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Long-term prospects for international cooperation were discussed at HSE

On May 28, 2015 the Higher School of Economics hosted the international workshop “State-of-the-art competence centre programmes in Europe. Opportunities for EU-Russia Science and Technology Collaboration”. The participants presented competence centres’ best practices, shared experience of implementing joint S&T projects, and discussed opportunities for establishing cooperation.

On May 28, 2015 the Higher School of Economics hosted the international workshop “State-of-the-art competence centre programmes in Europe. Opportunities for EU-Russia Science and Technology Collaboration”. The participants presented competence centres’ best practices, shared experience of implementing joint S&T projects, and discussed opportunities for establishing cooperation.

The workshop was organised in the framework of the joint Russian and European project BILAT-RUS-Advanced. From the Russian side, it was hosted by the Russian Technology Transfer Network (RTTN) and the ISSEK’s Centre for International Projects.

Welcome speeches were delivered by Maksim Romanov (Innovation Development Department, Russian Ministry of Economic Development), Vladimir Ivanov (vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Anna Pikalova (director of the Centre for International Projects), and Richard Burger (Delegation of the European Commission to the Russian Federation).

The first part of the workshop was devoted to European and Russian innovation policy, including tools and areas for its future development. This section was moderated by Oleg Luksha, chairman of the board of the RTTN, and Berna Windischbaur of the Austrian research promotion agency (FFG).

The presentation by Otto Starzer, her colleague at the FFG, was focused on the national Austrian competence centres development programme, believed to be one of the most successful in the EU. Its particular feature is development of a network comprising three different kinds of competence centres, depending on the number of companies and research organisations participating in the consortia and employing appropriate funding schemes. It is noteworthy that the themes and focus of competence centres’ work in the EU are determined by the grassroots initiative and not directly regulated by the public authorities.

Vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Ivanov presented the outline of the Russian National Technology Initiative from the Academy’s point of view. The Russian president stressed the need to identify new promising development areas in his address to the Federal Assembly in December 2014: “We must understand, through long-term foresight, which objectives Russia will be facing in 10–15 years’ time, and which advance solutions will be needed to ensure national security, quality of life, and development of a new technological structure”. According to Vladimir Ivanov, competence centres should play an important role in implementing this initiative. 

Dmitri Sanatov of the Centre for Strategic Research Foundation presented an analysis of Russia’s innovation infrastructure. In his opinion, a major problem of the national innovation policy is insufficiently clear focus. Technology competence centres can make an important contribution to solving this problem.

The workshop participants also discussed various specific examples of S&T cooperation and tools for funding joint projects. Representatives of AVL competence centres from Austria and of the Skoltech University (Skolkovo) presented their best practices.

Sergei Mardanov, manager of the Russian Venture Company’s (RVC) Technology Transfer Development Project Office, spoke about the RVC’s role as a development institute in building ecosystems around universities and providing support to participating organisations.

Richard Burger (Delegation of the European Commission to the Russian Federation) and Irina Kuklina (International Centre for Innovation in Science, Technology and Education) commented on the recently adopted funding mechanism for the new EU Horizon 2020 framework programme. Russian participants of consortia whose project proposals were approved no longer automatically receive funding from the European programme budget.

The workshop also included an active international brokerage session moderated by Anton Yanovsky (RTTN). High-tech companies, universities and research organisations from Russia, Germany, Sweden, Austria and Turkey shared their experience and discussed opportunities for future cooperation and launching joint projects. The participants suggested their research facilities, competences and innovative technological solutions should be used as the basis for cooperation.

The workshop participants noted the high level of its organisation.

Click here to download presentations.

Based on materials published at rttn.ru and RVC’s Facebook page (in Russian).

Photographs by RTTN and RVC