The National Mineral Resources University (NMRU) is the first technical higher educational institution in Russia. It was founded by the decree of Empress Catherine II in 1773. Centuries-old traditions are combined here with modern teaching methods and the university’s facilities are considered among the best in Russia. The total area of teaching and laboratory facilities exceeds 240,000 square metres. The university houses more than 60 laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. The main campus is located in the historic centre of St Petersburg. Graduates work in Russian and foreign companies engaged in the exploration, development and processing of mineral resources. Among them are Total, Verbundnetz Gas, De Beers, BHP Billiton, Gazprom, PhosAgro, and many others. NMRU has initiated a number of international projects such as the Russian-German Raw Materials Forum established under the auspices and with the direct participation of Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel.