Strategic Initiatives

To implement the target model, the University has adopted the 8xSMART Strategy, which integrates all Roadmap’s strategic initiatives and focuses on implementing the most efficient means of achieving university’s objectives.

The 8xSMART Strategy

For the first half of 2016, the University has prioritised the launch of SI5 and SI4 activities, i.e. rolling out the Program management system, transforming the University governance system, and concentrating resources on breakthrough areas while withdrawing from less effective areas. Also high on the agenda is SI7, aimed at building up the University's reputation, since the outcomes of this initiative will impact all activities incorporated in the Roadmap.

Strategic initiatives launch schedule 

Notes to the Picture: The initiating stage comprises of the project manager appointment and project charter development for each major activity within the initiative. The planning and organizing stage encompasses the development of the project plan, the project's presentation at the Program Steering Committee and project team mobilizing for each major activity of the initiative.


In the second half of 2016 - first half of 2017, SUSU will launch the main strategic initiatives, SI1, SI2, and SI3, aimed at recruiting talent to the University (students, young faculty members, and leading faculty members), carrying out breakthrough research, and introducing competitive educational products. This stage will be followed by the launch of additional strategic initiatives SI6 and SI8, focused on innovation-driven activities in the region and new educational technologies implementation. Сertain activities of each initiative may be launched before the date shown in the Picture, provided a qualified project manager and well-thought-through project management plan are presented to the Programme Steering Committee.  The launch dates of key activities are specified in the description of each initiative further in this section. A complete list of activities, featuring KPIs for each activity, is presented in Section II, the University Competitiveness Enhancement Programme Roadmap (the “Roadmap”).

SI1. Breakthroughs in Science and Education

SI1 aim: to achieve globally recognised breakthroughs in research and education in SUSU's fields of specialisation.

To achieve this goal, SUSU will focus on four knowledge areas, which lay the foundation of the four Strategic Academic Units (StrAUs). Each unit integrates research projects and educational programs.

  • Engineering. A leading breakthrough initiative is cross-disciplinary aerospace research, aimed at asteroid impact avoidance. To enhance research competencies, the University will promote an Aerospace Engineering Master's degree program to the national educational market.
  • Supercomputing. A major breakthrough area is represented by a research project focused on data mining, a technique that is particularly essential for the comprehensive analysis of Big Data. In the supercomputing area, the educational component is represented by the development of an English-language Master's degree programme in Data Mining, which will be intensively promoted domestically and internationally.
  • Natural Sciences. A major breakthrough research area is the development of alternative energy sources including materials for solar cells (photosensitisers), which will help enhance the efficiency of solar batteries and reduce the cost of power generation. As part of SI1 implementation, SUSU will introduce English-language programs in applied mathematics, physics, chemistry and materials science.
  • Life Sciences. A major breakthrough research area is the study of molecular mechanisms of chronic emotional stress development, which represents a health problem for residents of large modern urban centers. 

Specific prospective research and educational projects will be selected by the independent international experts.  To address this task, SUSU is establishing an International Academic Advisory Council, comprising of leading global scientists in the domains of natural and computer sciences, engineering and medicine (SI3).

The SUSU Board of Regents, comprising of industrial leaders, will be instrumental in overseeing the University's cooperation with the business community, i.e. by approving a roadmap for promoting SUSU's research capabilities in industrial markets (SI5).

All breakthrough projects leverage the University's supercomputing resources. Many projects will also utilize SUSU's competencies in instrumentation. To achieve higher effectiveness of SI1 implementation, SUSU will engage external partners to cooperate in breakthrough areas in research and education. A high return on investment in breakthrough initiatives will be supported by the University's existing research infrastructure.

Main actions for implementing SI1



SI1 is integrates a number of other initiatives included in the SUSU Roadmap. For instance, to deliver the priority projects the University will recruit talented researchers and students as part of SI2 and SI3. The concentration of resources on breakthrough areas will be achieved with the help of SI4 activities, in particular through carrying out scientific foresight and an international expert examination of research projects led by the SUSU International Academic Advisory Board.

The results of SI1 implementation include boost in the international academic reputation and  in citation indices and publishing activity across all breakthrough areas.

SI2 Recruitment and development of talented staff

SI2 aim: To enhance staff members' professional skills and boost their productivity.

Key personnel recruitment

 SUSU intends to accomplish this goal by recruiting academics and administrators from leading Russian and international universities, and through advanced training of its own staff members. The recruitment of qualified international staff members requires

  • better visibility for the University's leading academics and research activities;
  • research grants to ensure competitive compensation packages for international academics;
  • mandatory KPIs to measure academic units’ performance in recruiting international academics;
  • accelerated transition to a bilingual environment;
  • experienced top-level administrators with international reputation to enhance SUSU’s international network and credibility. 

Main actions for implementing SI2

In personnel training and development within SI1, SUSU will focus on improving critically important skills, such as communication skills, publishing activity, English language skills, and the use of advanced educational technologies. SUSU will accomplish these objectives by implementing mechanisms involving micro grants and bonuses, career development for advanced training, non-financial incentives and KPI-based contracts. In late 2015, SUSU adopted a brief, universal list of KPIs for employment contracts with a focus on achieving Program 5-100’ major objectives.

The SI2 implementation will enable SUSU to achieve parity with the world's leading universities in terms of the diversity of its staff members and their productivity.

SI3  Recruiting talented students

SI3 aim: To ensure diversity of the SUSU’s student body.

Recruiting talented prospective students

SUSU will acquire talented prospective students by implementing a number of measures, including:

  • introducing a system of differentiated scholarships for Russian applicants with high USE scores and international prospective students;
  • active interaction with high schools in Russia and abroad;
  • organising joint (dual degree) programs with leading Russian and international universities;
  • development of a bilingual environment.

Main actions for implementing SI3

The SI3 implementation will enable SUSU to educate a new generation of leaders capable of addressing global challenges for sustainable development.

SI4 Concentration of resources

SI4 aim: To improve the overall performance of the University.

To achieve this goal, SUSU will focus on institutional redesign. The university will form a smaller number of unique academic units to ensure the highest levels of performance and productivity. SUSU's International Academic Advisory Council (IAAC) will play a key role in identifying areas of institutional redesign. It will coordinate research and educational activities at the University in line with global best practices. The IAAC will guide the implementation of scientific foresight to identify areas of the University's fast-track development for 2018-2020. As part of SI4, the University will introduce a regular educational programs review procedures to ensure that that SUSU’s graduates' expertise and competencies are in demand on the job market. 

Governance framework and target structure 

Main actions for implementing SI4

The implementation of SI4 will enable SUSU’s transition to a new structure made up of about 10 schools and with no underperforming units. The restructuring is expected to improve scientometric indicators per faculty member. 

SI5 Effective university governance

SI5 aim: To establish a university governance system in line with world best practices.

To achieve this goal, SUSU will focus on building and developing a truly meritocratic environment. To build such a meritocratic environment, SUSU will need to determine the most appropriate level of autonomy for its structural units, promote the active engagement of talent and introduce efficient incentive system for all staff members. 

Another SI5 priority measure is to improve the University's financial and economic model and to master an investment approach for financing University activities. For example, SUSU is contemplating of establishing an endowment fund to support the development of SUSU's supercomputer. 

SUSU investment model 

Within SI5 SUSU will introduce project management office and change management  mechanisms for efficient 5-100 Program implementation. The management process will be based on clearly defined procedures of competitive resource allocation, collegiate decision-making and independent expertise in specific areas of science, education and management.

Program management chart

The main task of change management is to ensure support for the Program's implementation. In November-December 2015, SUSU conducted a set of activities to inform staff members about the Program, including:
  • the Program’s presentation at each SUSU faculty;
  • a special issue of the University newspaper;
  • an intensive coverage of the program by SUSU TV and radio stations;
  • a special page on the University's website;
  • installing information boards in key public gathering places on campus.
All University employees had the opportunity to submit their proposals and participate in the survey on the University's website. Based on the survey data and submitted proposals, area-specific working groups have compiled the Roadmap. 
Main actions for implementing SI5
As a result of SI5 implementation, SUSU will establish a management system based on the principles of transparency, cooperation and entrepreneurship.

SI6 Innovations for sustainability of Ural region

SI6 aim: To achieve sustainable development of the Urals by developing a favourable intellectual, creative and business environment in the region.

Main actions for implementing SI6

To achieve the SI6 goal, SUSU intends to create an innovation-conducive environment at the University by implementing a number of measures:

  • introducing entrepreneurship development modules in educational programs;
  • encouraging entrepreneurship among staff members and students;
  • supporting the commercialisation of University's innovations;
  • building stronger relationships with the business community as well as local and regional authorities.

As a result of SI6 implementation, SUSU will become a central component in the region's innovation-driven economy and Chelyabinsk will take its place among global intellectual centers.


SI7 Reputation management

SI7 aims: To raise awareness of the University's brand and foster a positive image of SUSU among international academic community and prospective students.

Main actions for implementing SI7

As part of SI7 implementation, in late 2015 SUSU launched a new version of its website and developed a communications strategy for 2016.  The next steps include building a social media space to promote the University in social networks, implementing a CRM system to ensure effective interaction with the University's key stakeholders, preparing a brand book, and initiating a re-branding campaign.

As a result of SI7 implementation, SUSU will ensure its competitiveness on the global market for research activities and educational services.

SI8 New technologies in education

SI8 aim: To improve the quality of education and enhance the educational process at SUSU.

Main actions for implementing SI8

To achieve this goal, SUSU will focus on mastering ting new educational technologies and advanced teaching methods. The SI8 priority action is to implement a system that will encourage faculty members to introduce new technologies and teaching methods in the educational process. It is expected that a pilot project will be launched in 2017 to introduce honors programs for talented undergraduate students. In 2016-2017, SUSU will continue to implement information technologies, including extending the LMS to all academic programs.

As a result of SI8 implementation, SUSU will narrow the gap in the quality of teaching against the world's leading universities and ensure a high level of student engagement and motivation.


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