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The Foundation presented a study on the effects of the Vladimir Potanin Fellowship Program

The study was conducted among the fellows and grantees of the Foundation

The presentation of the results of a new study of the Vladimir Potanin Fellowship Program took place with the participation of representatives of the ZIRCON research group and the professional expert community live on the Foundation’s social networks on November 28, 2023.

Oksana Oracheva, General Director of the Foundation: "The history of the Fellowship Program is essentially the history of the Foundation itself. The program started in 1999, but some of its components have remained unchanged over the 25 years: a focus on supporting higher education and an orientation towards people – students and teachers. In other respects, the program undergoes annual changes and updates. The research we conduct among our fellows and grantees allows us to make our support more effective. For example, one of the significant outcomes has been the establishment of the Foundation School. The new season of the 2023/24 program is not an exception: we have implemented into the competitions those aspects that are in demand by participants today."

The Deputy Head of the ZIRCON research group Anastasia Saponova presented the key results of the research. The research itself consisted of two stages: a qualitative stage involved interviews and focus groups, and a quantitative stage, during which online surveys were conducted. Women were more willing to participate in the research (67% of the total respondents). The majority of participants were between 25 and 29 years old (46%). 40% of respondents specialized in social sciences. The main characteristic of the respondents was their interest in further education (53%). 64% were still pursuing education at the time of the survey. Among the indirect effects of the program, respondents noted changes in their career tracks.

Many fellows, especially students majoring in technical sciences, noted that the Fellowship Program had become for them important experience of assessing their competencies. Compared to the 2013 survey data, the importance of financial support has increased. Fellows understand the concept of the program well - almost 90% of the respondents stated that the program fully or mostly met their expectations. They also noted the high level of organization of the student selections at all stages. Due to the matching of expectations with reality, the level of satisfaction with the program was high.

Director of the Gladway Foundation for the Development of Media Projects and Social Programs Vladimir Vainer shared his experience of participating in one of the first development teams of the Vladimir Potanin Fellowship Program. In his opinion, from year to year students strive not only to achieve success in the competition, but also to reveal the internal mechanics of the system for selecting fellows. It became obvious to experts that the logic of decision-making must change: every year it is necessary to take on a new challenge from the students, which sets the very drive for the development of competitions. Research is crucial in the creation of competitive programs: fellows motivate and encourage designers of the program to develop and improve.

Continuing the presentation, the experts moved on to the results of the research on the Master’s Program Faculty Grant competition. A significant outcome in this context was the high rating given to the program by the participants, as the grant competition provides an opportunity to receive support for developing a new educational product. Grantees positively evaluated the application process, as well as the support provided by the Foundation. It was found that grant support has a decisive or substantial impact on whether an educational product will be developed. Participation in the program itself boosts university professors’ confidence, allows them to enhance expertise in their subject area, make valuable contacts and develop new important skills.

Anna Garmonova, Director of the Center for University Partnerships at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, noted the importance of holding grant competitions as a form of non-institutional support. This is necessary for the creation of new master's programs and the formation of relevant educational products. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation places great emphasis on the analytical validity of the grant application, so first-class educational design is essential to success in the competition. Another important effect of grant support is the implementation of partnership programs and new models of interaction into the academic system.

Respondents assessed the experience of participating in the Foundation School positively. The Foundation's school makes the greatest contribution to the formation of a sense of belonging to the Vladimir Potanin Fellowship program community, helps to acquire new knowledge and put it into practice. Format limitations include the perception of the Foundation School by some participants as a way to have fun - in this case, the implementation of the project ceases to be a priority.

In conclusion, Oksana Oracheva noted that grant programs research helps the Foundation remain relevant and adjust the way decisions are made. In the season of 2023/24 the results of the new research were already taken into account: the emphasis on teamwork and the practice-oriented approach were increased, more attention was paid not only to the creation of new products, but also to the development of existing ones. Also an important innovation was the opportunity for students and professors of full-time specialized higher education programs to participate in competitions of the Fellowship Program.

The presentation was moderated by Yulia Selyukova, director of the Cleverlab.

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