A delegation from Hiroshima University (Japan) led by its President Mitsuo Ochi has visited St Petersburg University. The participants signed an agreement on cooperation between the universities and outlined priority areas for working together.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University, welcomed the guests. He noted that over the last five years the number of joint publications, including some major international collaborations, has reached 206. During this period there has been a threefold increase in the total number of scientific articles written by University scientists in collaboration with their Japanese colleagues, and a fivefold increase in student and academic staff exchanges with Japanese universities.

Current priority areas for St Petersburg University include: biomedicine; materials science; nanotechnologies; Arctic studies; managerial training; and information technology. The University regularly develops new graduate and postgraduate academic programmes in these and other scientific areas.

There are 450 bachelor, master and doctoral programmes at St Petersburg University.

The school of Oriental Studies of St Petersburg University is one of the strongest in the world. The University makes full use of its major competitive advantage in this area by including oriental components in various academic programmes. These range from management and tourism to economics and law. For example, besides teaching the Japanese language, the University actively develops academic programmes with Japanese components. This year the University begins accepting applications for the programme  ‘Laws (with advanced study of the Japanese language and the law of Japan)’. A similar programme with advanced study of the law of the People’s Republic of China started two years ago and the demand among applicants remains high. Students of the academic programme ‘International Management’ can choose Japanese, Chinese or Korean language to study as an extra subject. Nikolay Kropachev also noted that the University actively cooperates with Japanese businesses, including such major companies as Panasonic, Mitsui & Co, JTI and many others.

Mitsuo Ochi, President of Hiroshima University, acknowledged the cooperative efforts which made it possible to sign the memorandum. ‘St Petersburg University enjoys a high reputation worldwide: it is a leading educational institution which can boast eight Nobel Prize winners. Hiroshima University also has a long history and today it is ranked among the thirteen best Japanese institutions in the Top Global University Project. There are 15,000 students including 2,000 foreign citizens,’ said Mitsuo Ochi. ‘As far as I know, the cooperation between Hiroshima University and St Petersburg University began in 2004. I hope that the agreement that we have signed will serve as the groundwork for further research in various scientific fields.’

Mitsuo Ochi said that Hiroshima University has a long tradition of space research, and research in nanotechnology and semiconductor processes. Within these areas the universities can pursue and develop their cooperation. Biomedicine, and thoracic surgery in particular, seems to be another promising area of interaction.

During the meeting Nikolay Kropachev approached Mitsuo Ochi with an offer to include Japanese scientists on the educational councils of such St Petersburg University academic programmes as: ‘Japanese Philology (Japanese and Chinese)’; ‘Oriental Artistic Culture’; and ‘Law (with advanced study of the Japanese language and the law of Japan)’. Mitsuo Ochi noted that the academic staff of Hiroshima University not only have all necessary qualifications, but they are currently developing joint graduate programmes in Law with one of their Chinese partners. He promised to consider the possibility of including St Petersburg University in the project.

As a result of the meeting the parties agreed to exchange proposals on triangular cooperation in developing and implementing the academic programme. Also, the universities plan to organise a videoconference between the academic staff of St Petersburg University and Hiroshima University in order to gain a better knowledge of each other’s work and establish new business contacts.