14 June 2012
Commercializing Innovation – Workshop in Kazan
[Press Release from American Councils for International Education, Moscow]
American Councils held one of their series of Legislative Institute programs in Kazan, Tatarstan from May 18 -20. The program was entitled “Legislative Institute: Legislative Foundation of Commercializing Innovation,” and was presented with the support the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Daniel Satinsky participated as one of the main speakers, representing Russia Innovation Collaborative, LLC.
The Legislative Institute focused on important questions facing university scientists. How can Russian scientists capitalize on the country’s innovation craze to commercialize their research? How can Russian universities take advantage of the country’s new laws that encourage a market-oriented approach to research?
Bringing together over 20 graduate students from the autonomous republic of Tatarstan as well as 13 alumni from the U.S. Government-sponsored Legislative Fellows Program, American Councils developed a comprehensive program focusing on three aspects of innovation and commercialization intended to contribute lasting benefits to the region’s growing tech-transfer capabilities. The event opened in Kazan, Tatarstan’s capital, with opening remarks by Steve Mackey, the Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy and German Dyakonov, Rector of Kazan’s National Technological University. Daniel Satinsky then gave a thought-provoking key-note address, asking whether university tech-transfer offices are designed to bring primarily financial profits or educational benefits to universities. This was followed by an all-day interactive workshop led by Andrey Kolesnikov, one of the key architects of Russia Federal Law 217 (a Russian version of the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act, credited with accelerating America’s innovation surge over the past three decades). Mr.Kolesnikov divided the MA and PhD science students into groups representing different actors relevant in the establishment of small innovation companies within universities.
On Day Two, Daniel Satinsky led a workshop at a student hostel on the banks of the Volga River outside Kazan. The theme was evaluating the commercial potential of university research from a market perspective, providing tools for these young scientists to assess whether commercialization would be a viable prospect for their research projects. Finally, on Day Three, Sergey Litvintsev and Ilya Breyman, a Russian-American pair with experience leading mock legislatures, worked with participants to identify valuable changes to Law 217. Litvintsev and Breyman divided participants into teams representing competing interests of the commercialization process – scientists, university officials, government, and venture capital – who then lobbied each other to advance changes in the legislation. This process culminated in a vote by the participants on the various proposed amendments.