Germany’s Ambassador to Russia, Geza Andreas von Geyr, has accepted the Skolkovo Foundation’s proposal to hold Germany Day in the Innovation City this year. In a meeting with senior managers from the Foundation, the participants discussed the role Skolkovo can play in the development of scientific and economic cooperation with the largest country of the European Union.

The EU was mentioned in the context of the fact that in the second half of this year, Berlin will assume the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union, and therefore close relations with Germany will help to leverage cooperation with Europe. 

From right to left: Viktor Vekselberg, Geza Andreas von Geyr and Wolfgang A. Herrmann. Photo:


This year, as we all know, is the Year of Germany in the Russian Federation. The main events will also continue to be held in the second half of the year.

The chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, Viktor Vekselberg, described to the ambassador the main achievements of the Skolkovo project in this, its 10th anniversary year, and emphasized that the goal of Skolkovo is to bring ideas to the market. In fact, the project was originally conceived as international. In view of this, he offered to host a Germany Day in Skolkovo this year, which, in his opinion, will help enhance cooperation between scientists and technology start-ups in the two countries.

Doctor von Geyr, who gratefully accepted the offer, talked about his overall vision for the Year of Germany in Russia. He pointed out three main elements in this program. First of all, we are talking about the development of scientific cooperation between Russia and Germany. The second element is the focus on the economy, although, as the diplomat made clear, so far only general principles have been developed in this field. The ambassador did not exclude the possibility of specific start-ups participating in the development of the program in this area.

The third important element, according to Dr. von Geyr, is a strong link between scientific and economic cooperation.

In the meeting of the Foundation’s senior managers with the German ambassador to Russia. Photo:

A fellow countryman of the ambassador who also participated in the meeting, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Skolkovo Foundation Wolfgang A. Herrmann, expressed his view that Skolkovo was an example of such a symbiosis between science and economics. Mr. Hermann, a well-known scientist who headed the Technical University of Munich for a quarter of a century, expressed great optimism about Skoltech, calling it “a unique higher educational institution, and the only really international university in Russia”. 

Alexey Sitnikov, Vice-President of Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology added that 20% of university students are foreigners, from 30 different countries, although he admitted that there are few Germans among them. One important feature of Skoltech is that, among world universities, it is a rare example of an open ecosystem. He specifically talked about a partnership with MIT, which has been under way since 2011 and which last year was extended for another five years.

Igor Drozdov: this year the combined revenue of the Foundation’s participants will reach $ 2 billion. Photo:


Another specific feature of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology is the combination of research activities with business. 65% of students are involved in start-ups.

Professor Herrmann, while emphasising that he placed a high value on the cooperation between MIT and Skoltech, also stressed the need for strong relationships with European universities, in particular German universities. German universities had to learn how Americans create their brand of higher education, he told the ambassador. 

Alexey Sitnikov: Skoltech is an open innovation ecosystem. Photo:


As for start-ups, Skolkovo has more than 2200 of them. “I am not aware of any other innovation center in the world with so many start-ups,” said Igor Drozdov, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation. He described to the German ambassador the success stories of some of the companies that were developed within the Foundation’s ecosystem and are now winning a place in international markets. This year, the total revenue of Skolkovo participants is expected to reach $ 2 billion.