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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > > Skolkovo - Russia's ‘scientific capital' to be

Eugene Birger
Principal Analyst

The strategic goal of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre is to concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies. 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 centre. 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

April 20th, 2012

Skolkovo - Russia's ‘scientific capital' to be

The center of innovative technologies, which is currently being built in Skolkovo, a place near Moscow, will most likely host the summit of the G8 in 2014. Russian government is going to start preparations for this summit.
The J8 is a non-official forum which unites the world's most economically advanced democratic powers. Two years from now, Russia will be the chairing country in this forum, and a tradition exists that it is in the chairing country that the G8 summit usually takes place. The Russian government believes that it will be logical to hold this summit in Skolkovo, this ‘town of scientists'.

The decision to create a center of innovative technologies in Skolkovo was taken in the spring of 2010. It is planned that Skolkovo will turn into a big settlement of scientists with living accommodation, streets, schools, and of course all kinds of scientific centers and laboratories. About 400 companies have already expressed a wish to take part in the Skolkovo project. Such giants as the US Intel, Cisco and Boeing, the Finnish Nokia and the Dutch Phillips have already signed relevant documents that they will invest in the Skolkovo projects. In total, their investments will make many billions of dollars. Besides, a university of innovative technologies will be opened in Skolkovo. About 2,000 students will study there. It is expected that the world's leading professors will lecture here.

The last time that Russia hosted a summit of the G8 was in 2006. That time, the summit took place in Strelnya, a place near St. Petersburg. Strelnya is known for a palace with a beautiful park, which used to be a summer residence of the Russian tsars. It was built in the early 18th century, under Emperor Peter the Great. Before the summit of 2006, the palace, the park and the park's system of chanals were reconstructed, and the foreign guests were able to see them in their full beauty.

It is good without doubt that the world has a chance to be convinced that Russia has had a glorious past, but it would be also good for the world to be sure that Russia's future will be no less glorious. Let us hope that the Skolkovo center of innovative technologies will do work much for Russia's glory. The center's initiators have an ambitious dream that it will help Russia to become one of the world's leaders in innovative technologies as soon as within the next 5 to 7 years.

Source: The Voice of Russia

What is Skolkovo?

The strategic goal of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre is to concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies. 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 centre. 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


Within the Skolkovo project, five clusters are created, each one developing innovative projects. These are the information, biomedical, energy efficiency, nuclear and space technologies clusters.

Strategic computer technologies and software are included in the list of priorities that are supported by the Skolkovo Innovation Centre. The mission of the IT Cluster is to create an effective ecosystem model for the development and commercialization of innovations in information technology in Russia.
The main goal of the cluster is to create a model of an effective ecosystem for the development and commercialization of IT innovations in Russia. In order to achieve this, special focus will be given to the establishment and support of Russian startup companies. Within the framework of this goal, three major objectives have been set for the cluster- to concentrate resources and competencies in the IT field, to facilitate the development of the innovative processes, and to encourage the formation of innovative IT infrastructure in key sectors of the Russian economy.

Achieving the objective of concentrating resources and competencies requires concluding partnership agreements with innovators, research institutes and venture investors, as well as with existing development institutes.
In order to support the development of IT innovations, the cluster provides assistance in the training of a new generation of young scientists and managers. With support of the cluster, educational programmes at universities are being developed and various competitions are being held, with students and young scientists receiving access to IT laboratories. The cluster provides assistance in the implementation of innovative IT solutions that help transform the traditional economy into a ‘smart economy', making use of innovative solutions to meet the needs of residential infrastructure, transportation, medicine and education.

The strategic goal of biomedical cluster is to create an ecosystem for innovation in this field. To do this, the best practices of the leading biotechnology and biomedical research centers have been studied.
The main goal of the cluster is to promote innovations in the field of biomedical technologies. To develop the cluster's concept, its organisers studied best practices of the leading scientific centers, and consulted members of the scientific and business communities. Within the framework of this objective, the cluster focuses on four foresights - directions of activity and support for development in the following fields: clinical medicine and health care, medical-biological and biological sciences, bioinformatics, as well as industrial biotechnologies (purification methods, ecology and bio-industrial technologies for the production of medical preparations).

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 main goal of the cluster is to create a specific environment to support innovative developments in the fields connected with the implementation of new and breakthrough technological solutions. Primarily, these are solutions designed to reduce energy consumption by industrial facilities, housing and public utility facilities, as well as municipal infrastructure facilities.

Tactical objectives of the cluster comprise the development of those fields where Russia possesses serious competitive advantages, reduction of the gap between Russia and economically developed countries, and further development of areas related to international innovative trends. Top-priority lines of the cluster's activities have been determined through close cooperation with business and scientific circles, public authorities and the expert community. Provisionally, these lines have been divided into two foresights - generation and consumption.

The Space Technology and Telecommunications Cluster is intended to strengthen Russia's position in the respective industries. With the help of innovations developed and implemented in the Cluster, Russian companies will be able to increase their market share in the global market, the total volume of which is estimated at 300 billion dollars. National space activity is an indispensable part of scientific-technical and spiritual legacy of Russia. Our country has been taking one of the leading roles in space exploration and utilization for more than a half century. Up to the moment Russian cosmonautics still remains one of the fields of national competitive advantage, defining our place among economically developed countries in many respects. Space activity development, allowing accelerating the economy modernization process, providing the effective science, technology and social development, is one of the key factors in economical and social development of the country, growth in the living standards and providing national security.

Space Technology and Telecommunications Cluster provides search, involvement and selection of potential subjects of innovative process in the field of spacecraft development and target operation and diversification of rocket-and-space industry potential. It supports their cooperation and provides environment for full cycle innovative process implementation. The Cluster residents implement projects in space technologies and telecommunications covering both Space for Earth (space applications) and Earth for Space (development of aerospace technology and space industry diversification) domains. The Cluster plans an active fruitful communications with Russians research and technology community as well as with our colleagues overseas.

The development of nuclear technology is the key to winning an innovative leadership position and maintaining the defense capability of the country. At the same time, the goal of the cluster is not only to enhance the competitiveness of nuclear power markets, but also the creation of new breakthrough technologies and products. Innovative development of nuclear technologies is an essential condition for consolidating (and in some areas, achieving) a position of global technological leadership and maintaining Russia's defence capability. During the 20th century, basic research in nuclear physics, plasma physics, and energy conversion became the basis of at least two major applied nuclear projects that have had significant influence on the development of mankind: military (the atomic bomb) and energy (the nuclear reactor).

During the Soviet atomic project an entire class of unique technological operations was created. The methods of nuclear physics, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, and chemical technologies evolved together and have formed a single "package" of technologies, which we provisionally name the "technology of nuclear science." This group of technologies forms the basis for the development of nuclear energetics. The most important result of the development of the nuclear industry has become radiation control and magnetic fields (radiation technology). Based on this group of technologies, a wide range of equipment has been designed and manufactured, including accelerators, neutron generators, lasers, high-frequency systems, detectors of particles and radiation, microscopes and telescopes, and microwave microelectronics. Today these technologies and equipment are used in many other non-energy and non-military markets, and the list of these markets is constantly growing. Among the fastest-growing markets are those for nuclear medicine, sterilization and disinfection, safety and non-destructive testing, ecology and water treatment, and mining and processing of mineral resources.


The main task of Technopark of the Skolkovo project is to provide assistance to innovative companies that are project participants. This is the tool which - with the help of resources of Skolkovo, scientific and educational institutions, as well as international technoparks and innovation centres - can be used by companies.

Skolkovo Open University - a university open to the future

SOU Mission — to develop students' imagination and creativity, showing the diversity of current world views and types of thinking. World-leading researchers and practitioners allow the SOU to look beyond technological frontiers, helping it to ask the most important questions, to which there are no answers for the time being. SOU is a part of the ecosystem of Skolkovo Innovation Centre. It is a source of prospective applicants (Masters and PhD) for the future Skolkovo University, a source of interns for Skolkovo partner companies, a source of projects for business incubators. SOU is not an educational institution, it does not award diplomas upon completion of education, nor is not tied to any particular location.

SOU is a series of lectures, master classes, and educational courses by leading thinkers, scientists and practitioners. It is a supported and moderated network of self-education, internship training and seasonal schools, including those at partner companies and in the world's leading higher educational establishments.
SOU educational programme develops leading-edge knowledge in the priority research and development areas of Skolkovo (energetics, biomedicine, space, informational technologies, nuclear technologies), academic and innovative competencies (foresight, forecasting, thinking, projecting), entrepreneur competence, experience in team work on projecting and solving inter-disciplinary problems.

Skolkovo Open University started its work on April 21, 2011. The first attendees of Skolkovo Open University were 105 students, graduate students and young scientists, picked out of 500 finalists from six partner higher educational institutions of Skolkovo in Moscow (HSE, MISIS, MIPT, MEPhI, MSU, MSTU).


Skolkovo will become a city-laboratory, where the innovations, developed in Skolkovo, will be introduced and approved. The Skolkovo Innovation City will be an energy efficient city, with low or zero emissions of harmful substances. Some of its buildings will even generate more energy than they consume. At the moment, this principle is being realized with the creation of the power energy infrastructure of Skolkovo. The existing 500 kW and 220 kW overhead power transmission lines are being transferred to an underground cable. Plans also call for the construction of two underground 220/20 kW substations by the UES FGC Company, which is the first time that this is being done in Russia.

Source:Skolkovo Foundation

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