Supporting Independent Universities in Russia and Region
July 18, 2003 | Press Release

MacArthur has announced five grants totaling more than $2.4 million in support of four independent universities and one publicly-funded graduate institution in the post-Soviet region that are emerging as centers of high-quality research and graduate training in the social sciences.

"Russia is developing a vibrant system of higher education with a healthy mix of public and private institutions," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of MacArthur. "Alongside our support for centers of excellence at Russian state universities, MacArthur is renewing its commitment to a set of private institutions that we have nurtured since the mid 1990s. These institutions are setting new standards for scholarly rigor and critical thinking, serving as laboratories for innovation, and providing new linkages to international scientific communities. They train scholars and analysts who bring outstanding skills to both the academic and policy fields, and they work closely with independent public policy institutes in Russia, including ones supported by MacArthur. These schools stand at the forefront of the reinvigoration of the social sciences in post-Soviet Russia, and they are reaching out to provide curricular resources for other universities in the region. Our support is intended to help these institutions serve as models of reform in Russian higher education, and to complement our support for independent policy analysis in Russia; we see both activities as crucial to the development of a healthy democracy.

Through its Initiative in the Russian Federation and Post-Soviet States, established in 1992, the MacArthur Foundation makes grants totaling nearly $6 million annually in support of universities and scholarly infrastructure. These grants support twenty-four centers of excellence in Russian state universities, four independent universities in Russia and Belarus, ten independent policy institutes, and five journals and scholarly networks that provide linkages for colleagues in different parts of the Russian Federation.

A grant of $700,000 over two years was made to the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences in support of graduate training and research, and to help develop strategies for long-term financial security. The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, an independent institution that was founded in 1994, provides intensive one-year training programs in political science, sociology, law, applied psychology, social work and social management, cultural management, business administration and education management and policy. It also runs an interdisciplinary research program and is assisting the Russian Ministry of Education in its approach to the "Bologna process" of integrating Russia into European-wide system of higher education.

The European University at St. Petersburg received a grant of $600,000 over two years, primarily for salary support for the faculties of political science and sociology, ethnology, economics, and history, and to improve the library. The European University at St. Petersburg is an independent institution of graduate training and research in the social sciences. Established in 1995 with initial seed funding from MacArthur (since joined by other donors), the EUSP offers a three-year program of graduate instruction in the social sciences and, through partnerships with regional Russian universities, is a leader in the renewal of postgraduate social scientific teaching and research in post-Soviet Russia. It awards both masters and doctoral degrees.

The New Economic School received a grant of $500,000 over two years to help recruit and retain permanent full-time faculty members and to bring more students into its programs. The New Economic School was established in 1992 to help transform the economics discipline and profession in Russia. During the past ten years, the New Economic School has built a reputation as one of a very small number of institutions in Russia offering graduate training that meets the economics profession's international standards. Nearly half of its graduates have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees in leading Western universities, and New Economic School graduates have attained positions in Russia's Economics and Finance Ministries, in international organizations, investment banks, and Russian and Western universities.

A grant of $400,000 over two years was awarded to the European Humanities University Foundation for a program of post-graduate and post-doctoral training in social theory and political science, and also in support of the Center for Gender Studies at the Humanities University in Minsk, Belarus. The European Humanities University was established in 1992 as one of the first non-state universities in Belarus. It is recognized as a leader in reform of higher education in Belarus and has strong ties to peer institutions in the Baltic States, Russia, and Ukraine.

The Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology has received a grant of $240,000 over two years for a master's degree program in economics and business administration, with a special emphasis on retraining technical specialists from Russia's "nuclear cities" - formerly closed cities engaged in nuclear weapons research. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is the premier technical university in Russia with a fifty-year record of training first-class specialists in high technology areas for Russia and the Soviet Union.

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