Moscow Aviation Institute: figures and facts

Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) was founded in 1930 to train qualified personnel for the aviation industry. Since its founding, MAI has trained more than 160,000 professionals in aviation, space science, and industry, including more than 250 general and chief designers, heads of research, and design organizations of basic industries.

Accumulated scientific, pedagogical, educational, and scientific-methodological experience, along with a unique technology base and extensive links within the aerospace industry allow MAI to conduct training of highly qualified specialists. Because of MAI's exceptional level of instruction, trained specialists leave with knowledge and skills that meet the current requirements of both Russian and global labor markets.

]Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) is a Technology Park, which, along with classrooms, has research and education centers, resource centers, design offices, and numerous laboratories. This campus also has an experimental plant, airfield facilities, and a student center.

Among the graduates of MAI are 21 cosmonauts who have worked in space for a total of more than 13 years. 14 of them have performed 61 extra-vehicular space walks.

The University also has trained over 60 Olympic, World, and European champions in various sports.

Most examples of modern aviation and space technology, either in inventory and/or in operation, were created under the guidance and direct participation of MAI graduates. These include MiG-29, IL-76, IL-96, Tu-160, Tu-204, Su-25, and Yak-130. Also included are helicopters Mi-26 and Mi-28, Ka-52 and Ka-60, as well as aircraft engine AL-31F for aircraft Su-27. Further examples are airborne radars for aircraft Su-30MKI "Bars," MiG-29 "Zhuk," airborne radar stations for all Arbalet combat helicopters; strategic ballistic missiles "Topol-M" and P-36 "Satan," along with missiles PCM-50 and PCM-52 for submarine fleets; anti-aircraft missile systems S-200 and S-300; early warning radar and control systems "Don 2" and "Dar`ial;" and aircraft missiles RBB-AE, R-27, R-73, X-31P, along with armed fighter aircraft MiG-29 and Su-27. Furthermore, the unparalleled supersonic anti-ship missile, "Moskit," and the world's most trusted carrier rocket, "Soyuz-U," must be mentioned. MAI graduates also contributed to the creation of the control systems for launch vehicles "Proton" and "Zenit," as well as support and rescue systems for aircraft and spacecraft; space systems for communication, relay and control, including GLONASS; and the world's most powerful rocket engines RD-120, RD-170 and RD-180 and many others.

Currently, approximately 20,000 students study in different forms at the University's 12 faculties, 2 institutes (both with faculty status), and 4 branches. 93% of university students study subjects related to MAI's specialty areas.

All MAI students undergo multilevel training in continuing education areas, including: initial training, general training, additional training, instruction to prepare current expectations within the global professional marketplace, preparatory courses, higher education, secondary higher education, professional retraining, and advanced studies.

MAI also holds licenses in 49 postgraduate education specialties.

Specialists at the University branches complete their training in the most prestigious centers for the study of both the aviation and aerospace industries:

  • In the town of Zhukovsky, which concentrates on training personnel for the enterprises of JSC «United Aircraft Corporation» (The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky, JSC V.V. Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design, and others);
  • In the town of Khimki, which concentrates on training staff with secondary occupational education for The Russian Federal Space Agency companies;
  • In the town of Akhtubinsk, which concentrates on training specialists for the State Flight Test Center of the Russian Air Force;
  • In the town of Baikonur (at the Baikonur cosmodrome), which concentrates on training personnel for the operation of the rocket launching facilities at Baikonur.

Today, MAI employs more than 2100 teachers, including 17 full and corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, more than 400 doctors of science, and over 1,000 associate professors and professors. Of the university's total teaching staff, about 70% have an academic degree or title.

Basic training is carried out at MAI according to the principle of through (end-to-end) design. This includes education in the design of each system required for building all aircraft, rocket, and space technology: 3D modeling of components, formation of parts for electronic models, process flow design, program compilation for CNC machine tools, parts manufacturing, quality control, and testing. To do this, the university has created unique, modern laboratory facilities, each of which complies with the international level of industry development. Each facility provides: full-scale equipment models, including aircraft, helicopters, missiles, and weapons systems; robotics; avionics and radar; wind tunnels; flight simulators; industrial scanners; metal powder fusing units; powder X-ray diffractometers; experimental vacuum stands for spacecraft plasma thruster research; equipment for the study of micro-and nano-particles; and measurement laboratories for the creation of high-accuracy ultra-wideband radiosystems.

Students also receive hands-on training as interns at companies, starting in their third year. Students receive internship assignments in specialized companies, where they perform their course and diploma projects under the guidance and supervision of industry professionals. Students have an incredible opportunity to avail themselves of hands-on experience to practice new skills, while still being financially compensated by the host business for their work. Many host organizations also offer additional scholarships. The internship period helps students to gauge their employment prospects in different companies, as well as in their field of study at large, and helps potential employers see the abilities of their future specialists. MAI has arrangements with more than 70 organizations for this type of hands-on training. Internships at partnering companies are also available to university faculty members. Furthermore, these business partnerships allow managers of industrial enterprises to study special profile subjects at MAI. Previous participants include: M.A. Pogosyan, B.V. Obnosov, B.S. Aleshin, G.G. Raikunov, V.A. Sorokin, S.Yu. Zheltov, and others.

Despite the fact that the majority of MAI specialties are classified, the university trains foreign students from 14 Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member countries, as well as from 32 countries abroad. The largest of these training contracts were with the Union of Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China, Kazakhstan and others.

There are currently 1,265 undergraduate students, 47 graduate students and 3 doctoral candidates from abroad enrolled at the university. Furthermore, MAI trains 50 foreign students and professionals on a probationary basis. More than 95% of these foreign nationals are trained in technical specialties.

MAI interacts with a number of major foreign universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Currently, MAI has cooperation agreements with 64 foreign universities. By order of MAI, each department chair is assigned foreign universities according to their profile areas and interacts closely with their assigned foreign university departments.

Moscow Aviation Institute takes an active part in this international cooperation by participating in:

  • The Global Initiative for Engineering Education (CDIO — Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate);
  • The Association of Technical Universities of Russia and China;
  • The European Association of Aerospace Universities (PEGASUS);
  • and others.

The main purpose of MAI's participation with these associations is to promote the development of innovations in engineering education, the study of international practices to build training programs in accordance with the Bologna Declaration, the implementation of international methods for teaching engineering specialties, as well as the geographic expansion of academic mobility of MAI students.

Established in 2011, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology currently is headed by E. Crowley, Honorary Doctor of MAI. The Dean of the MAI Faculty of Aircraft Engineering, A.V. Efremov, and the Chair of the MAI Faculty of Space Systems and Rocketry and Corresponding Member of RAS, O.M. Alifanov, are also involved in the activities of Skolkovo Tech. In 2012, Skolkovo Tech awarded a grant to fund a joint project between MAI and MIT in the field of space research. Thanks to this cooperation, a joint research center will now be established.

Based on a number of proposals from the aerospace industry (JSC Sukhoi Company, RAC "MiG," JSC Kamov and others), MAI has opened training areas associated with intensive study of foreign language with an emphasis on the aerospace industry. Students are trained with due regard to the main profile of the university.

Moreover, the Faculty of Foreign Languages conducts language training and proficiency testing for civilian pilots and air traffic controllers, in accordance with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Additionally, the MAI Faculty of Foreign Languages conducts qualification testing and teaches aviation English as per the standards for ICAO pilots and air traffic controllers for civil aviation in Russia and other CIS countries.

Since 1933, MAI has been training specialists in the field of economics and production management for high-tech enterprises, primarily in the aviation, space, missile, and defense industries. Thanks to their extensive training in engineering, the graduates of the MAI Engineering and Economics Institute are in high demand by the leading producers of the high-tech industry; the economy needs managerial personnel who are educated at the apex of engineering and economic sciences, with full access to the latest knowledge and technology.

Moscow Aviation Institute offers its students and those from partnering universities the opportunity to pursue an additional degree in a separate area of study, both during pursuit of a graduate degree in their original field and after graduation.

Over the past two years, more than 300 MAI students have interned for training at foreign universities. During the same period, faculty members were invited to teach in a visiting capacity at about 60 universities abroad. The number of postgraduates and faculty members of MAI selected for this training in the 2009-2013 period totaled about 2000. In 2013, more than 420 postgraduates and academic staff of the university availed themselves of this opportunity to upgrade their skills at leading scientific and university centers of aerospace industry.

With the help of video conferencing, classes are held at MAI divisions in Serpukhov and the MAI branch, Voshod, in Baikonur. On an ongoing basis since 2011, MAI faculties have held remote classes in mathematics, physics, foreign language, basic aircraft design, and the SolidWorks software for pupils of Moscow school 698, Gagarin school 1, Smolensk Region, and school 2 in Kaluga. MAI teachers and high-schoolers, together with JSC «United Aircraft Corporation», OJSC Ilyushin Aviation Complex, JSC Sukhoi Company, are actively involved in a project called, "Integration of Education, Science, and Industry," the basis of, "Education City." This collaboration is a government funded effort to involve youth in education and teaching.

Also, video teleconferences are held with foreign educational institutions such as:

  • Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA (on the project, "Remote Environment Sensing Microsatellite");
  • International Academy Project, Dusseldorf, Germany;
  • Institute of Aeronautics, Brasilia, Brazil.

MAI's Scientific and Technical Library provides resources for the learning process, research, teaching, and all general educational activities of the university. The library defines the principles of universal acquisition, both of traditional materials as well as those on electronic media. The library current holds about 2.6 million units and adds 25-30 thousand units annually. The collection includes various types of publications: books, periodicals, theses, research and R&D reports, scientific and technical documentation, and reference and information materials in Russian and foreign languages. The electronic library, which is undergoing an upgrade, currently holds 3508 digitized, full-text publications, primarily of MAI educational and methodical literature, as well as rare and unique books. The university network includes a library website, which functions as a modern information portal where the university community can access the electronic catalog, the newsletter of acquisitions, and data from electronic resources.

Currently MAI trains designers and engineers from diverse backgrounds for work in the aviation, space, missile, and defense industries. Such specialists are in high demand in the aerospace and defense industries, which are experiencing an acute shortage of highly qualified personnel.

MAI began implementing a development program in 2009 that is expected to run through 2018, which provides for the establishment of knowledge generation centers with powerful logistics for scientific experiments and project development; such improvements solidify MAI's place as a national research university. These would be integrated with the continuous training of specialists in the most critical technology fields in Russia, ensuring the transformation of research results into implementable technology. This also requires ensuring that these new technologies find their application as products and services in cutting-edge areas of technological development. MAI's priority areas for such development are as follows:

  • "Aircraft Systems;"
  • "Rocket and Space Systems;"
  • "Power plants for aircraft, missile, and space systems;"
  • "Information and communications technologies for aircraft, missile; and space systems".

In accordance with the priority areas selected for the MAI Development Program, the university provides equipment and assures development of resource centers, multiple-access centers, research and education centers, and university laboratories. This concentration of resources can significantly improve the effectiveness of research in priority areas and make a greater contribution to the socio-economic development of the industry.

During the 2009-2013 period, the university:

  • received 133 patents for industrial property and 207 certificates of state registration for computer programs and databases. In 2013, the institute got files for 315 intellectual property units as intangible assets;
  • published 206 monographs;
  • hosted defenses of 231 postgraduate theses and 8 doctoral dissertations by doctoral candidates of the institute, as well as 128 masters theses and 25 doctoral dissertations by the faculty and staff of the institute.

In 2013, staff, doctoral candidates, postgraduates and students of the institute published 500 articles in scientific periodicals indexed by Russian and foreign organizations.

MAI conducts research in collaboration with international corporations. Thus, in 2013, MAI performed about 820 000 $ worth of R&D investigations within the framework of international scientific programs.

MAI is one of the leading universities in terms of the number of leading scientific schools; the Council for Grants of the President of the Russian Federation recognized six MAI research teams. The university actively develops research areas for aviation, rocketry, transport, information, telecommunication systems, power engineering, and energy saving. MAI scientists are actively involved in the development of the GLONASS system, unmanned aerial vehicles, and nanotechnology for the aerospace industry, along with many other promising high-tech areas (projects).

Over the past 4 years, more than 20 young doctors and candidates of sciences received grants from the President of the Russian Federation.

Each year, the university hosts a number of international scientific conferences and events that reflect the development of the university as an important educational organization of the aerospace industry. MAI hosted the international conference, "Aviation and Cosmonautics;" the international youth science and technology forum, "Youth and the Future of Aviation and Astronautics;" the scientific and practical conference of young scientists and students, "Innovation in Aviation and Astronautics;" and others.

More than 3000 students are involved in university research. For many years, MAI has supported student participation in: a student design bureau for experimental aeronautical engineering (the developer of ultralight and sport aircraft), a student design bureau for aviation modeling, and a student design bureau for helicopter industry (the developer of small remotely piloted aircraft with vertical take-off).

Moscow Aviation Institute is the only Russian university conducting training for Russian spaceports:

  • Baikonur (town of Baikonur);
  • Plesetsk (town of Mirny);
  • Vostochny (town of Uglegorsk).

MAI space area testing facilities are unique among those generally available at universities because they cover the full spectrum of professional-level laboratories found in the field. Available facilities include thermal vacuum plants, vibration survival test systems, and weightlessness simulating stands, and are retrofitted with the most up-to-date tools for data collection and processing. During 2008-2011, MAI created a modern production base equipped with machine tools with numerical program control, allowing the structure elements of spacecraft to be produced and assembled on-site at the university. This equipment is used for through (point-to-point) student training, where a full spacecraft cycle is played out from concept through to fully built prototype, so that students can experience the whole test cycle.

MAI is the only university in the world that holds a developer certificate for light aircraft and a license to develop aircraft. The university provides educational and scientific support for serial aircraft production.

In the period from 2009 to 2013, the Moscow Aviation Institute participated in more than 130 exhibitions, both Russian and foreign, and is the recipient of many exhibition awards, diplomas, and certificates.

MAI activities are constantly highlighted in major print and electronic profiles and industry media. In 2013 alone, university experts participated in the making and release of 80 television segments on research and career guidance, resource centers, and university development projects.

Since 2010, MAI has been conducting a unique career-oriented event at Tushino airfield, the Moscow Youth Festival named, "May Vzlet (Russian: MAI Taking Off)," which attracts more than 700 local students.

MAI repeatedly wins various awards for active information and PR activities. Most recently, these have included a 2nd place award in the "Best Blogger," category for university media in a competition sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science; an honorable mention in the "PR-specialist of the Year" category in the PROBA-IPRA GWA international competition; "Best Public Relations Project in Innovation" in the 2011 national competition, "Press Service of the Year;" and 2nd place in the competition, "Aircraft Manufacturer of the Year, 2011," in the category "For Coverage of Aircraft Construction in the Media."

The Moscow Aviation Institute is located on approximately 400 hectares of land with a total developed area of approximately 390 thousand square meters. 71% of the aforementioned space is allocated for teaching and research, 14% for dormitories, 12% for social and health centers, about 2% for sports facilities, and the remaining 1% for other uses.

The MAI campus includes seven dormitory buildings for 4837 persons, including three 16-story comfortable block-style dormitories and four 5-story corridor-style dormitories to accommodate more than 3,500 students and postgraduates from other cities (including about 640 foreign students) and attendees of the preparatory department. At the end of 2015, ground will be broken on a new student campus intended for 1,300 residents and including all the necessary infrastructure: outpatient clinic, gym, bicycle storage area, dining room, etc.

In 2011, the MAI campus was the regional winner in a competition between Moscow university students in two categories: "Best Student Dormitory of the Northern Administrative District of Moscow" and "Best Dormitory Management System of the Northern Administrative District of Moscow."

MAI students, postgraduates, and staff undergo regular medical examinations and get qualified care, including preventive procedures, in outpatient clinic 44.

MAI offers facilities for myriad sports. Currently, the Sporting Club has over 50 teams and clubs in various sports for 5000 MAI university members.

To ensure the current level of project development and innovation, modern technologies supporting the project development, simulation, and calculation are widely used.

Open for all manner of cooperation and innovation, Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) is dynamically developing and, according to the companies and organizations involved in aviation, space, missile, and defense industries, is the leading Russian research university in the field of aviation, rocketry, and astronautics.



National research university.

In 2009, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation approved a development program that would cultivate MAI as a national research university.

The program aims to raise MAI to a qualitatively new level of training so that it can continue to educate professionals who are in high demand in each of the high-tech industries in today's innovative economy. This requires the creation of a unified educational environment that bridges the university with research centers and companies within the targeted industries.

The most important result of implementation of the program will be the continued consistent and comprehensive development of MAI, in full compliance with the highest world standards, and will attract, with the intellectual environment created within it, the best professionals—those who will contribute to the productivity of research, development of projects, and the promotion of the highest quality educational services.

Development of priority areas.

MAI conducts research and continuous training of professionals in through (end-to-end) designing of all systems of aviation, rocketry, and space technology. In order to realize MAI's unique capabilities, the following areas were selected as developmental priorities:

  •   "Aviation systems" (civil and military transport aircraft, helicopters, small aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, atmospheric aircraft, gliders, helicopters, dirigibles, stratostat and stratosphere balloons, and promising aircraft with unconventional layout).
  •   "Rocket and space systems" (spacecraft for various purposes, including habitable spacecraft, life support systems, boosters, and rocketry of all kinds for all destinations).
  •   "Power systems for aircraft, missile, and space systems" (power plants for all classes of aircraft, rocket engines of various classes, upper-stage rockets for spacecraft, spacecraft engines, power plants for aircraft drive groups, etc.).
  •   "Information and communications technologies for aircraft, missile, and space systems" (communication systems, and systems for data transfer, telemetry, navigation, intelligent control, radar, optical and opto-electronic systems and their aggregation).

Modern laboratory and research base.

Along with the university development as a whole, the improvement of certain MAI subdivisions will be a priority. This will include the updating or replacement of equipment in the following multiple-access centers, resource centers, research and educational centers, student design bureaus, airfields and other units equipped with modern facilities:

  •   Resource centre in the field of aviation;
  •   Resource centre in the field of aircraft engineering;
  •   Rocketry and space technology resource center;
  •   Resource center for research and innovation technologies;
  •   Multiple-access center for equipment in the field of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies (MAI NanoCenter).

Thanks to the new equipment, MAI subdivisions are increasing the volumes of R&D conducted.

During the period from 2009-2013, revenue from research and innovation was over 130 000 $; in 2013 alone, 35 000 000 $.

Among the positive results of conducting the MAI Development Program is the winning of a number of competitions awarded by the Decision of the Government of Russia. In 2010, in one such competition, MAI became a participant of two three-year projects. Both were offered in open public contests, with the goal of selecting organizations for the right to receive subsidies for the implementation of complex projects aimed at the creation of high-tech production, as decried by the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation, #218, dated April 4, 2010. Another open public contest was held to select organizations to receive grants from the Russian Government to support scientific research conducted under the supervision of leading scientists at Russian institutions of higher occupational education. This contest was conducted in accordance with the Russian Federation Government Decree, #220, of April 4, 2010. The winner was the project, "Development of research areas in the field of power plants for aircraft and missile-space systems," which allowed MAI to host Professor Horst Wolfgang Loeb (Germany), a renowned scholar and expert in the field of HF plasma dynamics and electrojet engines. The joint project with Professor Loeb, which will create a research laboratory, has been funded for three years in the amount of 4 055 000 $.

Implementation of these projects requires substantial revision to the University's existing research management system. To bring it in line with the modern requirements, the University has developed a program for the development of MAI's innovation infrastructure; this project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation as a result of our program winning in the contest held by Decree of the Russian Federation Government, #219, April 9, 2010. Funding for the Institute's program, "Development of MAI innovative structure," totaled 2 800 000 $. In 2010, as part of this program, MAI created an Innovative Small Company for the first time.

In 2013, MAI completed 47 projects under various federal target programs, totaling 5 370 270 $.

MAI actively participated in the federal target program, "Research and scientific-pedagogical personnel of innovative Russia," for 2009-2013. The program provided for a combination of targeted funding for research in the scientific and educational centers, research under the guidance of leading Russian scientists, and research conducted by young scientists and target postgraduates, including those led by famous Russian scientists, as well as others invited from abroad. In 2013, a total of 24 projects of different MAI research groups were funded, a number of which won previous years' competitions under the Federal Target Program, "Research and scientific-pedagogical personnel of innovative Russia," in the sum of 486 972 $. During the period from 2009 to 2013, more than 120 projects were financed, totaling 8 000 000 $.

The Government Commission on High Technologies and Innovation approved 60 programs of innovative development hereinafter referred to as Innovative Development Program) of partially state-owned companies, 16 of which have included MAI as a supporting university. Moscow Aviation Institute has been proposed for inclusion in the proposed plans for the innovative development of enterprises of more than 180 projects, worth more than 14 million rubles. Under the Innovative Development Programs, the University has carried out work for such leading enterprises of aerospace and defense industries as JSC «United Aircraft Corporation», JSC Concern "Almaz-Antey", JSC Tactical Missile Corporation, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia after S.P. Korolev, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center KHSC, JSC Vega Radio Engineering Corporation, JSC "Academician M.F. Reshetnev "Information Satellite Systems", NPO Energomash, and OBORONPROM Corporation. In 2013, MAI performed 87 R&D and technology projects totaling 12 931 621 $ under contracts with organizations that are both part of public corporations and partially state-owned companies, as well as the federal state unitary enterprises implementing innovative development plans.

MAI initiated the creation of three technology platforms. With respect to the technological platform, "Aviation mobility and aviation technologies," created jointly with The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky and United Aircraft Corporation, Moscow Aviation Institute was recognized as the lead university coordinating activities of participating institutions. With respect to the space area, MAI is a co-coordinator of the National Space Technology Platform (NKTP), together with  Central Research Institute of Machine Building .

With respect to the aviation area, MAI is recognized as the lead university, together with The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky and United Aircraft Corporation (; with respect to the space area (, MAI is the initiator of the National Aerospace Technology Platform, together with Central Research Institute of Machine Building  and supported by The Russian Federal Space Agency. MAI has also supported a number of technology platforms suggested by other companies and universities.