How are the challenges of socio-economic environments for higher education and the meaningful response of higher education formed? What is the mechanism of this interaction? Is it constant in time? How is the pace of scientific and technological development of civilization related to professional readiness for innovation? Examples from the history of the largest Russian polytechnical universities — Peter the Great St. Petersburg polytechnic university — formation and new direction of higher education formation actualize the questions formulated. The temporary distance between the decisions made is 100 years. SPbPU was established in 1899, the direction of Innovatics was in 1999. This article, as well as the articles included in this thematic issue of the journal, discusses the results of the formation and development of the direction, its scientific, methodological, organizational support, spatial distribution and profiling features in a significant number of universities preparing graduates in the Innovation area . Summarized statistical results are given: the maximum number of universities licensed in the Innovatics area reached 85; the total number of students simultaneously — at least 4000-5000; the total number of graduates of basic educational programs is not less than 10000-12000; the total number of graduates of professional retraining and advanced training programs is at least 17000-18500, total number of jobs created (in universities) - at least 800 -1000
Keywords: Peter the Great St. Petersburg polytechnic university, Innovation area of higher education, dynamics and pace of scientific and technological development, features of formation and key competencies of an innovation management specialist, multidisciplinary.