North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) is based in the city of Yakutsk in Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia. It is an important provider of higher education in the region, and thanks to its location in the Far East, NEFU is also a link between the Arctic and Asia.
To learn more about the university’s future direction and collaborations in Arctic issues, the NEFU press service conducted an interview with Rector Anatoly Nikolaev.
What is the strategy of the North-Eastern Federal University for the next decade? In what direction will the university develop, and does this imply any changes?
The strategy of the North-Eastern Federal University will be based on the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and it will focus on the welfare and development of the northern territories. Our task is to reduce the goals to a single constant; to find a balance between the economic, environmental and social spheres of human activities for the harmonious and progressive development of geostrategically important territories of Russia. In connection with global climate change and the intensive development of the territory of the Russian Arctic and the North, issues such as green energy, introduction of digital technologies, proper transport logistics, and the preservation of peoples’ cultures are becoming topical. Obviously, such problems are food for thought.
Based on the above, the mission of NEFU has defined the training of a new generation of professionals who will implement the values and goals of the sustainable development of the North and the Far East. For many centuries, the North has been and still remains the most attractive part of the world. Our motives as inhabitants living in quite extreme climatic conditions are extremely clear and understandable. We strive to bring up new generations of professionals who care with heart and soul for the preservation of the beauty and wealth of the northern territories and conditions for the well-being of the peoples of the North; people who make their homeland attractive, economically developed, and as comfortable as possible for life.
What examples of cooperation can you give that are important for the development of the North? How useful is the cooperation between leading universities, companies, and organizations?
Our university is located on two strategically important macroregions of the Russian Federation: the northeast of the Far Eastern Federal District, and the Arctic territory. Cooperation with leading universities, research and educational centers, and companies from partner countries is an important component of the large-scale work that is being done for the sake of preserving the Arctic.
Collaboration always implies an equal contribution to a common cause. From a position of a link between the Arctic and Asia, we have twice held a major international event, the Northern Sustainable Development Forum, where leading experts from various fields discuss and identify the most problematic issues. We have many partners with whom we are closely linked by work and friendly relations: UArctic, Harbin Institute of Technology, Hokkaido University, the Alfred Wegener Institute, and many others. Cooperation in personnel training, sharing knowledge in the scientific and technical sector, in ecology, in medicine – this is the basis. It is necessary to constantly look for ways to cooperate with other organizations, to find new angles for conducting research and opportunities to expand the areas of training.
What prospects does the North-Eastern Federal University have in the Arctic? What role does the institution aim to play?
We have created a new development program for NEFU which is being examined by the Government of the Russian Federation. In the next ten years we will once again strive to implement all our plans and to follow the ideology of sustainable development.
For the next five years, our university will strengthen our position in the country and the macroregion. By 2025, NEFU will become a leading scientific, educational, expert, analytical and cultural center of the Far East and North of Russia, providing high-quality education and competitiveness of research. We intend to position ourselves as one of the distinctive universities of the northern territories and the Asia-Pacific region, contributing to the solutions of global problems. We plan to achieve this recognition by 2030.
Lastly, on behalf of NEFU let me congratulate UArctic on the 20-year anniversary. NEFU has been an active member of UArctic since joining. Over the years, thanks to the membership in UArctic, we have significantly expanded our cooperation with the northern universities and interaction with scientists from foreign countries on the most pressing problems of the North. We wish UArctic success in expanding its network even further and in implementing the important task of developing the interuniversity cooperation among Arctic regions.