Ukraine in Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (information and network technologies). In addition, 19 university teachers have improved their qualification in the educational programs "Boeing" - "Progrestech". MMI is creating a School for the training of escalator and elevator repairmen, joint projects "Space Elevator" for Smart City with funding from Samsung. The US Department of Energy has donated a $ 0.5 million nuclear simulator to TEF.

In total, international project and grant activities in 2020 brought the university - an estimated - more than $ 1.7 million. Contribution from educational services to foreign citizens and their accommodation - $ 1.44 million. 497 individual grants in the framework of international cooperation - scholarships for inclusive education and / or research internships, trips to international conferences, business trips abroad, under individual employment agreements - brought scientists and students of the university about $ 0.89 million.

In general, in 2020 the amount of funds from all forms of international activity amounted to - estimated - about 4.07 million dollars. (UAH 113.66 million).

Actual problems and tasks for 2020 - 2025.

Deeper internationalization of the university is needed: strengthening the international component in all parts of its activities and improving its parameters. This should lead to a strengthening of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute position in the world rankings of universities. Today these positions are low. An integrated assessment is eloquent: overall level of 16.0% of the leader - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute was the first university in Ukraine to enter the global QS ranking in 2011, but over the years it has lost its leading position and is currently the fourth (after Kharkiv Karazin National University,  Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko, National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute"). Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute places in the THE rating are also low among the nine universities of Ukraine included in this rating.

The main reason for this situation is that in the evaluation of our activities over the years we have been "closed" to internally oriented coordinate systems. Did not react in time to, so to speak, "hints" from world rankings, the provisions of which today become an argument in the struggle for resources, finance, basic research funding, for the student number, for the impact on policy in education, science and innovation . And they need to be addressed.

Although it takes time for all of us to psychologically adapt to such a new system, we also need a balanced "University Action Program to strengthen KPI's position in world rankings" - a "road map" for all activities - both at all management levels and at individual (scientific-pedagogical and scientific workers). Adoption of such a program should be completed in February.

Special parameters of the level of internationalization are international student mobility. It is necessary to increase both the number of students, graduate students of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, leaving for the included training and scientific internship, and the number of foreign citizens on English-language education in Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Here are the quantitative parameters that we should focus on. The share of foreign students in the structure of the student body in Luxembourg, for example, is about 47%. In Ukraine, the largest number of foreign students (about 4,200 people) is at Kharkiv Karazin National University.   Today Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has 3.2% (about 700) of foreign citizens.

22 promising countries for cooperation in this area have been identified: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Morocco, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Senegal, Kuwait, Congo, Israel, Egypt.

The new "Concept of the university's system of recruitment of foreign citizens for study - under new conditions" is expected to reach the number of foreign citizens at the level of 1500-1600, 5-6% in the structure of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. To do this, it is necessary to really bring Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute educational programs to the international educational markets. Therefore, it is necessary to study the situation of international markets for each specific educational program in different countries - on the one hand, and on the other - to strengthen the participation of department heads in the recruitment process through planning ("kpi") in contracts with managers at all levels and control for their implementation. It is necessary to intensify the search for talented students from foreign countries, to work with national funds to support talented students to study abroad.

European universities have almost 10 -100 times more income from research grants than us. For example, by the number of Horizon 2020 projects: in Ukraine - 217 (in Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute - 6), in Estonia - 631 (in Tallinn TU - 74), in Poland - 1795 (in Warsaw Polytechnic - 53). To change the situation for the better, it is necessary to overcome the existing gap with Europe - to include the scientific potential of the university in the ERA (European Research Area) by increasing 3-5 times the number of projects submitted by departments to international project grants.

As a rule, each department should participate in international grant programs, of which there are about 3,000 in the world, in particular - in the European Union programs "Horizon Europe", "Erasmus +" for the development of higher education potential, "EURASIA", NATO's “Science for Peace and Security” program, bilateral cooperation and others. To do this, it is necessary to strengthen the international scientific mobility of young scientists on individual grants - as the basis of the so-called "pyramid of project-grant activity", accepted in the world. Strengthening the international scientific mobility of undergraduates, graduate students, young scientists, we consider as a driver of international project-grant activities development. This is a way to increase Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute participation in international consortia that submit project proposals to international grant programs, and - as a result - to increase Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute international science grants.

There are many other tasks. Include new mechanisms to intensify the work of primary units in the international sphere. Rely on young teachers and young scientists. Overcome psychological barriers, fears of the international sphere. Improve the elements of motivation and reporting of teachers. To strengthen the role of activity characteristics in international cooperation in the indicators of NPP ratings.

The updated regulatory framework should really work as a more advanced than it is today, a management tool to increase the efficiency of international activities, to increase revenues to the university. We need to continue to introduce moral and economic motivators to support those who organize and develop the international sphere and have already achieved results.

And finally - let me express my gratitude to all those who actively worked for the development of international cooperation and laid the foundations for further establishment in the world of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and our state!