Experts from Russia and Europe will discuss how universities can transform cities.

From November 30 to December 2, 2017, the II International Forum of University Cities “Leveraging University Vitality for Urban and Regional Development” will bring together leading experts in the field of urban, scientific and technological development, cluster policy, representatives of universities, government and business. The participants will discuss the formats of the university’s participation in the development of the new economy of the city and the region. Also, the event will address the best practices of university transformation into centers of innovative, technological and social development of the territories.

The forum is being held for the second year in a row by the National Research Tomsk State University (TSU) with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian FEderation and the administration of the Tomsk region.

Today, a key challenge for universities is their engagement in the implementation of the third role – participation in the development of the regional economy and the social sector. We witness a growing number of cases when universities become a driving force for the development of regions. In the position of this driver of the regional or city economy, they are “challenged” by the enhancement of new sectors against the background of the extinction of the old economy branches. The focus of the forum in 2017 is the implementation of the Triple Helix model and the concept of smart specialization for bringing together the efforts of universities, business and government. These two concepts highly contribute to the regional policy of the leading countries.

Some issues for the discussion within the Forum are crucially important for the regional agenda, e. g. university-industry-government cooperation for the implementation of joint initiatives, how modern urbanization affects the development of society, how the university has to become the driver of social changes in the city and the region. But not only these questions will shape the thematic tracks of the Forum.

All the events of the forum will be divided into three tracks engaging representatives of government authorities, leading universities representatives, technology businesses and social entrepreneurs. The events will be devoted to the best international and Russian practices of universities’ participation in the development of the economy, the urban environment and the social sector. So, Jan Slovak, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Masaryk University (Brno, the Czech Republic), will share his experience in developing a university campus and attracting private investments. Carl Zillich, Curatorial Director of IBA Heidelberg (German architectural and construction bureau IBA Heidelberg), will present a report about the renovation of the Heidelberg University campus. One more key speaker is Dominique Foray, Full Professor, Chair in Economics and Innovation Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the author of the concept of smart specialization, which is based on the search for a combination of unique resources, territorial potential and technological capabilities that leads to the creation of new sectors in the economy. Professor of  Twente University Maarten Van Steen will present the experience of creating large-scale wireless sensor networks aimed at improving the quality of life. Nicolas Buchoud, President of the Grand Paris Alliance, a think-tank on urban future, and the co-owner of Renaissance Urbaine, specialized in the transformation of complex urban ecosystems (France), will present new approaches to the development of sustainable urban ecosystems.

A special attention will be paid to the QS Best Students Cities Ranking, which determines the positions of student cities according to the criteria of universities prestige in the city, popularity among students, attractiveness, popularity among employers, price accessibility. A special session will discuss how to improve the positions of cities in the raking and policies of regional and municipal authorities.

Also, the forum program includes a series of public lectures about original research projects in the field of design of the schools and universities physical learning environment of 21st century. For more information, please visit the Forum’s official website .