Established in 1898, the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI) is one of the most prestigious institutions in Ukraine, and one of the largest technical institutes in Europe.
The university was primarily funded by The Association of Sugar Mill Owners who came from southwest Russia, and contributed a significant proportion of the 2.6 million rouble costs. When KPI opened there were just four colleges – Mechanics, Engineering, Agriculture and Chemistry.
With tens of thousands of students enrolled, KPI is the largest university in Ukraine today. There are 29 university colleges, specialising in both science and arts subjects, and most degrees are offered in a choice of Ukrainian, Russian or English language.
KPI is comprised of two main campuses. The first is situated in central Kiev and is centred around an open area known as The Knowledge Square. This campus also houses 9,000 students from outside the city and includes a 1,750-seater assembly hall and various sports facilities. The other campus is in the northern town of Slavutych, which is actually a purpose-built settlement for citizens who were evacuated following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
KPI was the first Ukrainian university to join the community of European universities and it has established cooperative agreements with institutions all over the world. One such agreement, with the University of Oregon in the US, includes a student-exchange program which allows students to study for a semester in a different country.
The university has a history of producing some very prominent figures, particularly in scientific fields. Evgeny Paton, the inventor of electrical welding, was among the first to graduate from KPI, while other alumni include Valeriya Hontaryeva, Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine, and Sergei Korolev, a Soviet rocket engineer who played a central role in the Space Race of the 1950s and 60s.