The Skolkovo Foundation signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday with Luxinnovation, the national agency for innovation and research of Luxembourg.

Skolkovo's Yury Saprykin (left) and Luxinnovation's Ian Cresswell sign the agreement in Moscow on Wednesday as the deputy prime ministers of Belgium, Russia and Luxembourg look on. Photo:

The document was signed during a meeting in Moscow of the Russia-Belgium-Luxembourg intergovernmental commission attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders, and Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Etienne Schneider.

Under the new agreement, Russia and Luxembourg will work together to promote the sharing of information and opportunities, said Ian Cresswell, head of international affairs at Luxinnovation.

“This agreement reinforces its [Luxinnovation’s] strategy of partnering with the best actors in order to develop real advantages, in particular for Luxembourg and Russian small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.

Yury Saprykin, vice president for regional and international development at the Skolkovo Foundation, said he hoped that the memorandum signed with Luxinnovation would give new impetus to the two countries’ cooperation.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel taking part in the plenary session of the Open Innovations forum at Skolkovo. Photo:

“Luxembourg isn’t just Europe’s biggest financial centre, with banks that actively implement the latest fintech and information security programmes – and we plan to present Skolkovo innovations in this area at the ICT Spring trade fair in Luxembourg in May,” said Saprykin.

“It’s also a major centre of satellite research with the biggest concentration of aerospace startups in Europe. Skolkovo companies have already made contact with the satellite company SES, and several of them are interested in working on what SES has declared to be its innovative priorities,” he said.

The communications satellite company SES was launched by the Luxembourg government in 1985.

Schneider, Luxembourg’s Economy Minister, recalled during the Open Innovations forum held at the Skolkovo innovation centre last October that the government had underwritten the first launch for the equivalent of 5 percent of the country’s total annual budget, since no insurance company would do so. Public outrage ensued, including in parliament, he told the audience in Moscow.

“But we had the courage to do it and now it’s the biggest private satellite company in the world,” he said.

Schneider made the remarks during a panel session devoted to asteroid mining. Luxembourg startled the world in 2016 by announcing it was going to create a legal framework for asteroid mining companies from anywhere in the world, adding that it would invest 200 million euros in the sector.

The Open Innovations forum at Skolkovo was also attended by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who took part in the forum’s plenary session together with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

The visits are a two-way process: eight Skolkovo microelectronics companies took part in a business mission to Luxembourg and Belgium last year. Saprykin said two business missions undertaken by Skolkovo startups to Belgium had created a good foundation for developing business contacts there.

“We are planning to establish new business links with Belgian companies during an upcoming visit to Skolkovo by a large delegation from the city of Antwerp, headed by the city mayor,” he said at Wednesday’s signing.