Skoltech is an international graduate research-focused university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011. Skoltech's curriculum focuses on technology and innovation, offering Master's programs in 11 technological disciplines. Students receive rigorous theoretical and practical training, design their own research projects, participate in internships and gain entrepreneurial skills in English. The faculty is comprised of current researchers with international accreditation and achievements.

Skoltech Scientist Becomes the First Foreign Faculty Member to Win an RFBR Grant

In 2019, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) awarded 80 million rubles in grants to fifty five Skoltech scientists, including a Greek professor, Pavlos Lagoudakis, who won two grants for his projects, “Hybrid polariton condensates and transistors based on organic and inorganic semiconductors” and “Vibron-polariton collective states and laser generation at room temperature”.

Currently, Skoltech teams are working on 9 RFBR-supported joint projects with scientists from Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Germany, France, and the BRICS countries.

Professor Lagoudakis is the Director of Research at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton (UK). At Skoltech, Pavlos has designed, set up and is leading the Hybrid Photonics Laboratory with a focus on hybrid LEDs, PVs and polaritonics technology.


Профессор Павлос Лагудакис. Фото: Сколтех

Professor Pavlos Lagoudakis. Image: Skoltech.

An advanced area of hybrid photonics, hybrid polaritonics uses exciton-polariton excitations to create hybrid systems. The grant-winning Russian-German project, “Hybrid polariton condensates and transistors based on organic and inorganic semiconductors,” which is run by Skoltech’s Hybrid Photonics Lab in collaboration with the University of Würzburg, aims to explore the fundamental aspects of polaritons in organic and hybrid solid-state structures and develop new polariton devices based on organic and hybrid materials.

The project focuses on theoretical and experimental research to explore the possibility of combining the advantages of organic semiconductors and inorganic epitaxial structures in order to enhance the capabilities of exciton-polariton and organic light-emitting systems. Implementing the strong-coupling regime in organic semiconductors in combination with inorganic components that ensure electric pumping inside a hybrid microresonator is a novel task which is of crucial importance in making a breakthrough in this direction.

The Hybrid Photonics Lab’s team led by Professor Lagoudakis has everything it needs to achieve the ambitious goals set for the project: a motivated team, cutting-edge experimental equipment, an international scientific network and a solid research groundwork.

RFBR runs competitions to support basic research projects with a view to building new relations between scientists and the state. Skoltech’s mission is to train a new generation of skilled research, technology and business professionals. The RFBR grant is an eloquent testimony to the fact that Skoltech scientists have succeeded in attaining their goals and objectives.

The RFBR grant winners are as follows: Artyom Myasnikov (15 million rubles), Timofei Zatsepin (8.1 million rubles), Evgeny Chuvilin (2.5 million rubles), Dmitry Yudin (6 million rubles), Semen Shlosman (18 million rubles), Alexander Shapeev (5 million rubles), Iskander Akhatov (5 million rubles), and Dmitry Gorin (5 million rubles).

Dmitry Gorin, Skoltech Professor: The grant award decision is made based on the experts’ opinions. Both experts pointed out the relevance and novelty of the proposed study and the uniqueness of each partner team’s expertise which is critical for the success of our project (the project has an international team bringing together scientists from China, India and Russia).

Evgeny Chuvilin, Leading Research Scientist at Skoltech: The project aims to develop the basic physical and chemical concept of methane hydrate replacement with CO2 hydrate during the injection of flue gases, which is a CO2 and N2 gas mixture. This is one of the most promising pathways towards creating a technology for extracting methane from natural gas hydrates.

The novelty of the proposed research is that we obtain experimental data showing the influence of each individual factor on the kinetics of CO2 substitution for CH4 in the rock’s porous space. The experimental data will help refine the thermodynamic models of CO2 substitution for CH4 in the hydrate-bearing reservoir that can be used for predictive calculations of the optimal composition of the injected agent (N2 to CO2 ratio), ensuring maximum methane recovery from the hydrate-bearing reservoirs at both low positive and negative temperatures. In addition, this study is the first attempt ever to identify the patterns of changes in the amount of liquid phase and gas permeability in hydrate-bearing rock during CO2 substitution for CH4.

Alexander Shapeev, Professor, Center for Energy Science and Technology: In materials design, the properties are calculated primarily at zero temperature due to extremely high complexity of quantum mechanics calculations. In our project, we apply machine learning to reduce the computational costs by several digits and have the materials screened based on the properties calculated at realistic temperatures. I suppose it is our ambitious project proposal and the strengths of our Russian and German teams that won us the RFBR grant.

Timofey Zatsepin, Associate Professor, Center of Life Sciences: Our joint project (led by Professor Zatsepin of Skoltech and Professor Shomron of TAU) proposes to use a novel therapeutic approach to affect RNA splicing, as pre-miRNA can modulate alternative splicing in a miRNA-dependent and tissue-specific manner. Thus, selective recruitment of pre-miRNA to the 5′ splice site should enforce splicing. This is a high risk, high gain research project that may provide a completely new approach to treat a variety of diseases in a very safe and selective way.

Iskander Akhatov, Professor, Director of the Skoltech Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials: The title of the project, which was awarded jointly by Russian and Norwegian foundations for basic research, is “Enabling predictions of ice loads on structures in the Arctic (ICELOAD).” It is led by Professor Iskander Akhatov of Skoltech on the Russian side and Professor Stein Tore Johansen of SINTEF Industry on the Norwegian side. This work is part of a long-term strategy at CDMM (Skoltech), exploiting knowledge in detailed multi-phase simulations as elements in complex engineering models. The project plans to develop new numerical models to calculate the formation of ice from sea spray in engineering structures. The Russian part of the ICELOAD project is led by Prof. Iskander Akhatov (Skoltech), while the Norwegian part is led by Prof. Stein Tore Johansen (SINTEF Industry). The success of this application is based on the following three complementary strengths brought to the table by the Russian and Norwegian teams:

Firstly, the Norwegian team has a long-standing experience in the development of open source software that can simulate multi-phase and multi-scale processes related to the ocean, including a clean ocean, offshore wind, wave loads and marine icing.

Secondly, the Russian team has a solid experience in the advanced physical evaluation of liquid interaction with a variety of solid substrates, particularly in droplet physics, and therefore will become an important partner in further model development.

Thirdly, joint efforts in the development of numerical codes will be supported with special experimental studies of sea spray characteristics and long-term ice accretion dynamics. The planned experimental data on spray generation and realistic studies of ice accretion will both provide critical data for the advanced model validation. All experimental work at engineering facilities in the Arctic will be carried out with the support of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS for which there is an oral and written agreement.

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