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Regular version of the site

Here’s what happened at HSE – St. Petersburg in 2021

The HSE – St. Petersburg team prepared a recap of the most significant events of the outgoing 2021 year, while the campus director Anna Tyshetskaya shared her future plans for the campus.

Here’s what happened at HSE – St. Petersburg in 2021

© HSE University – St Petersburg


Throughout the outgoing year, we had to switch between online and in-person studying modes, depending on an epidemiological situation in the city. We have revamped and expanded the campus infrastructure used for carrying out classes and scientific events in a remote mode. Besides, a range of new programmes, courses, projects and initiatives appeared within the campus.

We have launched four new tracks within the following master's double degree programmes:

Also, it was the first time we held a competition for organising joint online courses. As a result, eight courses were implemented with the leading foreign universities: UCL, Princeton University, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki University, UCSC, Indiana University / Smith College, Giessen University, Florida State University.

As a refresher course, a pilot project was launched to develop gamification and student involvement in the educational process. Overall, 17 professors defended their case projects. Some of these projects will be implemented in training courses in the 2021/22 academic year, their development is being carried out with the support of the Online Learning Centre.

We have opened the Digital Support Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences Students. The Centre provides methodological and technological help for both students and professors of interdisciplinary or dual-core programmes which include a second subject block related to data analysis.

Kristina Khamidullina

Kristina Khamidullina, Head of the Department of Educational Programmes, Higher School of Economics — St. Petersburg:
The outgoing year saw a great number of newly arrived international students who were warmly welcomed by the twelfth generation of HSE student mentors, which included 123 people from 13 educational programmes. Second-year students (and in some educational programmes those in the last year of their studies) had to undergo a selection process and pass several stages of training in order to be able to guide the newcomers through their studying experience. The HSE student mentors are always here to answer questions about extracurricular and academic life at HSE St. Petersburg, as well as to organise team-building outings to help first-year students quickly adapt to new realities.
In addition to that, for the first time, a series of onboarding seminars was launched for the newcomers of the master's programmes, aimed at involving them in the life of the faculty, getting to know peers from other programmes, as well as immersing themselves in project and research activities.
Over the course of the year, we had to adjust to ever-changing restrictions, and this turned out to be pretty challenging for both staff and students. However, this did not prevent us from implementing more than 130 events in online and face-to-face formats, including new projects — the Summer Charity Fair and the St. Petersburg HSE Student Organization Festival STUDFEST 2021.


Based on the results of the admissions campaign, the St. Petersburg campus for the first time was placed at the top among other prominent higher education institutions in Saint Petersburg in terms of the quality of state-funded undergraduate studies, as well as it rose from the sixth to the fourth place in the all-Russian ranking, thus confirming the title of the country's leading university.

More than two thousand people became first-year undergraduate and graduate students in 2021. Among them – 208 bachelor degree students holding a status of winners and awardees of school Olympiads, amounting to more than a third of the total number of applicants for state-funded places.

We see a constant interest for both traditional programmes, which consistently exceed the planned enrolment figures, and those opened in 2021: the Bachelor's programme 'Applied Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence' and three master's programmes - 'Computational Biology and Bioinformatics', 'Data Analysis for Politics and Society', 'Language Technologies in Business and Education'. Also, in 2021 the first admission to the Master's Programme 'Comparative Politics of Russia and Eurasia' took place jointly with the University College London (UCL, UK).

Верховцева Анна Валерьевна

Anna Verkhovtseva, Director of the Center for Pre-University programmes, Projects and Admissions to Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes at the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg

In the outgoing year, the winners and awardees of school Olympiads as well as applicants with high A-level exams scores were allowed to enrol without entrance exams. This resulted in a substantial improvement in the quality of admission. The minimum passing score has been increased not only for state-funded places but also when enrolling in fee-paying ones. 

We see high demand for educational products on the campus, with even first-time programmes getting leadership positions, for example, the Master's Programme 'Language Technologies in Business and Education'. Moreover, there are bachelor's programmes – such as 'Philology', 'Asian and African Studies', 'Applied Mathematics and Information Science' – which despite being entirely different, received the highest passing scores for state-funded places. This means that in the minds of applicants HSE is a comprehensive university, a higher educational institution not limited to economics only.

What is more, we conducted an online admissions campaign for the second time in a row, carrying out consultations, receiving documents and organizing entrance examinations for applicants to bachelor's and master's programmes. Each prospective student was provided with an individual approach and was given the opportunity to clarify all queries. We want to thank our first-year students for their trust and appreciation of the high quality of the programmes!


Two new scientific divisions of the campus — the Laboratory for Reputation Management in Education – have begun operating under the leadership of Magdalena Gaete and the Laboratory of Natural Language of HSE and Yandex. The laboratory is headed by Ivan Yamshchikov, Yandex Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Informatics at HSE University – St. Petersburg.

We have also launched three projects of the so-called 'mirror laboratories' together with regional universities. The Centre for Youth Research and the Laboratory for Sociological Research of KFU have teamed up to work on a project dedicated to the scenarios of educational migration of regional youth. The Centre for Market Theory and Spatial Economics and the NSU Laboratory for Empirical Analysis of Industrial Markets are working together to model market power in Russian retail. The Centre for Historical Research and the Laboratory of Historical Geography and Regional Studies of Tyumen State University cooperate in the field of studying the history of modernization of imperial Russia and the USSR.

Alexei Shpilman, head of the Center for Data Analysis and Machine Learning at the Higher School of Economics — St. Petersburg, and Oleg Svidchenko, a master student of the Programming and Data Analysis programme, were granted The Ilya Segalovich Award for the conducted research in the field of computer science.

Campus research teams and individual researchers received support from the Russian Science Foundation, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and the Presidential Grants Fund, and won university competitions for the best scientific or popular science work. Overall, 58 students and graduates became winners and laureates of the Students Research Papers Competition (NIRS).

The HSE International Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy - St. Petersburg has launched a project to assess the long-term consequences of the pandemic, the purpose of which is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the behaviour and health of Russian people.

An article was published in the Nature magazine by Artem Baklanov, a researcher at the International Laboratory for Game Theory and Decision Making at the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg. New artwork of Margarita Kuleva 'The Back Office Manifesto: Towards (NO) Future Institutions' appeared on the platform for NFT art, this project is one of the first crypto works based on scientific data.

Elena Shakina

Elena Shakina, acting Deputy Director of the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg, Dean of the St. Petersburg School of Economics and Management

2021 was the year of the pivot for research teams of the entire university. A new and significant stage in the transformation of the scientific agenda has been adopted within The Development Programme of National Research University Higher School of Economics until 2030 (the ‘Development Programme’). In addition to that, we have launched new strategic research projects. Large interdisciplinary projects have been given a new impetus, while The Artificial Intelligence Grant has become one of the most important integration points for faculties and schools on all campuses.

HSE – St. Petersburg came up with new initiatives and took an active part in all the ongoing changes, having received not only additional financial support but also the opportunity to present its research results among the university's scientific priorities. That said, scientists from St. Petersburg became leaders in two out of the four large interdisciplinary projects, six projects have been given support under the Grant on Artificial Intelligence, while our research teams presented their initiatives to be included in each of the five strategic projects of the Development Programme.


Career Development Centre (St. Petersburg) with the support of Rosmolodezh (Federal Agency for Youth Affairs in Russia) launched a new project – a career intensive called ‘High School of Career’ for Russian universities, within which a School of Curators was held on the campus in December.

In the outgoing 2021, the St. Petersburg campus had acquired new strategic partners – Vnesheconombank, a Russian state development corporation, and the Cartier Mansion. Unilever became a strategic partner of the Master's programme ‘International Business’, Unilever Logistics Director Tatyana Vorobyeva joined the Academic Committee of the programme. The Master's Programme ‘Computational Biology and Bioinformatics’ was launched in partnership with BIOCAD. OZON became a strategic partner of the programme ‘Digital Platforms and Logistics’.

On the basis of the Centre for Applied Research and Development, a project pool of the Setl Group company was created. The School of Economics and Management launched a joint industry-specific educational module with GEROPHARM. 1C Project Centre, a project centre realised in cooperation with the 1 Company, was launched to allow IT students to work on real projects for creating specialised software products and systems for small and medium-sized businesses.

Anna Kotova

Anna Kotova, Director of the HSE Centre for Career Development – St. Petersburg

Today the development of partnerships with business communities is a prerequisite for the prosperity of any university. In order for graduates to be in demand after finishing their studies, it is necessary to ensure their close interaction with representatives of the labour market at the stage of training.

From our side, the campus has all that is needed to strengthen and develop such cooperation: strong faculty teams, well-known professors, relevant educational products, and one of the best Centre for Career Development within the university walls. The results of the outgoing year, on the one hand, prove my words, and on the other, mark the beginning of a partner ecosystem within the campus.


Within the International Mobility Programme, 211 students from HSE – St. Petersburg left for partner universities abroad in the last year. As soon as the borders with the Russian Federation opened for entry, the campus accepted more than 70 foreign students on its site. Another 62 campus students and several dozen international students studied in a remote format.

In the outgoing year it became possible to hold mobility in a virtual format – 40 students of the Social Science Honours Track School of Social Sciences and Asian Studies, jointly conducted with the Indiana University (USA), took part in the Conversations on Contemporary Issues project. The project allows participants to gain online skills in project work, cross-cultural communication and public speaking required for working in international teams.


The 8th annual St. Petersburg International May Conference 'Education and Global Cities: The Third Mission of Universities and Students' (May 19–21) became a platform for presenting socially significant activities of universities. Over 700 people attended the conference, with one-third of them taking part on-campus and two thirds – online. The discussions were devoted to the third mission of universities as a contribution to the socio-economic development of the territory, implemented in partnership with the regional authorities and business with the active participation of students.

One of the special events of the conference was a round table discussion related to the work of university career development centres with the participation of employees of career offices of leading Russian universities and representatives of government and business.

The final module of the Academy of Student Leaders, a joint educational project of the Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg and the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh), was held at the conference site. Focusing on the development of managerial competencies, the project had brought together representatives of student organisations from 45 universities from 30 regions of Russia.

Andrey Starodubtsev

Andrey Starodubtsev, acting Deputy Director of the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg, member of the expert council of the conference 'Education and world cities: the third mission of universities and students'

I am completely satisfied with the outcomes of the St. Petersburg International May Conference. It helped us figure out what role a modern university plays in its interaction with other participants of the social process. Over three days, we had more than three dozen panel discussions, at which we did not only manage to discuss the existing problems but also came up with handy solutions by presenting the best university practices.

The conference brought together educational practitioners, representatives of public authorities, businesses, charitable foundations, so it was a lively conversation. In addition, we were glad to be able to finally meet each other in person, which after a year's break was a very important achievement. 

The Third All-Russian Festival of University Technological Projects of the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg HSE.FEST has acquired the status of a major platform for the development of investment and entrepreneurial activities of Russian universities and part of the St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum. Overall, 567 teams from 211 universities in seven countries attended the event last year.


Master students of the 'Arts and Culture Management' programme organised and hosted a cultural event called 'CIBA: Creative Industries. Business. Art' dedicated to the creative industries and creative entrepreneurship in a big city. The event was carried out in partnership with the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Cyrille Vigneron, President of the House of Cartier, delivered a public lecture on campus. Students of the School of Humanities and Arts created a scientific journal named  'In Your Own Words'. The HSE – St. Petersburg became one of the organisers of the Burevestnik sports and educational forum.

The graduation ceremonies took place at the end of the academic year and became a series of small but bright meetings of graduates with each other and with the professors.

An exhibition of student work from the HSE Design School in St. Petersburg was held at the Russian Ethnographic Museum. Design students also took part in an exhibition in Almaty (Kazakhstan), the TYPOMANIA festival and the St.PetersburgYoungDesign contest.


Dmitry Kharshak

Mitya Kharshak, Head of the HSE School of Design – St. Petersburg

The outgoing year was memorable for the growing attention of the city towards the design industry and design education. The future agenda being so intense and diverse, I don’t even have a minute to think about the results of the year. Since the launch of the HSE School of Design – St. Petersburg in 2018, I try to focus all my efforts and attention on future plans.

Ahead is the first graduation of the bachelor's degree programme, in September 2022 we will mark the start of the new bachelor's profile 'Font. Book. Typography', the opening of the Master’s programme. Besides, for me, this is a crucial step in my career. Firstly, as a professor, I will move from a bachelor to a master along with my students. Secondly, I hope that in the new year we will be able to continue interaction with our bachelor graduates in a new format.


Anna Tyshetskaya

Anna Tyshetskaya, Director of the National Research University Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg

In 2022, we will continue to expand the range of educational programmes present on the campus – we will open a new bachelor's degree in Media Communications and a master's degree in Design. We have also revamped the bachelor's programme in logistics, which has not only received a new name ‘Digital Platforms and Logistics’ and a strategic partner Ozon but also experienced some major changes in its content. These new updates will help students acquire sought-after skills and get prepared for their future work in digital business. Training will take place online. Also, some crucial updates will take place within the UX Analytics and Information System Design programme (formerly Master's in Information Systems and Human-Computer Interaction).

In 2022, a significant project for the entire HSE University will be launched — the inter-campus bachelor's programme in ‘International Bachelor's in Business and Economics’. On our campus, the programme is expected to receive eight thematic tracks, focus on the international direction, double degree tracks and a strategic partnership with VK.

Overall, we will continue to move towards strengthening collaborations at all levels — with students, professors, other programmes, partners, different campuses of the same university and various universities in the Russian and international educational space. I wish all of us will have enough strength and new breakthrough ideas to make these plans real, as well as let this year be full of creative inspiration, interesting meetings and bright projects. Happy New Year!