16 July 2012
Skolkovo takes off - applicants snowballing
In 2010, a non-profit Skolkovo Foundation was founded to create a new science and technology development center in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo. The construction for the actual innovation city is underway. More than 500 innovative companies have already joined the project and the amount of applications for participation in the project is snowballing.
The first Skolkovo Innovation Center building "Cube-House" will be ready in September.
The Skolkovo project is structured around five clusters, each responsible for the development and commercialization of innovative projects. To turn Skolkovo project into a success a number of elements were created, including Technopark Skolkovo, Intellectual Property Center, Customs and Finance Company. Also at the end of 2011, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology was incorporated (Skolkovo Tech).
President Dmitri Medvedev presented the creation of a modern technology center in November 2009, saying "this would be something like Silicon Valley in California, and other similar international centers.” Now Russian Prime Minister Medvedev is the Head of the Board of Trustees of Skolkovo Foundation.
The strategic goal of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre is to concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies.Skolkovo is more than a science or technology park and aspires to become an open-source blueprint for urban development and aims to create favourable conditions for the innovative process.
Since the start of the project, the institute has sought foreign partners. Last October, Skolkovo Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) penned a three-year cooperation agreement. The institute is set to begin operations in 2014 and be in full operation in 2020.
In the course of implementation of the project, companies that are engaged in innovative development are discovered. After a selection process, some of these become project participants of the center. They are provided with all assistance necessary for development.
The Skolkovo Foundation and its partners transform the infrastructure, resources and other possibilities of the centre, into effective services for companies that are project participants. Skolkovo Tech’s operations will be funded through the Skolkovo Foundation that administers donor funds from e.g. private firms.
Within the Skolkovo project, five clusters are created.These include energy efficiency, information, biomedical, nuclear and space technologies clusters.
Amount of applicants snowballingUndoubtedly, we are at the beginning of our long path, since the Foundation is building from scratch an innovation centre with global impact, says President of Skolkovo Foundation Viktor Vekselberg in the first Annual Report 2011 that was published in June.
|“However, the main achievements of 2011 make it possible for us to assert that we have succeeded inlaying a foundation, setting up a platform for realizing our mission, which is creation of the ecosystem favorable for promotion of entrepreneurship and research,” Vekselberg describes.
"First, this applies to development and implementation of all necessary procedures for awarding the status of a Skolkovo Project participant by the end of 2011, the number of innovative companies that received the status of Project participants exceeded 330. This is by far more than we expected," he says.
Today, 1,600 applicants are awaiting this status. The amount of applications for participation in the Project is snowballing. In 2011, we developed and introduced grant procedure, which made it possible for 70 companies working in Skolkovo to receive grants for implementation of their innovative projects.
“In 2012, we expect the amount of grantees to double. The total value of grant financing that we are planning to distribute in 2012 will amount to 6 billion rubles (USD181 million),” Vekselberg says, for instance.
Large business companies believed in Skolkovo’s success; among them are the world’s industrial giants Siemens, IBM, Nokia, Ericsson, EADS, Cisco, and many others.
First success stories being born
The Annual Report represents several success stories in the fields of ICT, Internet, chemical processing and energy efficiency.
For instance, under development work or completed are microprocessors with new architecture, new search engine of the Internet media broadcasting sources, early fire detection system for forests, device for projecting three-dimensional high definition image in the air and creation of hybrid new generation locomotive.
The locomotive is being tested at the Riga Railway Station in Moscow. It provides 40 percent energy savings and cuts over 50 percent polluting substances - compared with conventional locomotives.
“The results of the past year and, first and foremost, the specific examples of commercialization of research results of various companies that have been Project participants for a short time, inspire in me confidence that we are able to resolve the task set before us,” Vekselberg says.
“I am confident that we can create the innovation ecosystem that will comprise hundreds of most advanced and promising innovative technologies, ensure their development, and allow us to promote new and absolutely unique products on the Russian and international markets.”
Responding to energy efficiency challengesImproving energy efficiency is Russia's major macroeconomic challenge. Energy efficiency must support all the other priorities for technological modernization.
Cluster of energy efficient technologies introduces new breakthrough technology solutions aimed at the reduction of energy consumption by industrial, housing and municipal infrastructure facilities.
The cluster comprises two basic units – “Generation” and “Consumption” and includes the following priority areas of research:
*energy efficiency of buildings and structures;
*energy efficiency in the industry;
*electric power generation and accumulation;
*electric power transportation and transformation;
*green power production (the use of alternative energy sources);
other energy-efficient technologies.
The energy efficiency cluster has been dealing with inventing new energy saving devices as well as with reducing the cost of existing products, according to Voice of Russia.
Currently, experts at the Skolkovo center are working on five projects aimed to reduce the cost of LEDs and increase their energy efficiency. The center also plans to produce next generation lamps using organic light-emitting diodes, OLEDs.
According to Vasily Belov, Executive Director of the Cluster of Energy Efficient Technologies, some green energy projects also are going on, part of them are long-term, while the implementation of others is about to begin.
For instance, there are four wind power projects, and others offering the use of biofuels.
The first scientific conference of the Skolkovo Foundation took place in St. Petersburg in June 2012. It was organized by the Energy Efficiency Cluster together with the IT Cluster.
The Energy Efficiency Cluster together with venture funds Siemens VC, Bosch VC, Emerald, Leader, RU-COM held a venture fair, as well as a training seminar for participants together with CRDF Global.
More than 15 participating companies of Skolkovo took part in the fair and gave short presentations to representatives of venture funds.
The fair made it possible for the participating companies not only to present their projects to potential investors, but also to form business contacts in order to attract additional investments for the development of their projects.
The meeting of the Energy Efficiency Business Club “Skolkovo” took place in Moscow in March 2012.
A scientific conference of the Energy Efficiency Cluster dedicated to the topics “Smart Grids” and “Energy-Efficient Illumination” took place in April in Moscow.
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