Microsoft wants Russian Silicon Valley

The Third International Forum on Nanotechnology RUSNANOTECH 2010 started its work in Moscow. on  November 1. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who attended the opening ceremony of the forum  signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a development center of corporation in Skolkovo with the curator of Skolkovo Innograd Viktor Vekselberg.

The Forum, which will continue until November 3, will be attended by over 3,000 Russian and foreign politicians, scientists and entrepreneurs. On the first day, the Forum was attended by over 1,700 participants. Over 1,000 people visited the exhibition of nanotechnology projects, the press service Rosnano reported.

360 companies from Russia and 13 countries (Austria, Britain, Germany, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Belarus, USA, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, and Japan) are represented at the Forum this year.
The Russian part of the exhibition will be represented by exhibits from Altai, Krasnoyarsk, Perm and Stavropol, Belgorod, Vladimir, Volgograd, Voronezh, Irkutsk, Kaluga, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Penza, Sverdlovsk, Tomsk and the Ulyanovsk region, Udmurtia and Chuvashia Republic, the Republic of Mordovia, Sakha (Yakutia), Tatarstan, Moscow and St. Petersburg, science towns of Troitsk and Dubna.

Russia Today: World watches Skolkovo

"I believe that if we are serious about setting the goal of building an innovative economy in Russia, about modernization of the Russian economy, the key to solving this problem lies in the regions," said Anatoly Chubais, CEO of Rosnano, opening the regional section of the forum.

The main topics of the scientific program of the first day are nanomaterials, nanodagnostics, nanobiotechnology, nanophotonics and nanoelectronics, as well as nanotechnology in medicine.

With regard to the business part of the forum, the first day is mainly focused on the application of nanotechnology in the energy sector, construction, power and chemical industries. In addition, issues of financial and engineering innovation infrastructure were discussed.

Two sections were dedicated to technical regulation and metrology of nanoindustry, as well as safety of nanotechnology for the environment and human health.

A separate section was devoted to the participation of Russian scientists working abroad in innovative projects implemented in Russia.

"This year, Russia managed to take fourth place in terms of private investment in nanotechnology. This figure amounted to 17 billion rubles," noted in his speech Sergei Ivanov, Chairman of the Organizing Committee Forum.

The major objective of the forum is to attract investment and technology. To do this, companies operating in Skolkovo were provided with special preferential treatment. And it is quite natural that they will attract large government orders. Large corporations are willing to follow the money, but it would be nice to establish the terms of cooperation whereby Russia would receive apparent technological and educational benefits.

According to Chubais, Rosnano expects to negotiate with foreign venture capital investors the establishment of 10 venture capital funds in Russia. In addition, one of American leaders in the manufacture of lasers in Russia will start working in Russia, which will be reflected in a relevant agreement. The largest event of the first day of the forum was the signing of a protocol of intent with Microsoft, which plans to create a Center for community access to cloud computing and expand the program to support the initial stages of Russian startups that have been selected by the expert committee composed of representatives of the company and Russian venture funds.

"Amounts will vary, but generally, the projects at such stages receive from $50 thousand to 0.5 million," commented head of Microsoft in Russia Nikolai Pryanishnikov.

It is reported that experts of Skolkovo will test and adapt their solutions within the corporate infrastructure of Microsoft. Also, some of the developments of the center may involve Russian subcontractors. Students of Skolkovo University of Technology will be provided with internship opportunities at the center.

According to the head of fund Skolkovo Viktor Vekselberg, there are plans to sign agreements with Nokia and Intel, are negotiations with Google are under way. Also, the Skolkovo project may include Siemens, Boeing, and Cisco.

Boris Yaremenko

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov