Why young scientists come to Siberia to build an academic career

A meeting with the postdoc candidates of SFU.

A meeting with the postdoc candidates of SFU.

Press Photo
A group of seven foreign scientists with post-doctoral degrees won in an open competition of the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk and have been admitted as Scientists and Research Fellows to the university. We recorded their impressions, plans, and expectations they have from pursuing science in Russia.

"I saw an ad about the contest on the SFU website, applied and came here. In Krasnoyarsk, nature is very beautiful, and the people are open. At the moment I can hardly speak Russian, but, nevertheless, I work quite well," said Indian post-doctoral scholar Venugopal Nakkala, who is currently a researcher at the laboratory of nonlinear optics and spectroscopy at SFU.

Nakkala came to SFU to work on developments in the field of solar cells and solar energy.

Venugopal Nakkala. Source: Press PhotoVenugopal Nakkala. Source: Press Photo

"Over the past decades, they use expensive materials in the solar cells industry, made of silver or gold. We are exploring the possibility of using nano-plasmonic materials. This will reduce the cost of the process many times.”

“This is not the first time that I have come to Siberia. I have been here before and made friends with the local scientists, and they advised me to apply to participate in the competition. What amazes me the most in Siberia is the nature - it is really amazing, there are a lot of trees. In addition, there is a developed infrastructure and you can work at the university," said Alberto Arzaka, a scholar from Spain, whose scientific work is related to the study of tree rings.

Alberto Arzaka. Source: Press PhotoAlberto Arzaka. Source: Press Photo

"Though all the work is conducted in English, in September, I plan to start learning Russian because it is useful to me in personal communication. I do not exclude the possibility of staying in Russia. Everything will depend on how the planned work will progress during the three years."

The SFU held an open competition for young scientists with a PhD between December 2015 and March 2016. More than 30 applications were received and seven foreign scientists were finally able fill the vacancies as SFU researchers.

At a meeting with the postdoc candidates of SFU, Rector and academician Yevgeny Vaganov confirmed that had they selected the best and most suitable academics for the development of the leading areas of science.

Yevgeny Vaganov. Source: Press PhotoYevgeny Vaganov. Source: Press Photo

"All of them have signed a three-year contract, the work involves research, but possibly also teaching. As a result, the contract may be extended," the Rector said.

Abolhasem Tohidpur came from Australia, but he is Iranian. He has been in Russia for one and a half years, and is acquainted with the cold Russian winter.

"Once I tried to ski, but I nearly broke my leg, and now prefer to just watch my Russian friends ride while I drink delicious coffee, which they treat me with."

"It is very cold in Siberia, but people have warm hearts, and I really like it here, despite the fact that I left India for the first time," said young Indian scientist Shubhra Pande.

Abolhasem Tohidpur. Source: Press PhotoAbolhasem Tohidpur. Source: Press Photo

"I have chosen to continue my career at the SFU, because it is a centre of science and higher education, and the university also contributes to scientists’ productive work." Making experiments on laboratory mice, Pande looks for a way to extend life by studying protein production using the bio fluorescent method.

Conditions for young scientists in Siberia

Many universities around the world have long mastered the practice of engaging foreign experts to work and teach, with grants and special competitions.

The SFU launched the competition in a bid to search for talents who could be part of the young and active researchers from around the world. The age of the post-doctoral scholars should not be more than 35 when they apply for the posts.

"The requirements for the candidates were serious, such as the availability of publications in journals indexed in the Web of Science and Scopus', but also the working conditions the university offered were quite good," said Rector Vaganov.

Shubhra Pande. Source: Press PhotoShubhra Pande. Source: Press Photo

"It's not so much about the salary, but about the opportunity to work on the unique equipment and under the guidance of scientists, known in their field far beyond Russia. As practice shows, this is the leading motive for a young scientist, who has decided to come to a Siberian university."

As Vaganov said, despite the fact that Krasnoyarsk was a city closed to foreigners for a long time and little known among foreigners, the SFU received many applications.

"This was the first contest, and we plan to increase the number of postdocs. This is the most active part of the young research contingent. "

The second competition "Postdoc SFU" is to be announced in January 2017.

SFU Rating:

In 2014, the SFU received 3 out of 5 possible stars in the ranking of Quacquarelli Symonds QS-Stars.

According to the Webometrics 2015 ranking SFU is the 10 among the Russian universities.

The SFU website is in English.

According to the data for 2016, SFU has over 30,000 students, among which there are about 400 foreigners.


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