17 February 2012
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology Research Center Conference in Cambridge, MA
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (SkTech) and MIT sponsored a major conference on February 9 & 10 in Cambridge, Massachusetts introducing ambitious plans to establish a network of new SkTech affiliated research centers. The conference was a follow-on to the recent call for proposals for these research centers. Almost 300 people attended the conference, mainly scientists, researchers and university officials from across the U.S., Europe and Russia. Participants included more than 70 from Russia and 15 from other European countries. The Russian contingent was regionally diverse with people from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Ufa and Nizhny Novgorod. Daniel Satinsky, Chamber Board President and Partner in Russia Innovation Collaborative also participated.
SkTech is planning to include within the structure of the new university a network of up to 15 specially funded collaborative research centers. The new graduate level university will be based on three interconnected institutional foundations: a strong science and technology educational program, integrated emphasis on entrepreneurship through its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and integration with the leading scientific circles in Russia and the world through the research centers.
The research centers will be a three-way partnership between SkTech, a Russian research university and a foreign university. These labs will support cutting edge fundamental research in areas important to Russia’s scientific priorities of biomedical, energy, information, nuclear and space technologies, but will also include labs that creatively cross boundaries in scientific disciplines. The unique focus of SkTech and these new research centers will be on what SkTech President Edward Crawley called “useful knowledge.” The ultimate goal is to create world-class science and technology that will contribute to the transformation and modernization of the Russian economy and to securing Russia’s place as a world leader in key science and technology areas.
The conference was a many-layered and complex presentation of not only the research center grant application process, but the full context for the research centers. Topics included a description of SkTech, an explanation of the Skolkovo Project as a whole and participation by leaders of the industry clusters that support startup companies within the Skolkovo Project. There were keynote addresses by Edward Crawley, SkTech President; Serguei Beloussov, Russian Entrepreneur and Investor; Igor Agamirzian, CEO of Russian Venture Company and Noubar Afeyan, Flagship Ventures. Conference organizers have announced that the full text of presentations and videos of the conference will be available here.