Aktru Summer School gathered students and scientists from 8 countries

12 July 2019

The 6th International Summer Scientific Education School has begun at the alpine research station Aktru TSU, in the Altai Mountains. The participants are Russian and international students and young scientists. From July 10 to 19, they will explore the unique natural territory of Gorny Altai, the way of life, and the ways the population might adapt to a rapidly changing climate.

The school’s bus route runs along the Chuyisky Trakt, which is included in the list of the ten most beautiful roads in the world by National Geographic. Students and scientists will see a wide range of landscapes: from mixed greenwood and hardwood forests in the foothills and humid lowlands to arid steppes and semi-deserts in the Kurai intermountain area. Then the group will transfer to all-wheel drive former military vehicles and ascend through the mountain coniferous forests to the station Aktru, located at the upper boundary of the forest about 2,200 meters above sea level. Alpine meadows, alpine tundra, and glaciers are in walking distance from the station. There are not so many places on earth where such a diverse environment is available for viewing.

Participants in the school will also have the opportunity to make a “journey through time”: they are waiting for exciting lectures and excursions explaining the formation of the landscape after a big flash flood about 25,000 years ago.

- This year, three students from Singapore came to the school from our long-standing partner, Nanyang Technological University; two students from the UK, from the University of East Anglia and the University of Manchester; a student of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne; two participants from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; a student from the University of Catania; and two participants from South Africa, from the University of Pretoria. One student from South Africa has already been to our school before, said Olga Shaduyko, the school’s manager.

There are six TSU students participating in the Aktru-2019 Summer School. These are two master’s students of the program Study of Siberia and the Arctic and four students from the Biological Institute. Students and teachers of Gorno-Altai State University and Altai State University also participate.

The scientific conference “Natural Conditions and Human Habitats in Arctic and Alpine Regions: Relief, Soils, Permafrost, Glaciers, Biota and Lifestyles of Indigenous Ethnic Groups in a Rapidly Changing Climate” will be part of the program this year. In particular, Terry Callaghan, Honored Research Professor, member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Professor at TSU and the University of Sheffield (UK), and coordinator of the international network of Arctic ground research stations INTERACT will take part in the conference. Also, young scientists will be able to talk with Kirill Chistyakov, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, professor at St. Petersburg State University and vice-president of the Russian Geographical Society; Peter Glovatsky, associate professor at the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences; Olga Solomina, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, director of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Sergey Kirpotin, professor, director of the TSU Center of Excellence Bio-Clim-Land, Doctor of Biological Sciences.

The partners in organizing the plenary session of the International Scientific Conference are the Gorno-Altai State University (GASU) and the Altai State University (ASU). The plenary section will be held at GASU. A collection of selected papers published in journals indexed in the Russian Science Citation Index and Scopus will be prepared on the results of schools.

The international school organized by TSU is named after the Aktru research station located in the southeastern part of the Altai Republic, near the borders with Mongolia and China. The school has been held since 2011. In addition, scientists from all over the world visit the Aktru under the INTERACT-II transnational access program, which gives school students the opportunity to observe the work of their colleagues and world-leading scientists to take part in the field experiments, receive advice during the presentations of their research, and listen to lectures from leading scientists in their research areas. Leading scientists participating in the school, in turn, have the opportunity to share experiences and best research practices.

Through the school site Aktru, TSU has many joint international research projects with such countries as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Germany, USA, Japan, South Africa, Mongolia, and others. All school activities are conducted in English.