Russian Innovation Centre Skolkovo Visits UK


Delegation from Russia’s “silicon valley” aims to forge partnership with British counterparts

A delegation from Skolkovo, the Russian state-subsidised innovation hub under construction near Moscow, will visit the UK on 14 and 15 February. The arriving delegation will be the largest Skolkovo Foundation has ever sent abroad.

Dubbed the “Russian Silicon Valley”, the Skolkovo project aspires to encourage Russia’s  best minds not to leave the country in search of better prospects abroad. The strategic goal of Skolkovo is to “concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies”.

Forget about the bears

The Skolkovo project was first announced by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in November 2009 and since then, participant status has been granted to 294 companies, including Siemens, IBM, Nokia, Intel and Cisco. But it’s not just the big corporations who should be interested. Any start-up can apply for a grant, which could range anywhere between $50,000 (£32,000) and $10 million (£6.35m).

As part of the ecosystem, the innovation center will include Skolkovo Insitute of Science and Technology (SkyTech) and the Skolkovo Open University (OpUS), which has already signed eight collaboration agreements with international universities, including MIT.

The visit to Britain, at the invitation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is designed to promote cooperation between the Skolkovo Foundation and British companies, universities and research centres.

The foundations for this exchange were laid during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Moscow in September 2011. There are already agreements on collaboration in the field of laser-plasma and accelerator physics and an agreement on establishing a center of applied research on thermal processes and catalysis.

“Britain is one of the countries where cooperation with Russia in the field of innovation receives powerful support from the state, for which I am truly grateful to the British government and its head”, stated Skolkovo Foundation president Viktor Vekselberg.

Skolkovo representatives will visit their partners and colleagues at Cambridge and Oxford universities and the Imperial College of London. The agenda also includes meetings with venture investors and a conference on the prospects for cooperation will open in London on on 15 February at the Institute of Directors.

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