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In the format of the minister's hour, the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, informed the members of the parliament about the development prospects of the main mega-project of the education system - Kutaisi International University and spoke about the importance of the hadron therapy centre based on its premises.
As the minister noted, the establishment of Kutaisi International University is an event of great importance from the point of view of internationalization of education and science. According to him, Kutaisi International University, which started operating in 2020, has a rapidly growing rating, which is an indication that its development is taking place with the right strategy.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: "In 2022, the Ministry took a number of important steps in the direction of the development of higher education and its internationalization.
I would especially like to single out the mega-project of the higher education system – Kutaisi International University, the establishment of which is an event of great importance in terms of the internationalization of education and science. The author of the idea and concept of the university belongs to Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was as a result of his and his family's extremely important contribution that a world-class academic and scientific-research space emerged in the country.
The university has a rapidly growing rating, which is proof that its development is taking place with the right vision - based on the results of the unified national exams of 2022, according to the average competitive score, Kutaisi International University is ranked first in the country.
As you know, the academic programs currently operating at the university are similar to those of the Technical University of Munich. The existing approach is maintained and academic programs for all three levels of higher education are gradually being created at Kutaisi International University in cooperation with the leading university in a specific field. In particular, I would like to highlight Kutaisi International University's international doctoral programs in mathematics, computer science, management, nuclear physics and physics, which are implemented in cooperation with Aachen University, Helmholtz Centres Dresden-Rossendorf, Jülich Sciences and Helmholtz Centres for Heavy Ion Research GSI. Kutaisi International University's cooperation with San Diego State and Leuven Universities is worth noting, in order to create and implement master's and doctoral programs in cyber security.
The minister emphasized the importance of developing the infrastructure of educational and research laboratories in the university. According to him, within the framework of the agreement with the Carl Zeiss company, Kutaisi International University received a modern educational digital microscopy laboratory, which allows young people to gain practical work experience on multidisciplinary projects.
It should be noted that famous foreign professors are involved in the academic life of the university along with their Georgian peers, whose number is gradually increasing. As a result, a hub of regional importance for education and science is being formed in Kutaisi, which is in compliance with European standards. In addition, it is important that the honorary president of Kutaisi International University is the world-famous scientist, former president of the Technical University of Munich, Professor Wolfgang Hermann.
Moreover, Mikheil Chkhenkeli noted that Kutaisi International University's strategy is to unite the private sector around itself, to strengthen the connection between industry and science, and in this way to create strong entrepreneurship. The members of the university's industry advisory board are representatives of such large organizations as: Siemens, Hilti Group, Deloitte, Pep-Design, European Aerospace Company (EADS), German Business Association (DWV), Federation of Business Leaders "Women for the Future", Business Association of Georgia and American Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Georgia.
During his speech at the parliament, the minister singled out the hadron therapy centre at Kutaisi International University, for the development of which, according to him, important steps have been taken recently.
"As you know, the construction of the hadronic therapy centre on the base of the Kutaisi International University is underway, which is completely financed by the "Kartu" foundation. I had the honour to participate in the solemn ceremony of the beginning of the construction of the centre together with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the International Charitable Foundation "Cartu" - Nikoloz Chkhetiani.
Hadron therapy centre is being built in cooperation with IBA, the world's leading manufacturer of proton therapy equipment for cancer diseases. The company has already assembled two ultra-modern cyclotrons for the centre - at the end of last year, together with the heads of the International Charitable Foundation "Cartu", I got to know the cyclotron assembly process personally in Brussels. One cyclotron will be completely used for cancer treatment with ultra-modern therapy methods, which are highly effective for the treatment of cancer patients, especially children. The second cyclotron will be intended for scientific-research process in medical and nuclear physics. The fact that one cyclotron will be entirely intended for research causes great interest from the international scientific community - many famous foreign scientists have already expressed their desire to join the research process together with Georgian scientists." - stated Mikheil Chkhenkeli.
The minister focused on the importance of deepening cooperation with leading scientific and research centres. According to Mikheil Chkhenkeli, at the end of 2021, during his visit to Brussels, he personally discussed the development prospects of the Hadronic Therapy Center with the NATO Chief Scientist and the Chairman of the NATO Science and Technology Council (STO) - Dr. Brian Wells. It should be noted that NATO's chief scientist expressed great interest in this unique project and expressed readiness for future cooperation.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli spoke about the strengthening of scientific ties with Georgia's strategic partner, the United States of America, and evaluated the steps taken in this direction during the last year.
"In September of this year, during my visit to the United States of America, I personally met with the leading professors of the Faculty of Medicine of Harvard University - Thomas Bortfeld and Benjamin Klass, and I discussed with them the issues of the involvement of professors of the Faculty of Medicine of Harvard University in the scientific research process at the Hadron Therapy Center of Kutaisi International University. It is excellent that the leading professors of the Faculty of Medicine of Harvard University will participate in the scientific activities of the centre and will implement important scientific projects together with their Georgian colleagues. " - Stated the minister said.
Furthermore, as Mikheil Chkhenkeli stated, this year, within the framework of the annual radiation and oncology conference (User Meeting 2022) held in Brussels together with the leadership of the "Cartu" Foundation, he personally provided information about the Kutaisi International University and Hadronic Therapy Center to the representatives of the leading scientific and research institutions of America and Europe.
"I had the honor to personally meet the heads of radiation oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, radiation oncology at the Miami Cancer Research Institute, the MGH Proton Therapy Center, as well as leading professors at Harvard University, the Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf, the Center for Radiation Research and Oncology at the Technical University of Dresden and to the representatives of the European Institute of Oncology. It should be noted that famous scientists of leading scientific and research centres will be involved in the scientific and research process of the Hadronic Therapy Center of Kutaisi International University " - said Mikheil Chkhenkeli.