The Skolkovo Foundation council met in the new Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) campus for the first time on Thursday ahead of the state-of-the-art building’s launch in September.
Skoltech will begin the process of moving to its brand new campus (above) in July. Photo: Sk.ru.
The council meeting was the first since former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who previously oversaw the foundation’s progress in his capacity as minister responsible for innovations, was elected to the position of co-chair of the council.
Skolkovo Foundation president Victor Vekselberg said that Skoltech, a private graduate research university founded in cooperation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, would start the next academic year in its new campus, which he said was “extremely important” for the Skolkovo innovation city.
The council meeting was the first since Arkady Dvorkovich was elected as its co-chairman. Photo: Sk.ru.
Though the Skoltech campus passed its initial commissioning at the end of April, the interior is still under completion. The university currently operates out of another building inside Skolkovo. The new campus was designed by the Herzog & de Meuron architecture bureau, and its main part is a circular building covering 136,000 square metres. A continuous ring-shaped corridor connecting teaching rooms, research facilities and an outdoor courtyard is designed to encourage maximum interaction and collaboration between all of those studying and working there.
Of Skolkovo’s 1,800 resident startups, 227 have already sold their products and solutions on foreign markets, said Igor Drozdov, chairman of the board of the Skolkovo Foundation, reporting on the foundation’s progress.
Skolkovo Foundation chairman of the board Igor Drozdov said 240 startups have taken part in business missions abroad organised by Skolkovo. Photo: Sk.ru.
Eighty-eight foreign delegations visited Skolkovo last year, he noted, and the foundation actively supports its startups in entering foreign markets by organising business missions abroad to introduce them to potential partners in target countries, and helping them to integrate into international accelerators.
“All of this is reflected in financial terms: seven contracts worth a total of more than $30 million were concluded in the last year,” said Drozdov.
More than 400 startups work out of the Skolkovo Technopark, Drozdov told the foundation council, adding that according to the foundation’s data, resident startups based in the Technopark showed better results than those who are not.
“We’re proud of our Technopark,” he said.
The Skoltech room in which the council meeting was held will house one of the university's labs. Photo: Sk.ru.
Another important element of the Skolkovo innovations ecosystem is the foundation’s 93 industrial partners: major companies that have committed to opening R&D facilities inside Skolkovo, said Drozdov, citing Sberbank, Tatneft, Rosatom, AstroZeneca and Cherkizovo.
“Originally, Skolkovo positioned itself mainly as a service for startups. Now we’d like to add to that perception that it is an effective support instrument for large companies, primarily as a scout for useful technology that is needed by or interesting to those large companies,” he said.
Skolkovo hosts regular demo days for individual corporations to introduce them to startups working in areas of technology that could be of interest to them.
Reporting on the progress of Skoltech, its president Alexander Kuleshov said that the university currently has 27 fully equipped labs up and running, and singled out the Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery’s lab for attention. The lab, which conducts research and development of technologies for producing oil and gas that cannot be extracted using traditional methods, is currently fully booked up until April next year, and works 24/7, he said. It services are used by 32 commercial companies, including both Russian and foreign oil and gas majors, he said.