On June 30, the Skolkovo Foundation Scientific Advisory Council meeting took place. A decision was made on changing the structure and format of the council’s activities. The event took place in video-conference format.
The co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Council and Nobel Prize laureate Roger Kornberg opened the meeting: “I would like to honor the memory of Zhores Alferov, one of the founders of the Skolkovo Foundation. He demonstrated surprising foresight, from the very beginning insisting on the importance of biomedical research. And we have continued to implement his ideas at Skolkovo.”
Arkady Dvorkovich, the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, thanked the members of the Scientific Advisory Council for its research activities, stating that it was necessary to properly allocate scientific research potential between projects.
The Skolkovo Foundation Scientific Advisory Council online session. Screenshot: Sk.ru.
Arkady Dvorkovich, chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation: “Together, we will have to find the best way to allocate scientific research potential between projects in order to coordinate them. We need the consultation of the Scientific Advisory Council for scientific research that has not yet reached the applied stage and we need the advice of leading scientists on how best to coordinate research activities between different teams, what to focus on in order to not race for results on dozens of projects, but to focus on the cutting-edge areas of world science.”
Kirill Kaem, the Skolkovo Foundation senior vice-president for innovations, proposed changing the way in which the Scientific Advisory Council works in order to make it more efficient.
In accordance with the tasks set by the country’s leadership, the Skolkovo Foundation has expanded its priorities and supports not just scientific developments at the early stages, but also assists with market entry for mature applied research. Over the last ten years, the composition of the Scientific Advisory Council has changed and the number of foreign members has decreased, with more attention directed not at scientific but at operational issues. In this scenario, it makes sense to create a permanent committee for the Science Advisory Council and to include in it Roger Kornberg, Vladimir Fortov, Vladislav Panchenko, Vladimir Shaev, and Alexander Kuleshov. Information sessions will be replaced with theme-based hearings, the goal of which is to discuss Russia’s science and technology development and the role of the Skolkovo Foundation in this process. The Scientific Advisory Council’s authority also extends to regularly summarizing the science and technological results from Skoltech and the Skolkovo Foundation grant committee. The hearings themselves will be as transparent and public as possible and will take place no fewer than four times a year.
Kirill Kaem, the senior vice-president for Innovations at the Skolkovo Foundation: “We are continuing the search for interesting projects from among students, but at this time we are expanding the powers of the Scientific Advisory Council, and changing the scope and format of support for startups. The issues regarding the technological transformation of the Russian economy are very important right now in view of the crisis caused by the pandemic. There are serious discussions taking place within the country on how to correctly prioritize budgetary funding for such developments. I would therefore like to make our themed discussions public so that we can declare officially that the Skolkovo Scientific Advisory Council has identified priority technological transformation issues in a particular economic sector. This will allow us to partake in shaping our country’s technological agenda.”
Alexander Kuleshov, the president of Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, stated that Skoltech has entered the top-100 best young universities in the world according to the Nature Index, bringing with it its contribution to world science.
Alexander Kuleshov, the president of Skoltech:
“The Scientific Advisory Council is the scientific center of Skolkovo, which includes the Foundation and Skoltech. When we talk about benchmarks, it’s necessary to take into account that Skoltech is focusing on the development of science-driven startups and ideas. Now we have around two hundred startups planned, which we are launching gradually, and they are all based on fundamental science. Skoltech is oriented towards supporting science-driven projects.”
Science Advisory Council members presented reports from Skolkovo Foundation clusters: Gennady Kulipanov (nuclear technologies), Vladimir Fortov (energy efficiency technologies), Gennady Krasnikov (information technologies), Yuri Gulyaev (space technologies and telecommunications), and Valery Chereshnev (biomedical technologies).
Gennady Kulipanov talked about startup successes, which include the launch of a pilot project on monitoring air quality at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, the construction of the Phoenix Contact partner center, and digital solutions for an urban environment. During his speech, Vladimir Fortov shared the cluster’s main indicators and the participants’ revenue flows. He also talked about significant events, including Startup Village-2020, and the joint corporate acceleration program with Rosseti. The biomedical technologies cluster reported on its participants’ developments aimed at fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Scientific Advisory Council members also learned about development strategies and new areas in biotechnologies in agriculture and industry. Gennady Krasnikov, who talked about grant support and the development program for technology companies, presented a report on the financial success of the IT cluster. Yuri Gulyaev informed members of the council about joint ecosystem projects with Skoltech and how new “regulations on space licencing” is significant for the industry.
The Scientific Advisory Council was informed about the work on a monument at the St. Petersburg Academic University, which was founded by Zhores Alferov. Viktor Vekselberg, the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Board of Directors, is personally financing the project.
The Skolkovo Foundation - a non-profit organization that was founded in September 2010 at the initiative of the president of the Russian Federation. The aim of the Foundation is to create an ecosystem that is favorable to the development of entrepreneurship and research in the following fields: energy efficiency and energy conservation, nuclear, space, biomedical and strategic computer technologies and software. The management of the Skolkovo Innovation Center is entrusted to the Foundation, the activities of which are regulated by a special law that affords special economic conditions to startups, of which there are now over 2400, that have undergone external technological evaluation. In 2019, the revenue of Skolkovo company-participants amounted to 111.6 billion rubles, and the cumulative revenue over 10 years amounted to 412.7 billion rubles. Over 35,000 people work at the startups and over 2900 developments and technological solutions have been patented. An important part of the Skolkovo ecosystem is the research university, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, which was founded and operates with the support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Skolkovo Innovation Center infrastructure was completed at the expense of the federal budget resulting in the construction of the technopark, university, high school, and road and engineering infrastructure. Over 750,000 square meters of facilities have been put into operation. See website: https://sk.ru/fund-skolkovo/about-skolkovo/