British parliament recognizes TSU as a model of scientific diplomacy

19 February 2019

TSU was the only Russian university invited to the British Parliament to participate in an exhibition and seminar on international collaboration and scientific diplomacy. At the exhibition at the Westminster Palace, TSU presented its participation experience in the largest European project INTERACT, aimed at exploring the Arctic and changing the environment, and the international network SecNet, created under the auspices of TSU to study Siberia and the northern territories.

The participants of the seminar, which takes place in the British Parliament at the beginning of each year, are traditionally well-known politicians who influence the decisions on science funding. In addition, representatives of the Foreign Office, European embassies, and researchers working in the most relevant areas of science are invited. This time, the choice fell on organizations that specialize in studying climate change and ecosystem change in the Arctic, Antarctic, and northern regions - the Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling, The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and other large organizations.

SecNet is an international network created under the auspices of the TSU TSSW: Siberian Institute of the Future (SIF) and is a link for scientific organizations engaged in the study of Siberia and the northern territories. SecNet brings together leading Russian and international researchers and interacts with international networks, including Neon (National Ecological Research Network, USA), INTERACT II (the largest international project, implemented with the support of Horizon 2020), the Canadian Mountain Network, and others.

- It is very valuable for us that the contribution of Tomsk State University to the development of science and international relations was noted at such a high level, - said Olga Shaduyko, director of the TSU Center for International Scientific Collaboration. - In parliament, we presented the SecNet network and TSU research under the INTERACT project. These programs are open to the whole world, thanks to which scientists from different countries join each year and new partnerships are made, which improves mutual understanding between people and strengthens relations between states.

According to Olga Shaduyko, the visit to the highest legislative body of the United Kingdom helped to discuss a number of new plans for the interaction of TSU with British scientific organizations. For example, the possibility of holding a joint summer school, which will focus on the problems of organic and inorganic pollution of the environment, was discussed with representatives of the University of Redding. An agreement was reached with the head of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on the possibility of participating in international scientific seminars organized by TSU and BAS network partners.

TSU has presented a map of scientific projects that aroused great interest from many exhibitors, including Sir David Attenborough, the world-famous traveler and BBC presenter, creator of the documentary series Living Planet, Life on Earth, Nature's Microworlds, and many others.

Every year, TSU research stations attract more and more Russian and international scientists. For example, in the summer of 2018, under the collaboration with SecNet, scientists from the University of York visited the Vasyugan Swamp, where they studied peatlands, which play a crucial role in cooling the planet.

In 2019, scientists from the Czech Republic, Sweden, the United States, and other countries will work at TSU stations that are part of SecNet and INTERACT. In Siberia, they are planning to obtain new data on the melting of glaciers, forest fires, and other phenomena indicating the transformation of the planet’s climate. The study of these processes is necessary to understand the causes of global environmental change and to create predictive models.