Western Giants Join Russia's Skolkovo High-Tech Project

Meeting of the Commission on Modernization of Russia’s Economy was held on Saturday in St. Petersburg within the framework of the 14th Economic Forum. The decisions made at the Forum include the approval of the governing bodies for Innograd Skolkovo, and interest in the project expressed by the representatives of MIT and Siemens. Meanwhile, U.S. telecom giant Cisco clearly stated: "We are in.”

The main topic of the meeting of the Commission on Modernization of Russia’s Economy was the project of Innograd in Skolkovo. President Dmitry Medvedev said that he would personally head the board of trustees of the innovation center.

"I would like to say that the board of trustees Skolkovo has been formed, and I will head it," said Dmitry Medvedev. The President expressed hope that this decision “will encourage early achievement of the objectives and completion of the project.”

The President also noted that members of the Innovation Centre Skolkovo Council will be present at the meeting of the Commission on Modernization of Russia’s Economy.

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"I consider it particularly important that it was composed of the heads of major high-tech companies in America, Europe and Asia. I kindly thank you for joining us," said Dmitry Medvedev.

"Your authority, your experience and your understanding of our course towards modernization is very important for us," said the president of Russia.

During the meeting, Viktor Vekselberg, head of the Development Fund of the Center for Development and Commercialization of new technologies, proposed the list of candidates for the supreme governing body - the Council Fund - for the approval by the Board of Trustees of the Innovation Center in Skolkovo.

According to the statute, the Council Fund is the supreme governing body, while Board of Trustees is the supervisory body. In addition, the control system has a special expert body - the Advisory Research Council Fund, chaired by Nobel Prize Jaures Alferov and Roger David Kornberg.

The Board of Trustees includes: Ivan Bortnik, chairman of the supervisory board of the fund for promotion of small enterprises in scientific and technical area; Arkady Dvorkovich, presidential aide, Vladimir Dmitriev, the chairman of state corporation 'Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs’ Vnesheconombank), Alexei Kudrin, Deputy Prime Minister - Finance Minister, Elvira Nabiullina, Minister of Economic Development, Yuri Osipov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Sergey Sobyanin, Deputy Prime Minister, Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the Presidential Administration; Andrei Fursenko, Minister of Education and Science .

The Foundation Board Skolkovo is headed by two co-chairs, Craig Barrett, the former head of Intel, and Viktor Vekselberg, head of the Supervisory Committee of the Group of companies Renova, President of Skolkovo Fund.

The Foundation Board includes: Vagit Alekperov, President of OAO Lukoil, Anatoly Alexandrov, Provost of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Esko Aho, executive vice president of Nokia; Martin Bouygues, co-owner of the French industrial group "Bouygues"; Alexander Galitsky, managing partner of "Almaz Capital Partners"; Mikhail Kovalchuk, director of the Russian Research Center Kurchatov Institute, Peter Loescher, president and CEO of "Siemens AG"; Vladimir Rashevsky, CEO, President of OAO Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK), Ratan Tata, chair of Tata Sons; John Chambers, Chairman, Chief Executive Director, Cisco Systems Inc; Anatoly Chubais, CEO of the state corporation "Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies" (RUSNANO), Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google.

Viktor Vekselberg noted that the members of the Governing Bodies of Skolkovo project are "well respected and very experienced." Vekselberg added he was hoping it "would have a determining influence on the work of the Fund.”

In turn, the representatives of Western high-tech companies and educational institutions present at the meeting have expressed their interest in cooperation with Russian Innograd. Rafael Reif, provost of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said that the institute was exploring the possibility of active cooperation with the Russian part of Skolkovo project .

Reif said that MIT delegation visited several research institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg and saw a strong scientific potential. He added that MIT has been following the initiatives taken by the Russian government to modernize the Russian economy and promote innovation with great interest, and that Skolkovo project, its goals and ambition were impressive.

He stated that MIT will keep in touch with Skolkovo fund in the hopes of cooperation aimed at discovering the opportunities for conducting educational and research projects with academics, students and researchers in Russia. Mr. Rife also mentioned that MIT was considering the possibility of signing an agreement with Skolkovo in the future.

He said MIT was hoping to complete the assessment by the end of the year and see possibilities of involvement with this project. He added that MIT was hoping to contribute to the long history of scientific achievements in Russia.

President Dmitry Medvedev thanked Mr. Rife for the statement. "We are very pleased that MIT is with us today," he said.

Peter Loescher, President and CEO of Siemens AG who co-chaired the Round Table of Industrialists of Russia and the EU within the framework of the economic forum, noted that he was an advocate of close ties between Russia and the EU in the area of modernization.

He said that Simens has been involved in innovation and technological development of Russia since 1853, starting with telegraph. He added that the company was now implementing the Sapsan bullet train project, and that all ongoing projects in energy, railway, and others were designed to enhance the transfer of technology.

Cisco, the American telecommunications giant, clearly announced its participation in Skolkovo project. The statement was made by John Chambers, chairman of the board of directors of the company.

Chambers stated that Cisco will be participating in all areas of the project, including education and venture capital.

According to news agencies, earlier presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich reported that negotiations regarding participation in Skolkovo project were being conducted with Nokia and other foreign companies, including German and French ones.

Anton Ponomaryov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov