As part of the Year of Science and Technology, team engineering competitions for students in grades 8 to 11 will be held in the 2021–22 academic year.
The National Technology Olympiad (NTO) takes place under the coordination of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation in conjunction with the National Technology Initiative Kruzhok Movement and the support of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.
The NTO is based on the experience of the NTI Kruzhok Movement Olympiad, which has been held since 2015. Over the six years of the project's existence, more than four thousand schoolchildren have become finalists and winners, being granted the right to benefits when applying to the country's leading technological universities. The National Technology Olympiad will maintain a focus on practice, a team competition format, modern technology package, and new markets.
In the new academic year, the competition will be held in thirty-one engineering profiles — participants will be able to choose up to three directions. All profiles are dedicated to solving urgent industry problems, immersing students in the world of advanced technologies: from artificial intelligence and machine learning to smart and nuclear energy, genome editing, and robotics (see examples here).
As a result of the examination of the Russian Council of School Olympiads, twenty-six NTO profiles were included in the draft order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. Winners and awardees of these profiles will receive benefits and advantages when applying to universities.
“One of the main tasks of the Year of Science and Technology in Russia is to involve young people in scientific activities. The National Technology Olympiad is aimed at developing pupils’ and students’ abilities and interest in engineering, technical, and research activities. Over the years of the project, more than 200,000 high school students from all regions of the country have taken part in it. We expect that the Olympiad will not only support educational aspirations, but also allow students to make use of career guidance and choose a specialty that is in demand in the most advanced markets of modern technologies, including neurotechnology, genome editing, and artificial intelligence. According to the results of the Olympiad, the winners of 31 engineering directions of the Olympiad will be able to enter the leading universities of Russia, undergo an internship and find work in technology companies of the country,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and co-chairman of the Year of Science and Technology organizing committee.
NTO participants will have to solve practical problems related to social and technological problems. Students will develop human-machine interfaces, automate business processes in the field of sharing and ecology, train artificial intelligence systems, design robotic solutions, create flexible power systems, master virtual and augmented reality tools, and much more.
“The National Technology Olympiad is a new level of development of the NTI Kruzhok Movement Olympiad, where we have kept the best: practice orientation, team format, modern technology package, and new markets. NTO takes into account the interests of all parties involved. For students, this is not only new educational opportunities but also a career guidance tool. For schools, universities, and businesses, this is an opportunity to train highly sought-after specialists with experience in solving engineering problems, who are able to use their strengths as efficiently as possible. It is true that NTO features challenging tasks, but this represents the real world, where the most pressing problems need solutions at the intersection of science and technology,” commented Dmitry Zemtsov, leader of the NTI Kruzhok Movement.
The first qualifying stage of the Olympiad began on September 27, during which theoretical knowledge in school subjects were tested. Participants who reached the second qualifying stage united in teams to solve complex problems in the chosen profile. The final stage will take place in full-time format in the spring of 2022.