Skoltech, a Russian graduate university, is being cut off by MIT over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In 2011, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology partnered with the Russian government to found the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, generally known as Skoltech, in Moscow. MIT provided the curriculum, and the Russian Finance Ministry put in the money. In less than a decade, the school, which only offers graduate degrees, is already well-known for inventing the supercomputer Zhores and has had nearly 2 dozen researchers land in the global impact top 2% list, an award measured by how many other researchers site their work.
(23 notable researchers may not sound like many, but the total enrollment of the school over its entire history has yet to reach 10,000. Per-capita, it’s quite an achievement.)
Skoltech, which teaches only in English, has continued to be a joint effort, trading students and faculty back and forth with MIT. But on Friday, the day after Russia’s invasion and bombardment of Ukraine, MIT contacted Skoltech and dissolved their partnership.
“This step is a rejection of the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine,” MIT said in a statement. “We take it with deep regret because of our great respect for the Russian people and our profound appreciation for the contributions of the many extraordinary Russian colleagues we have worked with.
“Though we must end the relationship, we are proud of MIT’s work with Skoltech and the research it has produced over the past decade. We affirm our steadfast belief in our colleagues at Skoltech: They are fellow scholars who have devoted themselves to an ethos of openness and who have contributed their own expertise and knowledge to build a unique and pioneering academic center in Russia.”
There has been soft pressure from federal law enforcement for years to end the program, citing a risk of espionage and technology theft, but there has as yet been no evidence for such.
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