01/16/2020 14:45:16

How MIPT connected its strategy to sustainability goals

In 2015, world leaders met in New York at a landmark conference of the United Nations. The heads of states and governments pledged concrete action across an integrated set of economic, environmental, and social issues. They signed up to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a package of 17 goals and associated targets for the year 2030: ending hunger, eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, tackling climate change, stopping the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems.

As a university, we recognize that our mission extends beyond just the next few years. We create long-term value and make a positive social impact, building a legacy for the next century and beyond.

MIPT’s mission aligns and engages with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development across all our projects and activities. MIPT endorses the 17 SDGs, and we are proud of the efforts and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni in advancing these goals. The MIPT community makes an impact both locally and globally, networking across disciplines and departments to come up with creative and innovative solutions to the global issues at hand.

In highlighting which SDGs our programs support and how, we can help model a new way for universities to create a better world and make an impact in terms of equality and sustainability. Below are some of the programs, projects, and initiatives that MIPT is implementing to address the complex challenges faced by the world.

Good education and equality
The MIPT Distance Learning School of Physics and Technology turned 53 this year. Founded in 1966, it provides an additional educational environment for school students from the eighth to the 11th grade who are interested in mathematics, physics, and — more recently — informatics and chemistry, too. The school retains its traditional format of distance learning by correspondence in addition to an online platform with a personal user dashboard for receiving assignments and submitting solutions. Besides that, the school also offers evening classes on the campus in Dolgoprudny and engages pupils through teachers who use our learning aids to set up study groups in secondary schools across the country. Among the graduates of the distance learning school is Kostya Novoselov, a Nobel Prize winner in physics.

In the 2018-19 academic year, the distance learning school had a total of 16,616 students, including 5,377 actual distance learners, 844 attending on-campus classes, and 10,395 engaged via secondary school teachers.

Foreign citizens have an opportunity of securing a Russian government scholarship, which is awarded to 15,000 foreign applicants every year. Students from 57 countries study at MIPT, and the geography has expanded over the past couple of years, as we enrolled the first students from Albania, Yemen, Israel, Mexico, Poland, and Indonesia.

Space for ideas
MIPT has opened four new highly energy-efficient buildings over the past five years. The faculty and students now have nine educational and research buildings at their disposal, where they can tackle some of the most important scientific questions of the 21st century.

Climate action
In 2019, the MIPT Laboratory for Geophysical Research on the Arctic Region and Continental Margins of the World Ocean organized two major Arctic expeditions that involved exploring tectonically active areas in certain regions of the Arctic shelf, particularly in the Laptev and East Siberian seas, where areas with unusually high methane emission into the ocean and atmosphere were discovered. Monitoring the emission of methane is important for estimating its role in the Arctic climate change.

Following four expeditions in the Arctic Ocean and satellite data analysis, a team of Russian climate scientists featuring MIPT researchers described the ocean’s “seasonal memory.” That mechanism explains how atmospheric circulation has caused the ice in the Eurasian Arctic to melt faster than that in the North American Arctic in the 21st century. The paper was published in the journal Atmosphere.

Partnership for the goals 
Meeting these objectives will require a commitment from and a collaboration between organizations of all kinds, including companies and our partner scientific and educational centers. By virtue of their capacity to accommodate research, provide academic opportunities, and develop their campuses, universities are positioned to be the public leaders in creating a more equitable and sustainable world.

Among the partners of MIPT are over 40 leading research institutes, including those of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as dozens of R&D enterprises and major tech companies. Together with them, we have established more than 80 laboratories working on the biggest questions in diverse fields: 2D materials, quantum technologies, biophysics and genomic technologies, artificial intelligence, technologies for the development of the Arctic, aerospace technologies.

Looking forward
2020 promises to be a remarkable year for sustainability. We look forward to another year of marking and making history, and invite everyone in the MIPT community to join in by resolving to take action

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