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How to Manage Complexity?

The knowledge acquired at the English-language Master's programme of the Higher School of Economics “Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation” allows to launch new value chains, create knowledge-intensive businesses, and open new markets, in general, the power of science changes reality. During the Open-Door Day, the prospective students discovered what is needed to be considered for this programme and to realise the maximum potential of the programme.



A young world-class research university

Master's programme “Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation” is relatively new HSE programme — it was launched four years ago. HSE entered the Top 50 among Generation Y universities, founded between 1986 and 1999, said  Leonid Gokhberg, the First Vice Rector, Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge of the Higher School of Economics. The head of the International Academic Council of the Master's programme, Professor  Nicholas Vonortas  from the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University (USA), sees this international recognition of HSE as one of the best young universities in the world as a very momentous event against the backdrop of China that established hundreds of universities in recent decades. With this assessment of Times Higher Education, HSE ranks among the Russian universities with the highest number of top positions in world rankings in its profile subjects (sociology, economics and scientometrics, politics and international relations, etc.).

Science is in the air

Since its foundation, the Higher School of Economics has been developed as a center for scientific research, and now it is among the top three Russian universities in terms of research activities. Leonid Gokhberg, responsible for the HSE research and innovation activities, emphasized that this fact directly affects HSE students. Students interested in science may realise themselves in this field from the very first days of their studies. For this purpose, a lot of services and bonuses are provided, e.g. access to the largest electronic library, discounts on tuition and broad opportunities for participation in summer and winter schools, elective courses at different faculties, studying at double diploma programmes, etc.

Research is a fundamental and institutional feature of the Master's programme “Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation”, which is offered by the HSE largest research unit, which moreover studies science. Active scientists teach the courses, and they transfer knowledge “not according to other people's textbooks” but from the front line of the research.

According to Professor Nicolas Vonortas, the focus on research, its goals and the curriculum brings the ISSEK Master's programme closer to the very first programme in the field of science and technology policy launched in 1968 at the George Washington University within the framework of a grant that was funded by NASA. This programme was in response to the request of the US government (and partly because of the success of Soviet science, in particular, the launch of the first satellite) to stimulate national developments in the space industry.

For many years, the HSE ISSEK collaborates with international organizations such as OECD, Eurostat, UNIDO, UNESCO. Its leading experts participate in the working groups of the listed organisations and many others. This activity allows monitoring innovations in science and technology policy and participating in the formation of STI global agenda. Cooperation with international think tanks in the framework of joint projects, in particular, with the OECD, provides a good opportunity for students to take an internship and to apply their skills and knowledge.

Dirk Meissner , the Academic Supervisor of the Master’s programme, said that students are able to participate in two types of academic mobility programmes. Students can take a double degree programme at foreign partner universities such as Technical University of Berlin (Germany) or at Maastricht University (the Netherlands). In this case, the second year they study at the HSE. The second option is to participate in exchange programmes for one or two modules in one of the four partner universities: Maastricht University, Seoul National University (Republic of Korea), Middle East Technical University (Turkey) or University of Bremen (Germany).

Alumna  Elena Kyzyngasheva  works for The Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent). She says that she was able to appreciate the quality of the programme and its international standards while she was studying as an exchange student in Seoul. “Although the dialogue on innovations was transferred to another part of the world, I was not only able to understand what we were talking about, but also I was taking an active part in this dialogue as one of the best students”.

The international direction of the programme is strengthening every year, and perhaps for this reason it attracts more and more foreign students: according to the results of the 2016 admission campaign, the contest among foreign applicants was 5.1 people per seat.

Unique and important competences for business and governance

The effective application of policy instruments in the field of science, technology and innovation requires knowledge on functioning of the public and private sectors, including their cooperation with each other. ISSEK Master’s students study disciplines corresponding to  Public Policy  and  Innovation Management  at the same time. This format of the Master's programme is unique for Russia and other countries, because there is a traditional division of  innovation management  (career track in business) and  state management in science  (focus on work in government institutions).

The Director of the Department of Social Development and Innovations of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation  Artem Shadrin, illustrated the possibilities of applying student’s skills sets in government agencies. He provided an example of two projects that the Ministry is implementing jointly with the HSE to support innovative lead clusters and fast-growing high-tech companies. He described the way government helps innovative companies providing them with different support tools in accordance with their real needs. “If you choose the Master's degree in ISSEK, you will have an opportunity to work for scientific community, business, government, federal ministries, and regional institutions of power,” said Artem Shadrin.

Leonid Sorkin, General Director of Honeywell in Russia, who heads the department of “Technical cybernetics” at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, considers management in the field of technology and innovation to be very important. He recalled the history of the an electric light bulb, the creation of which sparked discussions about the priority of Russian and American inventors: “Yablochkov first invented the light bulb. But he was not an innovator. Edison brought the light bulb to 100 000 million consumers, he made a business. Using technology to make business and to deploy and consume, the ability to overcome this gap between scientific achievement and market demand — is innovation”. Leonid Sorkin recommended future students to take maximum advantage of the programme. “Except for studying important subjects, you can try to manage innovation during these two years right here at university starting you own knowledge-based, high-tech service” he said.

Unusual career paths

The programme is considered one of the most interdisciplinary studies at the HSE. In one group, an economist, a chemist, a physicist, a sociologist, a doctor, and a musician studying  together. All successfully pass courses on economics, management, business and government management, human resources management, technology, etc. Mastering such different disciplines may seem complicated, but at the end of the programme, students learn quickly to engage themselves in new topics, find information, analyze trends and make forecasts. Acquired skills of systematic and structured thinking every day help in the work, says alumna  Olga Nekhaychik, manager for the development of products and services in MTS.

The sphere of science, technology and innovation is the main driver of changes in both the economy and social life. The programme “Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation” is a powerful source of change and “big challenge” for the students themselves. As noted by  Pavel Bakhtin, who, prior to enrolling in the program, was an intern at the ISSEK, and after the programme continued working for the Institute, “There is no single pattern of how life will develop after school. Acquiring unique skills for our country allows us to manage complex systems and achieve much more than if we try to compete in an environment that has already been proven, tested, understood. And you need to ask yourself if you are ready to take a non-standard way”. Pavel works as a researcher at the Foresight Centre, he is also engaged in the development of a large data analysis system to support the adoption of managerial decisions and projected projects.

The graduate of the programme,  Joshua Levy  emphasises: the professors are responsible for the knowledge that they give, but it is up to the students to properly use these knowledge and skills and to promote themselves. After the graduation alumna  Alena Protasova  created her “dream job” and, having proved to employers that “she is worthy of responsibility”, she develops the business environment and innovative ecosystem in Kazan Innopolis.

Despite career paths of the students are different, they agree on one thing — the Master's programme gives many opportunities for disclosing professional and personal potential. HSE First Vice Rector Leonid Gokhberg warns the applicants: “It's not easy to study on the programme, but you will come out in the new capacity”. According to Pavel Bakhtin, the complexity of the training is quite adequate: “90% of my classmates worked, and they had time to attend all lectures and seminars and carried out tasks. No one had much free time. If it is clearly distributed, there will be no problems.”

More photos in the album on Flickr