MEPhI opens its branch in the Republic of Uzbekistan

On September 3, 2019, Tashkent hosted the opening of the first foreign branch of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI. The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, Director General of the Rosatom State Corporation Alexey Likhachev, representatives of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, the rector of MEPhI Mikhail Strikhanov and scientists and other distinguished guests.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Abdullah Aripov noted that the realization of this very important project was accomplished with the direct participation of the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who had personally chosen the site for the construction of a modern campus.

"Implementation of a high-tech project – the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, requires specialists with modern knowledge. I am confident that the MEPhI branch will train highly qualified engineering and technical personnel on the level of international educational standards, capable to solve the most important scientific, technological and production tasks in the interests of nuclear industry," Aripov said.

According to the head of the Uzbekistan government,  the new MEPhI branch is at the beginning of a long journey. The Uzbek side intends to develop and support the activities of the University and introduce the best practices and modern technologies into the educational process.

The head of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev noted that the opening of the MEPhI branch in Tashkent was one of the most significant events of the year, which was of fundamental importance for Uzbekistan. "For us it is a matter of honor, for us it is a great pride, for us it is a great challenge! This is the first official foreign branch of MEPhI, and it is very symbolic that it is being opened in Uzbekistan," said the head of Rosatom.

According to Mr. Likhachev, the construction of a nuclear power plant is a project for decades and even for a century, if we count in the modernization.   "Thus, we ensure the cooperation of our industries, our nations for a century. And it is a huge challenge and a great responsibility," stressed Likhachev.

"Uzbekistan returns to pre-existing nuclear competence. Through the implementation of this important project, Uzbekistan is joining a large family of nuclear scientists all over the planet. But in addition to staffing the newly created industry, opening of the MEPhI branch is of great importance for science as a whole. Various disciplines will be developed on the basis of the University – the creation of new materials, 3D-modeling and other areas will be expanded. This will affect the entire economy of Uzbekistan," said Likhachev. The Director General of Rosatom added that he was in constant contact with the scientific community of Uzbekistan, with young people and students. In addition, he noted that in the next year he would need to visit the Republic more often in order to ensure the proper execution of such a large-scale project. 

Addressing the first-year students, Likhachev pointed out that initially, studying at MEPhI will not be easy; still, new experience will prove to be interesting and exciting. He also advised students to be prepared for the future profession not only academically but also psychologically.  He urged them to begin developing the sense of responsibility and duty early in their career.  "We do not divide and do not put barriers between our production facilities and MEPhI. In this sense, we are a single family, not only on Russian territory, but in the entire international nuclear community. Unity is our strength!” said Likhachev.

In turn, the head "Uzatom" Jurabek Mirzamahmudov expressed confidence that the newly opened branch will be able to supply a sufficient amount of qualified personnel for the launch of the first NPP in 2028.  Mr. Mirzamahmudov assured that from the first days after graduation, MEPhI graduates will be employed in a directorate, which will be engaged in designing, constructing and commissioning of the NPP.

In his welcoming speech, the rector of MEPhI Mikhail Strikhanov said that the University imposes “high requirements” on education and training as it expects to preserve the high standards set by the founding fathers of the atomic project".

Dr. Strikhanov stated that "the first stage was now completed – we recruited students, built a good building and opened a branch. The second stage is to recruit a full staff of lecturers and execute the educational process at the global level." Rector expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Education, Rosatom and Rosobrnadzor for effective assistance in the process of opening a foreign branch of the University.