Groundbreaking discovery in Physics by NU researchers

The discovery by Professor Zinetula Insepov (USA, and Head of the Anchor Project of the International Level at Nazarbayev University), Professor Kurbangali Tynyshtykbaev (Kazakhstan, staff member of the Anchor Project of the International Level at Nazarbayev University), Dr. Evgeniy Emelin, Dr. Oleg Kononenko and Professor Dmitry Roshchupkin (Russia, the Institute of Microelectronics Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and Dr. Kanat Baigarin (Kazakhstan, Advisor to the President of Nazarbayev University) opens up new possibilities for using modern micro-graphene in micro and nanoelectronics. Today, graphene is the most durable, thin and ultralight electrically conductive material in the world. Recently, American scientists from the University of Arkansas found out that graphene is capable of revolutionizing the energy sector because it has the potential to become an almost infinite source of energy.

The results of a groundbreaking study demonstrated the ability of graphene to amplify high-frequency acoustic signals at negligible energy costs. The V.A. Kotelnikov Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Physics and Technology Institute of the Russian Academy of Science gave their expert conclusions confirming the value of the discovered effect. The authors were also presented a certificate for their scientific discovery and the medal named after the Nobel Prize winner Peter Kapitsa from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the International Academy of Authors of Scientific Discoveries and Inventions, and the International Association of Authors of Scientific Discoveries.

«Practical developments arising from this discovery are of considerable value to international companies operating in the defense industry, medicine, national security, space communications, for example, to create a worldwide Internet. Intellectual rights to the results of the commercialization of this discovery do not yet belong to Nazarbayev University. We are negotiating with investors about the commercialization of the new device», – reported Professor Zinetulla Insepov.

During the experiment, Nazarbayev University scientists applied a film of graphene on the surface of a piezocrystal – a material capable of converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. At the same time, the graphene was exposed to a constant current source. During the laboratory experiment, a new phenomenon was experimentally observed, and a new theoretical model was developed: a threshold-less amplification of acoustic traveling waves generated by high-frequency electric current but amplified by direct current drown via graphene. At the same time, the energy of acoustic waves was incomparably more powerful than the original acoustic signal.

The study was first published in the well-known American scientific journal Applied Physics Letters in 2015 [1]. The article’s results were re-tested and published on two separate occasions in subsequent works [2,3]. After the discovery at Nazarbayev University, many scientists around the world have become interested in this new effect and its potential applications.

Picture retrieved from

List of related publications:

[1] Z. Insepov, E. Emelin, O. Kononenko, D. V. Roshchupkin, K. B. Tnyshtykbayev, and K. A. Baigarin. Surface acoustic wave amplification by direct current-voltage supplied to graphene film, Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 023505:1-5 (2015).
[2] D. Roshchupkin, L. Ortega, I. Zizak, O. Plotitcyna, V. Matveev, O. Kononenko, E. Emelin, A. Erko, K. Tynyshtykbayev, D. Irzhak, and Z. Insepov. Surface acoustic wave propagation in graphene film, Journ. Appl. Phys. 118, 104901 (2015).
[3] E. Emelin, H.D. Cho, Z. Insepov, J.C. Lee, T.W. Kang, G. Panin, D. Roshchupkin, K. Tynyshtykbayev. SEM imaging of acoustically stimulated charge transport in solids, Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 264103 (2017). 

5 key aspects of a successful Startupper

What does “startup” mean? How do startups differ from traditional businesses? How easy is it to launch your own “startup”?

Today we welcome Chingis Aitzhanov, project administrator of the Business Incubator of Astana Business Campus. Chingis will answer questions and share his experience and suggestions.

It is hard to say if the startup movement began with Mark Zuckerberg, or when Elon Musk started working on Hyperloop. Yet it is clear that startups represent innovation, startups are necessary and always relevant. Now we will try to open the door into an unpredictable world, which exists between business and science, between entrepreneurship and innovations.

So what is a startup?

-Let’s try to be clear for once and all that we mean by startup. Startup – is a temporary organization created to search for repeatable and scalable business models.

“…temporary organization…” The goal of every startup is to become a company. Many successful startup-companies have several years of experience of failures, before significant breakthroughs after which they become big companies.

“…created to search…” Startups create a new product or service for the market, and it is often unclear how to expand into the market. It’s usually unclear who your client is, and how to set sales channels for that certain client.

“…repeatable and scalable…” A product or service offered by your startup has to be suitable for all of your clients, as opposed to traditional companies that offer solutions individually designed for a certain company or person. Besides, startups usually are not limited physically or geographically (city, region, country).

“…business model.” Who pays, for what a startup offers? How do clients pay for solutions? How are clients found? The business model for a startup is represented by a number of assumptions, which has to be checked.

So what do you need to do to become a successful startupper?

-I would underline several key aspects:


It is said that in Kazakhstan networking solves everything. Maybe some people might disagree, but in terms of startups useful are essential and important. It is necessary to meet new people as often as possible and to keep their business cards. No one can predict which person or whose business card will be linked to future success; these people you meet could be a client, a partner, an investor, or just a fan and brand-ambassador! Visit all events dedicated to startups, entrepreneurship, innovations. Share your ideas with people, ask, and discover new things. Moreover, it is essential to maintain the contacts you make because the future is unpredictable, and people sometimes change workplaces, cities, or even open their own business. Astana Business Campus always organizes events, where you can meet interesting and like-minded people, share ideas and get feedback. For example, we organize different idea contests for industrial challenges, Hackathons, and Markethon which was on the 9-10 of May. The ABC Incubation – a startup incubation program – starts in a week. One past event that has just ended, but will begin again soon is the ABC Quick Start which focused on a startup acceleration program.


Sometimes it seems that there are many ideas which have the potential to become great startups. But when you start investigating the topic you realize that the solution already exists, or something similar has been introduced on Indiegogo or Kickstarter. You have to follow technological trends. Read the news, subscribe to Telegram channels, follow social media accounts especially those of innovational entrepreneurs, and if possible take online courses focused on innovation. On the other hand, ideas can be seen as solutions to specific problems. As soon as you become a professional in the field, you start seeing the whole picture, with all the problems that exist and need to be solved. So if you can, take a step back and think of the problems your colleagues and classmates face daily. Perhaps you may be the one who will create an ingenious solution for everybody.


It is hard to do all the work on your own. Although it is possible it will take a lot of time. Time you may not have. It is the nature of startups to evolve quickly because competitors do not sleep. So an important element for any startup is putting in place a dream-team that will support the development from start to finish. To create unbelievable things you need not only skilled people and expertise, but for there to be “chemistry” between teammates. You should also remember that your friends from childhood may not make for the best startup-partners. It’s a careful balance to assemble a team with the right mix characters, who have the necessary expertise and good communication skills.


It is important to understand that if you want to launch a medical startup that you have to be an expert in medicine. If you want to create an app to help students in their studies, that at the very least you should have experience being a student yourself, and know the programming language. Furthermore, it is not enough to simply know the technology on which your solution is based. A startup is not only about innovation, but it is also about entrepreneurship and business. Without basic knowledge of how real markets work your startup’s dreams might not be fully realized. In the best case, you could find yourself registering and holding a patent and in the worst case simply making a prototype. Skills for a startup, as well as presence of a dream-team, help to grow quickly, to leave all competitors behind, and to rapidly expand into new markets.


After you have assembled a team, clarified that the market needs your solution, identified key partners, and located your client, then the hardest thing is left – persistence and belief in success. It is important to understand that startups are always about novelty, not only for the team but for the market in general. The problem with new ideas and things is that sometimes the majority doesn’t immediately grasp their importance. Startups face new problems every day, and many you will have to solve right then and there. But sometimes waiting is key as the time is not right, and it’s important during this phase to keep your spirits up. One thing that can help is to participate in competitions, startup weekends, hackathons, and other events. This will help you to understand if the startup you are working on in on the right track by getting feedback.

Skills and competencies vs knowledge

Yevgeniya Kim, the Director of Nazarbayev University’s Career and Advising Center, has been working there since its inception in 2012. The main tasks of the Center are to work together with students on their career development and to advise students and graduates on issues related to their professional growth. We offer an interview with Yevgeniya on our website.

– As you know, a university system of education encourages students in many ways to be independent, as opposed to the school systems encountered earlier in life. Everything at the university is aimed at providing students with opportunities for development, as they say, “to teach them to fish and you feed him for a lifetime “. How successfully students can take advantage of these opportunities depends on themselves.

We live in a world where the overall knowledge base is constantly growing, so every day there is new data and knowledge in any field of science, industry or business. This changing landscape means that a number of transferrable skills are highly prized. Among them, according to the World Economic Forum Report, are the ability to be analytical, to innovate, to find comprehensive solutions, to think critically, to actively learn, and finally, to be able to learn new skills in general. Supporting students in developing these skills is where the Center sees its main task, which it strives to achieve working together with the schools, the university library, and research centers. We try to actively involve our students and graduates in joint work with our partners through professional development programs (i.e., Company Days, Career Days, seminars on key skills, simulation interviews, and excursions). Starting next academic year, we plan to open a career planning course based on this program.

Science is My Choice

The Alliance of Young Researchers in partnership with NURIS and Nazarbayev University organized the First Youth Research Forum “Science is My Choice”. The forum was attended by 200 young scientists, researchers, representatives of Kazakh universities, research institutes, international organizations, and government agencies.

“Last year we presented the Alliance at Nazarbayev University as a platform for cooperation of young researchers. We have now a team of 200 researchers from universities and organizations from Kazakhstan, Japan, France, USA, UK, and the Netherlands. Within a year we became a platform for networking of young scientists,” said Asiya Yermagambetova, Chair of the Alliance of young researchers.

The event was dedicated to the Year of youth in Kazakhstan. Speakers used the TEDx format to share their experiences in research and innovation. Their talks highlighted a variety of important issues for young researchers, and attempted to answer such questions as what are the various tools needed create research culture, how can researchers encourage interdisciplinary dialogue, and what other ways can young scientists in Kazakhstan build the support networks they need for success.

About the Alliance for young scientists: The Alliance of Young Reseаrсhers is a public association, created in 2018 through the initiative of young scientists of Nazarbayev University. Currently, its membership includes 200 researchers from Nazarbayev University, other Kazakhstani universities and research organizations, and international universities in Asia, Europe and North America.

NU is preparing for the HPAIR-2019 Harvard International Conference

“Passion For Change” is the theme of this year’s conference by the Harvard College Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) that will be hosted at Nazabayev University. The proposal put together by NU Students won a highly competitive process that HPAIR runs to determine which organization in Asia will host the conference. NU’s proposal was selected as the best from all those submitted including those from countries such as Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, China and India. To prepare for the upcoming event student members of NU’s organizing committee had the opportunity to travel to Harvard University (USA), where they received training on organizing and hosting a successful event. The Organizing committee is receiving now applications from different countries for attending the HPAIR-2019.

As previously reported, HPAIR is the largest student conference under auspices of Harvard University in Asia. The conference was established as a platform for students and young professionals to discuss the most important economic, political and social issues for countries of the Pacific Region and Asia. Since 1991, the conference has been held at the universities in 12 different countries involving more than 32,000 participants. Past conference speakers have included leaders of countries, famous scientists, Nobel laureates, diplomats and leaders of international organizations.

The HPAIR 2019 conference will be held in Nur-Sultan city and will offer six areas of focus: art, media and culture; social policy and justice; governance and geopolitics; science and technology; energy and environmental sustainability; and global markets and the economy. In addition to the main agenda, cultural events have been included in the five-day program of the event, e.g. opportunities to attend an international carnival, to experience Kazakh culture, and to go on sightseeing excursions.

Leyla Akhmetova, Chair of the Organizing Committee of HPAIR-2019, a student of Nazarbayev University was invited to be a speaker of the Astana Economic Forum. On May 17, she will deliver a speech on youth issues in Kazakhstan and will share her experience of organizing the conference.

Hong Kong students study Kazakh-Chinese cooperation under ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative at Nazarbayev University

Professors and students have classes and seminars with teachers of the Graduate School of Business, visit prominent Kazakh companies (i.e., ERG, AIFC, Agrofirm Rodina and etc.) and have the opportunity to communicate with their leaders. At the end of the course, the students from Hong Kong will have an assignment to evaluate what they have learned in Kazakhstan. Their feedback will be given to the local companies.

This year, the president of Nazarbayev University Shigeo Katsu participated in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ forum in China. Thу role of Kazakhstan as a key player in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative was highlighted by professors of Hong Kong City University.

Ziguang Chen, professor of organizational behavior and human resource management, City University of Hong Kong:

‘It wasn’t a random choice to choose Kazakhstan for studying the New Silk Road. Indeed, it was Nazarbayev University where the president of China Xi Jinping announced the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative in September 2013. Therefore, we have chosen Nazarbayev University to come to with our students for study and exchange.’

The 5th Graduation Ceremony of Students took place at Nazarbayev University

On May 31 — June 1 the Nazarbayev University held the 5th Graduation Ceremony of Students. On May 31, the ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Supreme Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev Intellectual schools, Nazarbayev University and Nazarbayev Fund, Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, who addressed the graduates of the University with a welcoming speech, congratulated them on finishing their studies, and personally awarded diplomas with honors to graduates who showed the best academic performance.

Yelbasy noted that “NU – Nazarbayev University” brand has become widely recognized not only in the world academic community, but also in the fields of public administration, business, medicine, innovation, and IT-technologies. In a short period of time, the University has become an educational institution for preparing professional staff, and developing national research projects. The main asset of the University, of course, is its intellectual potential: teachers, students, and management staff. The First President of Kazakhstan urged the graduates to take an active part in the life of the country and society.

In turn, Shigeo Katsu, President of Nazarbayev University, urged the graduates to choose the life path that has an opportunity to impact the development of society. “You, our graduating class of 2019, as well as your families, you all embody the same pioneer spirit that we saw in the first four cohorts from 2015 to 2018. Thank you very much! …. Regardless of the path that you are going to embark upon at the job market, in research, or further studies, I do hope that our university has provided you with state of the art tools to develop and enhance your skills and allow you to address the challenges of your chosen path more efficiently and effectively,” President Katsu said in his speech. He also noted that despite predictions on reduction of the labor market due to digitalization and automation of industries, there is still a place for a positive state of mind. The out-of-date professions will be replaced by new types of jobs, and many jobs of the future remain unknown today.

The second day the festive events continued at the University schools joined by guests including the graduates’ families.

Competitiveness of university graduates in modern market conditions

Kadisha Nurduldinovna, what do you think makes a competitive graduate?

One of the most important issues occupying the field of education and policy makers of the state, is how university graduates can be competitive in the labor market. Because today’s world is rapidly changing in almost all spheres of life modern conditions dictate new rules of conduct in the labor market, and this means that even more attention is paid to the creating competitive graduates. These societal and labor market conditions determine not only the skills graduates need to develop, but also highlight what specialists will be in demand today and tomorrow. Competitive graduates are necessary for the future well-being of the country, and competitiveness will determine where we will be tomorrow. In one of his speeches, N. Nazarbayev noted that “youth is a key factor in the competitiveness of our country in terms of energy, knowledge, and patriotism on which the future of Kazakhstan depends. Today there is a competition not only between states, but also between individuals. And the country that has a creative generation that prioritizes science and education will not lag behind and will win. ”

It is difficult not to agree with this statement. I think that our youth also understands the importance of the tasks they face and, of course, their responsibility for themselves and the country. It is easy to believe in this when I look at Nazarbayev University graduates, whose fifth graduation tооk place recently.

The expectations of future employers keep increasing, and the competitiveness of successful candidates is determined by a variety of factors, not just their professional competence. Professional knowledge should be combined with highly developed communication skills, purposefulness, quick learning, adaptability, independence, activity, creative and critical thinking, as well as constant striving for self-development. It is also important for graduates to remember that in addition to professional competency that their human and personal qualities are also of great importance. They need to be able to work in a team, to help and support their comrades, and to be socially responsible.

Today, higher education institutions are not only tasked with providing good knowledge to students but also with laying the foundation for their graduates’ future professional trajectories, so that they may successfully adapt to the ever-changing and increasingly competitive labor market. Understanding the importance of competitiveness, we highlight this theme for discussion at the VIII Annual Eurasian Forum of Higher Education Leaders, which will be held on June 6-7, 2019 at Nazarbayev University. In particular, we have prepared a series of interesting sessions related to the main topic of the forum – “Graduates ready for the future”.

This year we plan to discuss the ability of higher education institutions to prepare students for the changing nature of the labor market, as well how institutions can develop the potential of future leaders and responsible citizens. Today’s institutions are challenged to maximize the value they bring to students, which includes internationalizing their experience, providing opportunities for participation in research, lifelong learning, and having strong partnerships with leading companies. These and other issues will be discussed during the forum sessions, where leaders of educational, business and government organizations, researchers and employers will share their experiences on how educational institutions can meet new challenges.

What factors influence the increase of competitiveness of university graduates in terms of labor market conditions?

I’d say that there are a bunch of factors. Firstly, at Nazarbayev University we prioritize quality education. Our model of strategic development was based on partnerships with leading universities that ranked among the best in the world. Each school and research center of the University was established in cooperation with these world-class universities and research centers. Education at our university takes place in English. We were the first university in Kazakhstan to operate on the principles of autonomy and academic freedom. In order to create an effective academic environment and develop the country’s human capital, the best national and international researchers from different countries are invited to teach at the University. Today the faculty of the University and its scientific staff consists of 477 people from 53 countries of the world (26% of them are national staff).

Secondly, we focus on the development of advanced personal skills and competencies. From the very beginning, Nazarbayev University was established as an international research university. Therefore, research is a high priority at our university, for faculty, staff, and students as well. Despite the considerable workload, our students are very active. Currently, there are over 200 officially registered student clubs including but not limited to ones for music, sports, dance, science, debate, charity, and those related to various academic disciplines.

Thirdly, we emphasize employment skills and knowledge of the labor market. University graduates should be well versed in the labor market, possess information about employers and their requirements, career prospects, the recruitment process, vacancies, working conditions, etc. They should be able to competently write CVs and be prepared for interviews with employers. The University has a Career and Vocational Guidance Center whose purpose is to help students acquire the skills and experience necessary for successful employment. They work with students on an ongoing basis, facilitating internships, providing practice interviews, and also coordinating introductions between students and potential employers.

Fourth, we find that work experience is very important, be it in apprenticeships, internships, temporary employment, volunteering or on another basis. The combination of these four factors increases the competitiveness of our graduates and makes the employment process faster and more efficient.

In a world where the labor market is becoming increasingly competitive, graduates need to plan early. Even from the very beginning of their studies, they need to imagine possible employment options, consider what skills and knowledge is required for such careers, and be prepared to successfully complete all the required stages to gain employment.

In your opinion, what competitive advantages do graduates of NU have?

In addition to quality education, the University pays great attention to the development of its graduates’ professional competencies, and this should give them a competitive advantage in the labor market. These professional competencies are a deep and complete understanding of their subject area; a vibrant, creative, curious, and open mind; the ability to make informed decisions and create new opportunities; enterprise and independence; and a cross-cultural knowledge and fluency that allows them to easily navigate between different settings.

It is also important to be a cultural and tolerant citizen of the world, while at the same time to remain a responsible citizen of one’s own country. Additionally, graduates need to maintain a high level of personal consciousness and be willing to lead their country’s development.

We tried to instill all these qualities, skills and abilities in our students. And today I can proudly say that they meet our hopes and expectations.

Thus, Nazarbayev University’s former graduates – from the past four cohorts numbering more than 2500 students – are a shining example of the above qualities. In terms of what our graduates are doing, about 60% of them are in the workforce, either in Kazakhstani or international companies, and some have even started their own business or startup. About 29%, have continued their studies at various universities around the world. In terms of where our graduates have ended up, more than half of them work and study in Kazakhstan (52%), while the rest have found their place in the labor markets of the United States (15%), the United Kingdom (6%), as well as other countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Particularly of note is that there are graduates who work for leading IT-companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others in Silicon Valley.

What would you wish for the graduates of NU?

Set high ambitious goals and achieve them, work hard, do not stand still, pay attention to the need for constant self-development, good luck in all your endeavors! And of course, do not lose touch with the University and your friends. We are sincerely happy with all the successes of our graduates and are proud of them always.

VIII Annual Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum at Nazarbayev University

On June 6-7 the VIII Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum took place in Nazarbayev University. This year, the organizers have prepared interesting sessions, discussions, and seminars related to the main topic of the forum “Future Ready Graduates”. About 300 delegates from 12 countries participated in the Forum. Gulshara Abdykalikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Shigeo Katsu, President of Nazarbayev University, delivered welcoming speeches to the Forum participants.

At the plenary sessions, participants discussed the readiness of higher education institutions to prepare students for the changing nature of the work environment and their capacity to develop future leaders and good citizens. Today institutions face numerous challenges such as how to maximize the value they bring to students, how to successfully internationalize learning experiences, how to provide opportunities to participate in research and encourage lifelong learning, and how to create a strong portfolio of trusted partnerships with leading industry players. Discussions and interviews with Forum speakers are organized as part of the event.

“Today, we live in a changing, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous world. We live in the era of digital progress, development of computer technologies, artificial intelligence, big data. In an era when artificial intelligence systems, on the one hand, replace human resources, but on the other hand, create needs for new professions. The world is changing, so it is important for us, the universities, to identify answers to the question posed by the theme of the Forum in order to improve the services we provide to students as our clients,” said the President of Nazarbayev University Shigeo Katsu.


On June 13th Nazarbayev University opened a multi-day forum on Gender for the first time, and the theme is “Gender Challenges and Changes in Central Asia”. More than 100 scientists, teachers, and representatives of Kazakhstani and international organizations will take part in the forum. The keynote speakers are Dr. So Young Kim, Director of the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy of the Korean Institute of Advanced Technology (KAIST, Korea) and Dr. Gulnara Ibrayeva, a Central Asian journalist, scientist, and international expert on issues of gender development.

“This forum is a great opportunity to set a dialogue between scientists, practitioners and institutions working in gender field in Kazakhstan and abroad. We tried to organize both theoretical and practical discussions of gender issues at the forum. For example, active participants are Faculty from NU School of Medicine who bring the issues that doctors face in their practical work with patients. And representatives of Kazakhstani schools will discuss gender aspects of their work with school students,” said Jenifer Lewis, Associate Professor of NU Graduate School of Business. 

It should be noted that the theme of the forum includes issues of equality in career opportunities, social norms of behavior, women’s participation in politics, sexual education of youth, domestic violence, women’s entrepreneurship, working with LGBTQ patients in medical practice, gender aspects of corruption, etc. During a second day of the Forum a round table of stakeholders will be held, where education practitioners, researchers, representatives of NGOs and organizations will discuss the practical application of gender studies in the region.

“My colleagues and I at Nazarbayev University conduct extensive research on gender aspects in a school environment. In addition to studying the environment and experience of teachers and students in Kazakhstan, we also analyzed the content of textbooks of 7-8 grades in Kazakh, Russian and English languages. Tomorrow we will share the results of our research at the round table”, – said Anna CohenMiller, Assistant Professor of the NU Graduate School of Education.

The main organizer of the forum is the Consortium of Gender Scholars (GenCon), which has been working at Nazarbayev University for five years.