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The city of Tomsk was founded by the order of Tsar Boris Godunov in 1604 as a military fortress. Since 1804 it has been one of the most important administrative centres of Siberia, since the Tomsk Governate once comprised the territory of Altay region, Novosibirsk region, Kemerovo region and parts of Northern Kazakhstan as well as parts of Krasnoyarsk region. In the 1830s Tomsk gained in importance with the discovery of gold.
However, in the 30s of the 20th century Tomsk region lost its administrative importance due to the route guidance of the Transsiberian Railway which passed Tomsk in the south and made Novosibirsk the new administrative and economic centre of Siberia. During the Cold War Tomsk was a closed city because of strategically important institutions located at the territory such as the first nuclear centre - the Siberian Chemical Combine. The oil production started in the 1960-70s, too. For more information visit the official website of Tomsk (in Russian).
With regard to EU-Russia STI cooperation Tomsk Region is especially important because of its high potential in science and research. Still in the 19th century Tomsk was called the “Siberian Athens”. Looking at the figures the reason gets clear. Today Tomsk has 6 universities with more than 66.000 students. Compared to the size of the city with only little more than 500.000 inhabitants, the amount of students is quite large. Two of these universities were appointed National Research Universities: the Tomsk State University and the Tomsk Polytechnic University. Moreover, there are located 3 private higher education institutions and 6 branches of Russian higher education institutions.
This high potential of qualified workforce makes it reasonable that Tomsk was also appointed one of Russia’s innovation regions. Therefore the focus is on attracting and supporting innovative companies. There are more than 400 innovative companies registered in Tomsk.
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