On February 1-2 a representative delegation of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) visited Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. The visit resulted in a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by SPbPU Rector, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Andrey Rudskoy and Rector of the Technical University of Madrid Professor Guillermo Cisneros Pérez.
This event can hardly be overestimated. Our partnership traces back to 2011, when the first cooperation agreement was signed between our universities. Since then we have been actively developing relations between faculty and researchers of both universities. The next step in strengthening partnerships was signing the Agreement on Student Exchange in April 2015. Due to that Russian and Spanish students started taking part in the International Polytechnic Summer School and the International School Fablab Polytech and in international educational programs of both universities.
Inauguration of SPbPU Information Center in Spain in April 2017 with full support provided by the Technical University of Madrid has become a new strategic milestone in SPbPU and UPM partnership. According to SPbPU Vice-Rector for International Relations Dmitry Arseniev the establishment of the Information Center was an impetus for the development of Russian-Spanish relations: the parties identified new areas for joint work and within the event a range of agreements were signed with higher educational institutions and organizations in Spain. The joint event "Days of SPbPU in UPM" was organized to coincide with the opening of the Information Center of SPbPU in Madrid, which resulted in the signing of agreements between SPbPU institutes (Institute of Physics, Nanotechnology and Telecommunications, Institute of Computer Technologies and Institute of Civil Engineering) and UPM Schools. A major international festival "Open Your Heart to Russia" was organized jointly by both universities. SPbPU international services and representatives of SPbPU Higher School of International Educational Programmes in close partnership with colleagues from the Technical University of Madrid carried out a range of educational activities aimed at promoting the Russian language and culture.
Andrey Rudskoy expressed gratitude for the visit and willingness to develop cooperation. As he commented: "Signing an agreement today for us is a great honor and I am confident that we will reach a new level of interaction. Taking into account our previous experience of joint events and how successfully our scientific projects are developing we hope that ties between the two polytechnic universities are established with serious intentions and for a long term. From now on, the Technical University of Madrid is our key partner in Spain. And now all the doors are open so that we can consistently develop our relations and conduct joint activities on a wide range of scientific and educational competencies, building an effective and attractive model for both countries of the model of academic and research cooperation.
It is already planned in the context of the strategic partnership in March 2018 to carry out joint academic and research event "Polytech: Science, Technology and Creativity". It will be held at UPM School of Aeronautics and Space Engineering and UPM School of Telecommunications. Andrey Rudskoy also underlined that SPbPU will be happy if UPM can participate in the International Polytechnic Week (at SPBPU on May 14-16, 2018), and happy to welcome Spanish students within the frameworks of the Polytechnic Summer and Winter Schools. Andrey Rudskoy, as well, proposed another symmetrical event. He offered to establish interactive Information centers of SPbPU in UPM and vice versa. As for the research directions, this year it was proposed to develop research directions of the Institute of Computer Science and Technology, the Institute of Civil Engineering and the Institute of Physics, Nanotechnologies and Telecommunications. In particular, the parties agreed to support one of the topics ("Ion Motors" or "Nanoobjects"), using the possibilities of joint internal financing, the Erasmus + programme, etc. Finally, the Rector proposed to develop a roadmap for cooperation for all possible fields, including academic exchanges, joint scientific research and publications, organization of conferences, etc. Noting that for Polytech it would be interesting to expand the spectrum of research interaction, Andrey Rudskoy suggested that Spanish scientists in specific profiles of mutual interest could come to SPbPU and communicate more closely with our research teams.
UPM Rector Professor Guillermo Cisneros Pérez also positively assessed the prospects for further interuniversity cooperation. "It is very important for us to find a strategic partner in Russia," as he admitted. "There are a lot of directions to be developed together. This is a very important step, and we would like to move on. Therefore, we say "yes!" to everything that was suggested by you".
Guillermo Cisneros Pérez expressed the readiness to intensify joint scientific publications, students and faculty exchange, cooperation in the framework of Erasmus programs. He also supported the idea of organizing a special meeting between the research groups of of both universities and the development of Double Degree programmes.
During the visit the delegation of the Technical University of Madrid visited a number of laboratories: the Supercomputer Center, the Laboratory of Industrial Artificial Intelligence Systems (SPbPU and Siemens joint laboratory) and the Laboratory of Lightweight Materials and Structures, the Nanobiotechnology Research Centre and a range of Institute of Computer Technologies and the Institute of Civil Engineering. At the end of the visit the Rector of the Technical University of Madrid Professor Guillermo Cisneros Pérez had an interview in which he shared his impressions of visiting our university.