The Opening ceremony of Tomsk Technological Institute
The first professors of the Institute
Tomsk Polytechnic University was founded in 1896 as Tomsk Technological Institute (TTI) of practical engineers. The Siberian region was rich in minerals but it demanded infrastructure and professionals, who could cope with their extraction and processing. The idea of establishing an independent institute in Tomsk belonged to Count Sergey Yulievich Witte, Minister of Finance of the Russian Empire.
A great contribution to the institute development was also made by the brilliant chemist Dmitry Mendeleev, who was a member of the committee developing the project for the institute construction. In 1904, Dmitry Mendeleev became the first honorary member of the institute. The first technical higher educational institution in the Asian part of Russia was headed by Professor Efim Zubashev, who laid the foundation for TTI as a major Siberian academic and research center.
Tomsk Technological Institute (TTI) ensured training of highly qualified engineers, who strengthened the industries and economies of Siberia, the Far East, and the CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, etc.). TTI established recognized research schools in the field of chemistry, mechanical engineering and materials science, physics and mathematics, electrical and power engineering, mining and geology, and building and architecture.
Academicians V.A. Obruchev and M.A. Usov played a key role in the development of petroleum, coal and metallurgical industries in the eastern part of the country. Over 350 out of 14 thousand graduates of Siberian mining and geological school discovered mineral fields. Over 50 of them became laureates of Higher and Governmental Awards, 15 were given the title of academicians and member-correspondents of the USSR Academy of Science (the Russian Academy of Sciences), over 50 were awarded a doctoral degree and 800 became candidates of sciences (PhD). Researchers and graduates of the institute were actively participating in the design, construction, and launch of main industrial enterprises in the Ural, the Far East, and Siberia, such as Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant, sites in Novosibirsk, mines in Kuzbass area.
In 1925, by the decree of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee, TTI changed its name into Siberian Technological Institute, and in 1934 it was reorganized into Tomsk Industrial Institute.
Further development of the Institute as a research, educational and engineering center was connected with Professor A.A. Vorobiev. In 1944, TTI was awarded the status of a polytechnic institute. It led to the dawn of new research schools, such as radio engineering, electronics and automation, nuclear power engineering, cybernetics and computer engineering, high voltage engineering, engineering and technology of directional drilling, molecular physics, plasma physics, chemistry, etc.
In the 1960s, the Institute continued the enhancement of its research infrastructure. It founded 4 research institutes (Institute of Nuclear Physics, High Voltage Institute, Institute of Automation and Electrical Engineering, and Institute of Non-Destructive Testing), launched the largest in the USSR synchrotron «Sirius» (1,5 GeV), and the only research reactor beyond the Urals. Currently, it is only university research reactor in Russia. At the same time, TPI made a considerable contribution to space exploration studies. Its researchers were engaged in designing of electron non-destructive testing unit applied for monitoring special elements of rocket technology.
During democratic changes in the country and transition to the market economy, Tomsk Polytechnic Institute was led by Professor Yuri P. Pokholkov, who supervised the university reformation and development in new social and economic conditions.
In 1991, due to its academic and research achievements, TPI was awarded the status of Technical University. Since 1991, Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) has been developing in compliance with five-year Complex Development Programs (CDP). This program became one of the most important innovations in Russian education which was approved and supported by the Russian Government. CDP represents the forecast of university development, identifying its objectives, ways to achieve them, necessary resources, and strategic action plans. The first CDP (1991–1995) ensured conditions for university transformation from polytechnic institute to polytechnic university and its general development, training of specialists, and creation of advanced engineering and technology background. The second CDP (1996–2000) provided dynamic development of the university during the market economy formation and transition to post-industrial society. The third program (2001–2005) contributed to university integration into international research and educational community.
During the implementation of the fourth СDP (2006–2010), the special emphasis was placed on innovative research, high technology development, education, and training of graduates capable of ensuring positive changes in the Russian economy and improving its competitiveness in the world.
In 2007, the university became the winner of innovative educational programs competition under the Priority National Project - Education. The objective of the TPU Innovative Program included training of highly-qualified specialists and professional teams in priority areas of science, engineering, and technology. In 2007-2008 approximately 1 bln. rubles was allocated for its implementation. Within two years of Innovative Educational Program, TPU purchased advanced equipment and facility for 660 mln.rub., provided professional development to 1043 staff members, including 393 in foreign universities and research centers, and many more.
In 2009, TPU was among the winners of the 1st round of the competition for the status of National Research University (NRU) organized by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry allocated 1.8 bln. rubles for the implementation of the university development program until 2018.
The fifth CDP (2011–2015) is based on conditions of the TPU Development Programme for 2009–2018 as a National Research University. University CDP consists of seven large elements, defining the development strategy of educational, research, financial, economic, and administrative activity. Innovative Development Programmes (IDP) of TPU structural divisions are an integral part of CDP. Being a university fundamental document, CDP includes response to internal and external challenges the university faces today.
Currently, TPU is among the TOP international universities by the Times Higher Education, the QS World University Ranking, and other international rankings. Active development of research facility and close attention to staff needs allowed the Tomsk University to carve out a niche in several research areas, including materials science, nuclear medicine, the Arctic studies, big data, green energy, and others.