Tomsk is the oldest large scientific, educational and innovation center in Siberia. There are 9 universities, 15 research institutes, a special economic zone of the technical innovation type and 6 business incubators.
At the end of the 19th century, after the opening of the first university in Siberia, the widespread unofficial name of the city, “Siberian Athens”, appeared. Imperial Tomsk University was founded in 1878 and opened in 1888.
In 1896, the first higher technical educational institution in Siberia, Tomsk Technological Institute (now Tomsk Polytechnic University) was founded (opened in 1900). Tomsk universities gave the world the creator of the Soviet Mi helicopters Mikhail Mil, the creator of the Soviet Ka helicopters N.I. Kamov, the designer of the Ostankino television tower Nikolai Nikitin and many other famous designers and scientists.