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Russia is still the least
attractive country out of
the BRICs in terms of inno-
vation. This is due to the lack of inter...
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) to build capacity in education,
research and entrepreneurship programs.
So...
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Russia is back on the world stage of innovation

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More than fifteen multinatio- nal companies have opened R&D centres in Russia over the last ten years, benefitting from high-skilled labour force and trading opportunities on the domestic market. More recently political momentum has been getting behind this growing otrend.

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Russia is back on the world stage of innovation

  1. 1. o Russia is still the least attractive country out of the BRICs in terms of inno- vation. This is due to the lack of inter- national integration of the national scientific community and of entrepre- neurial culture, according to a study by PriceWaterhouse Cooper in March 2013. But the Russian government is taking action to stimulate applied research. It has set up support measures: tax incen- tives, public funding for research, pre- ferential loans, innovation poles. Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev approved in early January a scientific and techno- logical development plan for the next 16 years : “It should form the basis for strategies and innovation programs of the largest Russian companies, the prio- rities remain energy efficiency, IT, space, biomedicine.” ❚ INNOVATIVE CITY Skolkovo future innovation city – 2.6 mln sq. meters to the West of Moscow – is one of the emblems of this politi- cal impulse. On August of last year, the state decided to allocate RUB 125.2 bln (EUR 2.5 bln) for its development to 2020. Over the past three years almost 1,000 startups have become partici- pants of the clusters – IT, Energy, Nuclear Technologies, Biomedicine and Space Technologies. Around 30 corporations have signed agreements to establish research centres, including Alstom, IBM, Cisco, Samsung, for a total of more than RUB 30 bln (EUR 605 mln). For instance, the activities of Schneider Electric cen- tre will be directed towards the creation of an advanced energy distribution management system for electricity net- works or also the development of control systems for autonomous generators. The Russian Academy of Sciences is working together with Skolkovo Technopark and helps to select the priority projects. “We have an expert community consisting of over 1,000 Russian and foreign pro- fessionals, notes Alexander Chernov, vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation. The targeted projects are addressing an international market.“ This innovation city, whose main buildings will be com- pleted in 2015, maintains close relations- hips with universities from St. Petersburg to Novosibirsk and hosts an Institute of Science and Technology, Skoltech. It was established in October 2011 by a colla- boration of nine Russian universities and organisations¹ and it works closely with I N N O VAT I O N & I N D U S T R I E ❘ A P R I L , 2 0 1 4 ❘ N ° 7 5 ❘ PA G E 3PA G E 2 ❘ N ° 7 5 ❘ A P R I L , 2 0 1 4 ❘ I N N O VAT I O N & I N D U S T R I E Alexander Chernov, vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation. Skolkovo innovation pole, one of the emblems of Moscow's political impulse, will stretch over 2.6 mln sq. meters. And the state decided to allocate EUR 2.5 bln for its development to 2020. More than fifteen multinatio- nal companies have opened R&D centres in Russia over the last ten years, benefitting from high-skilled labour force and trading opportunities on the domestic market. More recently political momentum has been getting behind this growing trend. TEXT: JEANNE CAVELIER. ■■■ Russia is back on the world stage of innovation XXXXXXXXXX Enquêtes PHOTOS©DR
  2. 2. the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build capacity in education, research and entrepreneurship programs. So far, 70 students started courses in 4 partner universities – MIT, London Imperial College, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. There will be 1,200 by 2020. Skoltech is also opening Centres for research, edu- cation and innovation – one of them focusing on extraction and processing of hydrocarbons, co-financed by GazpromNeft. ❚ REGIONAL INNOVATION CLUSTERS Rusnano, state corporation charged with stimulating growth of the country’s nanotech industry, is supporting other projects. Twelve were selected in the first quarter of 2012, with a total budget of $930 mln. One of them called Joule aims to transform sunlight and carbon dioxide waste into diesel fuel. The government has also allocated resources to help 25 Regional Innovation Clusters – speciali- sing in titanium in Sverdlovsk, the elec- tronic industry in Zelenograd, new materials, laser and radiation in Troitsk… Most of them will participate in the 3rd edition of the Open Innovations Forum in October 2014. ■ 1 - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, New Economic School, Rusnano, Russian Venture Company (RVC) Ecole, Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank), Foundation for the Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology, RAS Scientific Center in Chernogolovka. PA G E 4 ❘ N ° 7 5 ❘ A P R I L , 2 0 1 4 ❘ I N N O VAT I O N & I N D U S T R I E > WhAt iS tEchnoSpARk AboUt ? It is a Nanotech Centre, which started functioning in mid-2012 in Troitsk, where there are 11 research insti- tutes. It was established through a public-private partnership with the state corporation Rusnano, mino- rity shareholder. Main deci- sions are made by entrepreneurs, an unusual situation in Russia. The idea is to speed up the research process of our startups at the lowest possible cost, and then to sell them. > hoW do yoU cREAtE A fERtilE nviRonMEnt foR innovAtion? We are building an entire ecosystem, through specific infrastructures like the Fabric of industrial design. We encourage engineers to create their own start-up specialising in design with composite materials for example, to meet the needs of other startups. So they have a market, an office on our site and a supervisor thanks to our partner, the largest industrial design firm in Russia. We have the same aim as Biolab or a prototy- ping workshop equipped with a pool of machines. > WhAt linkS did yoU bUild Up to An intERnA- tionAl lEvEl ? We are partners of universi- ties such as Louvain in Belgium or Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and member of organisations like the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC). Moreover, Technospark houses a ger- man company, SICK, whose engineers design and manu- facture sensors for industrial use, especially in gas equip- ment. They are interested in synergies with our startups, for instance in the field of artificial diamonds. ■ « We are creating an innovation ecosystem » DENIS KOVALEVICH, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOSPARK IN TROITSK, MOSCOW > WhAt ARE thE MAin AREAS of AlStoM’S RESEARch in RUSSiA ? Two centres for applied research are located in the country for 20 years – they take advantage of the Russian world-renowned aerospace and nuclear exper- tise. In Moscow, Alstom Power Uniturbo specialises in the performance of mate- rials for turbine blades, espe- cially gas turbines. In St. Petersburg, Alstom Power Turbomachines investigates steam turbines : blade vibra- tion tests, aerodynamic cha- racteristics of the steam flow, etc. More recently, we ope- ned engineering centres, this time in partnership with Russian companies, focusing upon thermal energy, trans- port… > cAn yoU dEScRibE onE of yoUR pRojEctS ? Along the Russian manufac- turer of locomotives and rail equipment Transmashholding (TMH) we are currently deve- loping a new freight loco- motive called 2ES5 equipped with asynchronous traction motors. It will be the most powerful in Russia, designed for driving 6000 tons at a speed up to 120 km/h in the temperature range of -50 °C to +40 °C. Innovative solu- tions are happening parti- cularly in traction drive, modular design and braking systems with electronic wheel slip protection. A contract has already been signed with the national railway com- pany RZD for 200 units. > WhAt ARE thE bEnEfitS of opEning A cEntRE in Skolkovo ? This pole will provide good working conditions, exposure of our research activities, especially to Russian autho- rities, and close contact with universities looking to hire skilled employees. It is unfor- tunate that persistent preju- dices against Russia result in forgetting this country for research projects, in spite of the high quality of educa- tion. As soon as our building is ready within the Energy cluster, we will install some of our Moscow structures. ■ PHILIPPE PEGORIER, PRESIDENT OF ALSTOM IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE & BELARUS "it is unfortunate that persistent prejudices against Russia result in forgetting this country for research projects, in spite of the high quality of education" 3questionsto…3questionsto…©ANATOLEMIRIOUKUBIFRANCE • Space Technologies and Communications Cluster The project Spectralaser aims at creating diode-pumped laser modules based on photonic crys- tals that will ignite rocket engines. This reusable system will reduce costs more than tenfold compa- redtotraditionalexplosivesquibs. This system will gain 40 kg and save about $880 000 per launch for an Angara-A7B engine. Prototypes are already under rig test, in cooperation with the lar- gest Russian space engine manu- facturers. • IT Cluster The MACROS program suite, developed by Datadvance, opti- mises the design process, thanks to a predictive model based on data mining and multi- disciplinary optimisation. It is currently being used by several kinds of industries. The time required to design Airbus com- ponents and new airplane units, for instance, has been reduced by 10%. • Nuclear Technologies Cluster Axion-RDM elaborates polymer sorbents, reusable, to improve extraction of rare earth and pre- cious metals, to reduce the quantity of waste, thus minimi- sing harm to the environment. The start-up company, which received a RUB 28.9 mln Skolkovo grant (EUR 583  000), created a laboratory set-up of ion-exchange resins and instal- led pilots at fertiliser producer JSC Acron and metallurgical company JSC Uralelektromed. • Energy Efficient Technologies Cluster Novas-SK’s project uses plasma- impulse action to increase the output of horizontal oil wells. This technology improves the per- meability of the reservoir, clea- ning the perforation intervals from sealing particles, salts and asphalt-paraffin compounds. Successfully used in more than 150 wells, it enters a potential market of USD 26 bln, particularly in Russia and the US. ■ › DA FEW EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS IN SKOLKOVO ■■■ I N N O VAT I O N & I N D U S T R I E ❘ A P R I L , 2 0 1 4 ❘ N ° 7 5 ❘ PA G E 5 XXXXXXXXXX Enquêtes ©DR ©DR

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