Education Projects for Sustainable Development: Evidence from Ural Federal University

  • Marina V. Volkova Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
  • Jol Stoffers Research Centre for Employability, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, the Netherlands
  • Dmitry M. Kochetkov Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia and National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia


Sustainable development is a worldwide recognized social and political goal, discussed in both academic and political discourse and with much research on the topic related to sustainable development in higher education. Since mental models are formed more effectively at school age, we propose a new way of thinking that will help achieve this goal. The authors undertook this study in the context of Russia, where the topic of sustainable development in education has been yet poorly developed. The authors used the classical methodology of the case analysis. The analysis and interpretation of the results employed the framework of the institutional theory. Presented is the case of Ural Federal University, which has been working for several years on the creation of a device for the purification of industrial sewer water in the framework of an initiative student group. Schoolchildren recently joined the program, and such projects have been called university-to-school projects. Successful solutions for inventive tasks contribute to the formation of mental models. This case has been analyzed in terms of institutionalism, and the authors argue for the primacy of mental institutions over normative ones during sustainable society construction. This case study is the first to analyze a partnership between a Federal University and local schools regarding sustainable education and proposes a new way of thinking.

Author Biographies

Marina V. Volkova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Marina V. Volkova has been teaching at the Ural Federal University since 1991. She is the initiator of many innovative projects for students and schoolchildren. Marina was a project manager in the Ural Project Session (section "Modern Energy") at Tavatuy-2017 and Sirius-2018.

Jol Stoffers, Research Centre for Employability, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, the Netherlands

Prof. Jol Stoffers Ph.D. is a professor and head of the Research Centre for Employability (Human Capital, HRM, Labor Market) at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Next to that, he is a professor by special appointment in Employability at the Faculty of Management, Science and Technology, Open University of the Netherlands, and research fellow at the Research Centre for Education and Labor Market (ROA) of Maastricht University. Research results have been published in international peer-reviewed journals, including The International Journal of Human Resource Management; and have been presented at scientific conferences, including the Academy of Management. Prof. Stoffers holds a Ph.D. in Management Science from Radboud University (Institute for Management Research).

Dmitry M. Kochetkov, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia and National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Dmitry M. Kochetkov currently works as the Head of the Center for Scientometrics and Development of the Scientific Journals at RUDN University. His research is at the intersection of Science & Technology Studies (STS), knowledge economy and higher education research. Dmitry is also an external Ph.D. researcher at the Center for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University. Holds classes on applied scientometrics.


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How to Cite
Volkova, M., Stoffers, J., & Kochetkov, D. (2019). Education Projects for Sustainable Development: Evidence from Ural Federal University. Changing Societies & Personalities, 3(3), 225–242. doi:10.15826/csp.2019.3.3.073