For a long time all major scientific studies in Russia were generally conducted in closed research centers that worked for the state, and the staff training task was carried out by higher education institutions, while in other countries science has always been consumeroriented. Modern foreign universities make up a part of clusters that generate intellectual property together with state and cooperative research centers. Russian universities are currently at the transition stage: there is an on-going reform of higher education, search and approbation of the new opportunities and functions of the universities. The aim of the current study is to define a new function for the regional university. This new function means that students will acquire a project component and that a partner network will be created. It will integrate the higher education institution, the local community, the authorities, employers and business enterprises, as well as the noncommercial sector. The authors have managed to define the mechanisms and conditions that expand the interaction between the higher education institution and its partners and develop the project competences, which increase competitiveness of the graduate.
project competences, local community, employer, competitiveness of the graduate, civic education, partner network