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Fellow Strengthens Business Ties in Russian University

Anna Derevnina is at the forefront of innovation in the Russian university system by strengthening partnerships between businesses and academia at her university. As Dean of the Information Business Systems Department at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), she helps prepare graduate students for work in business. But since her department is just three years old, it is only beginning to identify how best to link these students with the business sector.

Inspired by her University Administration Support Program fellowship, Derevnina is now changing corporate relations at MIPT. She won a Pilot Project Grant to create an Office of Corporate Relations that would strengthen her university’s collaboration with business. As part of this project, her UASP host advisor Charles Hoslet, Managing Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, travelled to Russia to present on corporate relations and student entrepreneurship to university leadership, professors, government officials, and students.

“Leaders at the research universities with whom I met see the importance of creating startup companies and fostering entrepreneurship among university students. They look to the US – and now to UW-Madison – for advice and guidance,” Hoslet said.

“Before this project I didn’t know anything about the Office of Corporate Relations at American universities,” Derevnina said. “I spent 2 months at the University of Wisconsin and I learned a lot about corporate relations and the collaboration of the university and tech transfer and about the business activities of the Wisconsin Alumni and Research Foundation.”

Derevnina will work on her Pilot Project until September of this year. She plans to create a system to track her university’s business contacts, send an MIPT colleague on a short fellowship to UW-Madison, and expand the professional education programs offered at MIPT.

The University Administration Support Program (UASP) and its follow-up Pilot Project Grants, developed by IREX and sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, are designed to help university administrators like Derevnina gain exposure to the US system of university management. Fellows spend about eight weeks in a US university, working one-on-one with a university administrator. When fellows return to their home countries, they are better equipped to boost innovation and reform in their home universities based on this US experience.