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The Vladimir Potanin Foundation held its annual conference "Project Legacy and University Transformation"

On April 9th, with the support of Tomsk State University, the Foundation hosted its annual conference for university teachers

The Vladimir Potanin Foundation, in collaboration with Tomsk State University (TSU), held the conference "Project Legacy and University Transformation" for higher education teachers and staff. The conference, which took place on April 9th in Tomsk, featured a series of events dedicated to the topic of project legacy in universities and its impact on university transformation.

The business part of the conference began with the plenary session, "University Transformation and Project Legacy", with the participation of four rectors of Russian universities. The speakers discussed changing approaches to student education, the competencies employers seek in future professionals, and how artificial intelligence is influencing the training of new specialists.

Oksana Oracheva, General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation:

"The Foundation began its activities with a modest 'Northern Program' in Norilsk. The late '90s were challenging for many families, and higher education was also in crisis. We wanted to provide financial support to students eager to learn, particularly those excelling in their studies. Even then, we understood that simply having a diploma was not enough—future professionals needed high-quality knowledge. Gradually, the program evolved, and we realized that supporting education was the right strategic choice. Our common future is built by those currently studying in universities. The Foundation continued to develop with a focus on the quality of education and has been moving in this direction for 25 years."

TSU Rector Eduard Galazhinsky noted that the conference provided an effective platform for discussing various university formats and missions, helping synchronize processes and ideas. Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics Rector Viktor Rulevsky emphasized the need to make the educational process motivating, highlighting the importance of developing broad communication skills in students to aid their future careers. Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University Rector Alexander Fedorov also stated that universities should go beyond scientific activities, fostering soft skills to support successful professional implementation.

Central University Rector Evgeny Ivashkevich pointed out that education, profession, and creativity must work in synergy. In his opinion, artificial intelligence will soon allow us to focus more on creativity, and the role of higher education is to cultivate creative thinking among students. Vladimir Mazur, Governor of the Tomsk Region, thanked the Foundation for creating conditions that promote philanthropy in Russia and for the new opportunities emerging in the field of education.

The expert discussion allowed leading experts to reflect on existing experience and discuss new ideas shaping the direction of development for crucial elements of the educational process.

The next conference event was a roundtable "University Collaboration with Industry Partners Using Endowment Opportunities and Alumni Associations." During the session, participants discussed issues related to the establishment and growth of endowments in education: effective models of university-business cooperation, the role of alumni, innovative approaches, barriers, and crisis-management measures.

Participants in the roundtable were Oksana Oracheva, General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation; Georgiy Mayer, President of TSU and Chairman of the TSU Foundation Board; Alexey Knyazev, Acting Dean of the TSU Faculty of Chemistry and member of the TSU Foundation Board of Trustees; Natalia Shraiber, Deputy General Director for Human Resources and Organizational Development at “NPF “Mikran” JSC; Gleb Uzunov, Director of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS Endowment; Grigory Dunaevsky, Advisor to the TSU Rectorate and member of the TSU Foundation Board; Evgeniya Nekhoda, Director of the TSU Institute of Economics and Management (TSU IEM); Svetlana Krasnochub, Executive Director of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Endowment; Olga Belomytseva, Professor of Finance and Accounting at the TSU IEM, Director of the Center for Financial and Economic Expertise, and member of the TSU Endowment Investment Committee. The roundtable was moderated by Maria Bulygina, Director of the TSU Endowment.

Oksana Oracheva:

"Here, at TSU, we have been discussing the topic of endowments for many years. Today, endowments have become one of the truly essential tools for NGO funding. Today I also suggest considering why businesses need endowments. Among the largest endowment holders are charitable foundations with a combined value in the trillions of rubles. This brings up the question of how these funds can become business owners. Global experience shows that when a business transfers its assets to an endowment, it enhances business resilience. This multi-layered approach is directly linked to the future: if a business wants to last indefinitely, it can be achieved through an endowment."

Another event at the conference was the discussion platform "Third Mission," where speakers discussed the role of museum projects in shaping and preserving meanings, and the connection between culture and education, philanthropy and project activities.

Participants in the discussion were Natalia Sukhorukova, Program Manager of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation; Yulia Akimova, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics and Information Technology in Economics and Management at Mordovia State University; Vyacheslav Goyko, Head of the TSU Research Laboratory for Applied Big Data Analysis; Artem Shadrin, Director of the Institute for Socioeconomic Projecting at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; and Yulia Emer, TSU Vice-Rector for Information Policy and Digital Communications. The discussion was moderated by Oksana Anistratenko, Executive Director of the Agency for Social Investment and Innovation.

Natalia Sukhorukova:

"This year marks the Vladimir Potanin Foundation's 25th anniversary. During this time, we have accumulated significant experience and resources, and we are eager to continue sharing these values. Today collaboration and cooperation are increasingly important because they help amplify efforts to implement the university's third mission. It is worth noting that the Vladimir Potanin Fellowship Program also has its third, social mission: the Foundation places special emphasis on supporting students and professionals. The Foundation's community includes over 40,000 fellows, which reflects significant work. This contribution to developing human resources is fully justified, and I hope it will continue. People are our key value."

Experts at the discussion platform "City. Universities. Museums" examined how public authorities are formed, and the role of urban projects, university museums, public spaces, and their cultural missions in this process.

Session participants included Oksana Oracheva, General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation; Ilya Doronchenkov, Deputy Director for Research at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts; Mikhail Shabalov, Director of the Mining Museum of Saint Petersburg Mining University; Lyudmila Pankratova, Head of the Museum Department at TSU; Tatyana Nazarenko, Senior Researcher at the Shatilov Tomsk Regional Museum of Local Lore; and Darya Biryukova, Lead Methodologist at the TSU Scientific Library.

Oksana Oracheva:

"We have been supporting museum projects since 2004, without distinguishing between museums and universities by their departmental affiliation. From the start, we noticed that some universities with rich museum collections practically excluded themselves from the Foundation's competitive program. To illustrate the complexity of this relationship, we conducted several information campaigns and tried to involve university museums in various opportunities beyond education alone. Today, we see that universities and museums are evolving in fascinating ways, with interdisciplinary projects enriching everyone. Moreover, the Foundation’s “Museum Without Borders” program has a social component, which is very important to us. Thanks to this program, museum projects are becoming more sustainable and continue to develop."

Another notable event at the conference was the discussion platform "Business Games and Project Seminars: Best Practices and Prospects for Use in Education." Experts discussed the interesting topic of using game models in education, along with various gaming technologies and approaches that help integrate them into pedagogy.

Participants included Yulia Lizicheva, Program Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation; Svetlana Krasnochub, Executive Director of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Endowment; Evgeny Machnev, CEO of “EVM” company; and Anton Fortunatov, Head of the Department of Socio-Political Communications at the Institute of International Relations and World History at N. I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod. The platform was moderated by Ksenia Punina, Associate Professor of Political Science at Perm State University and Head of the Knowledge Hub for Endowments, "Endowment House."

Yulia Lizicheva:

"We conducted extensive research among our grantees, where business games were highlighted prominently. Those who have already participated in our programs noted a high interest in game-based approaches as the most effective tool for teamwork. Every year we hold the Foundation School. This special event is a format that we constantly transform by incorporating gaming practices based on participant feedback analysis."

The conference's rich and diverse program enabled participants to discuss the long-term social effects achieved through years of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation’s initiatives in the field of education, to speak about the transformation of educational processes, partnerships, new approaches to training in-demand specialists and maintaining the sustainability of universities, crucial for society.

Photos are provided by the TSU press service.

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