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Space launches begin with the roadmaps

Startup Village, the largest start-up conference in Russia, took place on May 26-28th 2013. It was attended by more than 3,000 representatives from innovative companies, venture capital funds, government authorities, development and research institutes, the media, as well as leading experts of the International Research and Educational Foresight Center HSE.

Startup Village, the largest start-up conference in Russia, took place on May 26-28th 2013. It was attended by more than 3,000 representatives from innovative companies, venture capital funds, government authorities, development and research institutes, the media, as well as leading experts of the International Research and Educational Foresight Center HSE.

Partners of the Fund "Skolkovo" involved in the organizing of the event were the RVC, Vnesheconombank, JSC "RUSNANO" and other decision-making centers that play a significant role in domestic innovations.

During Startup Village a roundtable meeting referred to as "Space Foresight of Russia" was arranged and long-term forecasting of innovation-based breakthroughs in the Russian space industry was discussed. The debates concerned the future of space exploration, as well as the global challenges that the industry faces, emerging threats and opportunities.

The roundtable was moderated by Dmitry Paison, a director of space technologies and telecommunications developments in the Skolkovo Fund. Andrey Ionin, a deputy director of the Strategic Planning and Analysis in NIS GLONASS, introduced a report on developments in the fields of advanced satellite navigation. The managers of big companies and some innovative companies, government authorities and research organizations were involved in the discussion.

The Higher School of Economics was represented by Alexander Sokolov, deputy director of the ISSEK HSE and director of ISSEK’s Foresight Centre, Ozcan Saritas, research professor and  Konstantin Vishnevskiy, research fellow.

Ozcan Saritas highlighted the main trends in the development of the space industry within his presentation. He listed the global challenges that space explorers face nowadays and weak signals as an evidence of future technological breakthroughs. He believes that space technologies play a crucial role in solving a number of problems that the world’s public is concerned about, such as climate change, energy shortages, food security. Professor Saritas outlined the potential for the development of some space technologies that have become an integral part of our everyday life (monitoring and weather forecasting, GPS-navigators, air traffic control system and other programs were mentioned as examples). He also noted a high likelihood ratio that an era of ubiquitous IPS (Indoor Positioning System - locating inside buildings) is approaching, this system allows the tracking of any movements by using any device connected to a Wi-Fi network, such as a smartphone or tablet computer. Another expected trend was also named, that is a rapid development of the space travel industry.

Alexander Sokolov highlighted the key results at the recent project concerning long-term forecasts of scientific and technological development in the Russian Federation until 2030 that was developed by HSE. As the result a comprehensive understanding of future trends and challenges, market growth and potential for research and development was achieved. The experts summarized the priorities in applied science, revealed basic steps for a wide range of applications of scientific research in reality, as well as so-called "white spots" and windows of opportunities to strengthen the scientific and technological sector in Russia. It should be mentioned that Alexander Sokolov presented some tenable examples of such based backlogged studies related to the space industry.

The reporter emphasized an idea that the technological Foresightt results should be integrated into national policy and thereby the necessary of development of a common methodology that would link forecasts (Foresight) and measures for the implementation of priorities (Roadmap) arises. All mentioned above should ultimately contribute to long-term prospects for further development agreed by the key players and result in sustainable growth of the competitiveness of the Russian economy.

Konstantin Vishnevskiy continued defining and implementation of the priorities in his report. He described the global experience of creating roadmaps regarding innovations in the space industry development and relevant projects that Foresight Center of ISSEK HSE held. A key feature of the latter approach is the integration of market pull and technology push, i.e. the reconciliation between science and technology researches and the market demand. On the one hand, it is estimated what kind of products based on new technologies would be beneficial to produce in the long term period, and on the other hand - it reveals the future market demand.

By reference to a roadmap “Using nanotechnologies in the aerospace industry” Konstantin illustrated the visual possibilities of the system to depict the key purposes and challenges and the prospects for the development of the economy sectors, markets, product groups and relevant technologies, as well as the most significant innovations. Experts have prepared detailed roadmaps for each technological group. They displayed the most significant developments on different layers (indicated the possible appearance within the timeline), as well as the most promising nanocomponents (forecasted quantity demanded and indicated its advantages and disadvantages) and nano-based construction units. In addition, the roadmap shows alternative technologies that are developing in a different (opposite to nanotechnology) way.

Designed on the same approach the roadmap for satellite navigation created a comprehensive idea of the development of the space navigation in civilian industry in Russia till 2020. It provides a background for comparative analysis of the future developments of the GLONASS system and its main competitors - the U.S. GPS, European Galileo and Chinese Beidou. The roadmap shows the technologies that can improve the performance of GLONASS with regard to accuracy, accessibility, interference resistance, etc. It also reveals specific solutions in the transport sector for monitoring the goods, in the consumer electronics sector, agricultural sector and other promising areas where GLONASS was applied.

The reporter endorse Alexander Sokolov's view regarding the importance of supporting research recommendations (in this case presented as a roadmap) by different policy tools, in particular, various government programs, technology platforms and long-term forecasts of scientific and technological developments in Russia. Only the fulfilment of these conditions may the roadmaps become a perfect navigator, leading to the achievement of the objectives.

Prepared by Konstantin Vishnevskiy