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The news of the project

Virtual international seminar MODEST "Organization and Management of Postgraduate Training and Research Methodology"

On May 27-28, 2020, the two-day seminar of the Erasmus+ MODEST project "Organization and Management of Postgraduate Training and Research Methodology" took place in virtual (Zoom) format. It was organized by the team of the University of Helsinki(UHEL) and Brunel University London (BUL) with active partisipation of all MODEST partners, incl. MIIGAiK as natioanal coordinator of the project.

This event, originally planned as an intensive training session at the Hytiälä Forest research station (Finland), was reorganized by UHEL into a virtual format due to the situation with COVID-19 .

In total, more than 160 participants were registered, and about 130 different individuals participated during the first and second seminar days (with the largest number – 83 - during the 1st session). These were international participants -professors, researchers, teachers, postgraduates, as well as managers, employees of various organizations - from 14 partner universities, including MIIGAiK employees and postgraduates, as well as from other 15 interested universities/ institutes.

The virtual workshop was organized in the form of 5 sessions of oral presentations and discussions.

The 1st session covered the Latvian, Polish, UK and Finnish experiences in technology enhanced learning, organization and assessment of PhD students scientific activities, effective supervision of PhD and MSc students remotely, organization and administration of doctoral education, respectively. During the 2nd session, partner universities of Armenia, Belarus and Russia voiced their expectations and needs for modernizing the PhD training process, developing PhD curricula and forming support mechanisms.

On the 2nd day during the 4th virtual session the main attention was paid to the presentation of 14 courses be developed by the MODEST international team which are aimed at forming students' transferable skills. The presented courses can be divided into 3 main areas: A - research, B – teaching and learning, and C – collaboration and communication.

The MIIGAiK team presented 3 courses, which are developed by our faculty in cooperation with other partner universities. As. prof.of Department of Data Acquisition Systems Dr. Andrey Materukhin presented the course "Commercialization of research", as. prof. of the Department of Cartography Dr. Sergey Krylov presented the postgraduate course "Data Analysis & Expert Systems", as. prof. of the Department of Space Monitoring and Environmet Dr. Galina Kuznetsova presented the course "Sustainable Development and Global Challenges of the 21st Century".

During the 3rd and 5th sessions, the UHEL team members also shared UHEL’s experience in the Finnish and Nordic Centers of Excellence, international projects with PhD students’ involvement into training networks, university educational courses at the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station: advanced approach, teachers’ and students’ perspectives and points of view, gaining transferable skills, studying and researching interactions between forest and atmosphere; and aspects of art-science collaboration in education.

At the end of each day of the training, an online survey of participants was conducted (the usefulness of each speech, the most / least important aspects of the sessions, suggestions for improvement.

Training materials (slides and video recordings of oral presentations) will be available at: https://www.emodest.eu/index.php/meetings/11-training-on-organization-and-management-of-doctoral-tra....

During the summer of 2020 inter-University teams will continue to develop courses. Some of them are planned to be tested as part of the postgraduate educational program in the next 2020-2021 academic year.


On may 26, 2020, within the International scientific and technical online conference "Spatial Data in the Context of Digital Transformation", the video forum "Modernization of the MIIGAiK postgraduate school: pro & contra" took place in virtual format. 

The issues of modernizing post-graduate studies was not arisen right now – this process has been agitating the academic community for a long time, at least since 2013, when the Ministry of Science and Education RF decided to make the postgraduate education by the third stage of higher education. This means: PhD curricula in accordance with the Federal State Educational Standards (FSES), a final scientific qualification thesis that is not equal to the defense of a PhD thesis, and a number of "innovations" that the reform brought to the traditional process of researcher training.

MIIGAiK is the national coordinator of the international project ERASMUS+ "Modernization of postgraduate education in natural Sciences and improvement of pedagogical methods" (MODEST, 2018-2021).

The project consortium includes 14 universities from Finland, UK, Poland, Latvia, Armenia, Belarus and Russia.

The MIIGAiK project team has got acquainted with the partner universities experience, organized a survey of postgraduate students and research supervisors, has analyzed the effectiveness of research supervisors (effectiveness of thesis defences, publication activity, index Hirsch, participation in research grants, etc.), has analysed the educational programs of MIIGAiK and other universities, etc. During the video forum the MIIGAiK project team  presented the results of the institutional analysis, as well as some proposals developed in the project MODEST based on the analysis of domestic and foreign experience in training postgraduate students and aimed at improving the quality of training of researchers and the effectiveness of tresearch thesis defence.

The issues of modernization of postgraduate studies are actual not only in MIIGAiK, but in any University, because it is in the postgraduate school that the human potential of researchers and University teachers is trained, which ensure the quality of the two base processes of the University - education and research. For MIIGAiK, it is important not only to keep high research positions in traditional areas, but also to increase high potential in new research and training areas in south rapidly changing world. Therefore, all stakeholders were involved in the discussion of proposals – Vice-rector on educational Dr.Stepanchenko A. L. and Vice-rector on research and innovations Dr. Portnov A. M., members of MIIGAiK Dissertation Councils, faculty deans, academic supervisors and teachers, post-graduate students. Since the video forum was open, post graduate students from other universities also joined the live broadcast.

All pro&contra opinions were heard. The MIIGAiK project team thanks everyone who showed interest and expressed their criticisms and suggestions. The work will continue, and we hope that some of the proposals will be tested in the next academic year after careful revision.