From the very beginning, the European University at St. Petersburg has had a mission of development and dissemination of innovative achievements of world social sciences, as well as care about high scholarly and teaching potential of Russia. The idea of University's creators was to organise graduate institute where people from various regions could get education in social sciences and humanities on high-level standards. When looking back at the fifteen history of the University, its creators can be satisfied as the mission is complete. The next aim now is to spread the best standards of research and teaching all over the country. In 2012, the European University organised the Programme for Development of Partner Centres to achieve this ambitious goal.
The Programme's objective is to provide conditions for University's graduates to build their careers in regional universities with the possibility to keep their work standards high. These conditions include financial support of young scholars (addition to their salaries, research grants and mobility) and organisational help (conferences, workshops and summer schools). It is important that the Programme does not support individual researchers, but research collectives of 6-7 scholars who work on establishing their own and common 'school of thought.'
Three research and education centres laid down the start of this Programme:
1. Centre for Cultural Studies of Post-Socialism (in Kazan Federal University);
2. Centre for Comparative History and Political Studies (Perm State National Research University);
3. Centre for Policy Analysis and Studies of Technologies (Tomsk State National Research University).
Main research interests of the centres include current tendencies of contemporary political and social studies: cultural studies of religious and nation-building processes in Tatarstan (Kazan), historical studies focused on issues of political patronage and clientelism (Perm), and social studies of science and technologies centred on policies of innovations (Tomsk). The Programme supports their efforts for three academic years.
The year 2012-2013 was a period of organisational establishment of the centres. During this year, they also managed to organise several academic events: winter and summer schools, conferences, workshops and open lectures. Researchers got involved in international academic projects.
Since 2013-2014, the centres have opened educational programmes of masters' level: (1) Comparative Social Analysis (Kazan); (2) Contemporary Russian Policy in Comparative Perspective (Perm); (3) Sociology of Public Administration (Tomsk). The students of the master's programmes have a chance to participate in articles competition, open lectures of world famous professors, exchange programmes with foreign universities and so forth.
2014-2015 academic year will be the period of further sustainable development of the centres: they have to learn to ensure sustainability without financial support from the Programme. This year will also be marked by numerous publications of the centres' researchers who will manage to finalise their empirical studies and articles.