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Triple helix, success stories and plans for IASP 2016.

Interview with Oleg Movsesyan, General Director of Moscow State University Science Park

Oleg Movsesyan,
General Director of Moscow State University Science Park

— In your opinion, how effective is the Triple Helix within the Russian science park environment? How has this integration evolved throughout the years? MSU Science Park is a university based science, one of the leading in Russia. How, in practical terms, have you organized the cooperation with university, industry and government communities?
 

It's no secret that the big business has recently been poorly involved in the consumption process of Russian innovations. Large companies preferred to purchase technologies abroad, but not to cooperate with our universities and research centers or work with Russian technological startups. Therefore, the role of the state is particularly important in promoting such interaction. During recent years the state has become to implement a more active industrial policy. On the one hand, decisions on developing and approving innovation development programs, that became publicly available, had accepted in companies with the state participation at the level of boards of directors. On the other hand, the state uses other mechanisms to promote partnerships of universities and industry in the form of subsidies and grants for joint R&D, where small technological companies can participate as members of the consortium.

MSU Science Park is actively involved in such work. Right now we «build» a similar project, where a shipbuilding company participates as an industrial partner and a customer of innovative solution; the consortium of leading educational and research centers of the country also take part in the project including the National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute, Moscow State University (MSU), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), as well as an innovative company - resident of the MSU Science Park, which received a grant from the Skolkovo Foundation to create its own product – the engineering analysis system CAE Fidesys.

— Are there any startup success stories, which have emerged from MSU Science Park?

Some of production companies and companies in the sector of information and communication technologies (ICT) have grown from «walls» of the park. More than 300 companies and about 10,000 jobsites have been created in the MSU Science Park during past 20 years.

As a rule, the term of development of a production company is not less than 10 years. During this time the company has passed a path from a lab at MSU or one rented room in the Science Park to its own high-tech manufacturing. This happened to our residents - Unikhimtek company that develops and manufactures composite materials based on carbon, and the United Russian Water Technologies company developing modern systems of industrial wastewater treatment. Today these companies include research and production subdivisions with a staff of about 1000 people. The consumers of their products are the largest Russian companies - Gazprom, Rosneft, United Aircraft Company and others.

Some of our residents working in the ICT sector were acquired by major players in the Russian telecommunications market - the Megafon company and RBK - one of the largest media holding companies in Russia.

First Russian search engine - Rambler - attracted the 2nd and the 3rd rounds of investment in the MSU Science Park.

Our startup Nigma is the developer and owner of the largest search engine in Vietnam. The development of this startup is an interesting story. In 2005, graduates of the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics of MSU created Nigma.ru startup. The science park helped to find the first money for development of the project from the Fund for Assistance to Development of Small Enterprises in FASIE. The main investor of the project was the known DST Fund – the shareholder of Facebook, Mail.Ru Group, Russian social network VKontakte. Nigma had developed a search engine for Russian market and entered the top-5 of Russian search engines in 2007. However, during the crisis of 2008, the company took a paradoxical, at first glance, decision - to develop a search service for Vietnamese market. Time has shown that it was not such a strange decision. Today the search service of Coccoc.com company is on the first place on nearly 100 million Vietnamese market and bypasses giants such as Google and Yahoo!

— What kind of a value do you see in international collaborations between STPs?

New technological ideas often have a global market. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the startup in the framework of a global competition. That's why we regularly take graduates of our accelerated programs together with teams of startups in the leading innovation centres in the world - Silicon Valley, Boston Cluster, Israel, the Great Britain (Oxford, Cambridge), Germany, China, and Singapore. There they can assess the level of their developments, find partners, meet with mentors, experts and become more efficient. This requires a network of partners that we, as a science park, have been building consistently for many years in partnership with science parks that are the IASP members.

Due to this network, we are able to help our companies to find partners and launch joint projects. The recent example is a joint project to develop a ventilation system. This project was ensured with support of the Russian State Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) and the Finnish State Fund Tekes. Foundations partially funded R&D of companies. I want to note that the support was provided to the project at the national level in the framework of cooperation of Russia with the European Union. Today dozens of joint projects were supported similarly.

— You are part of the team competing for the possibility to host IASP world conference in 2016 in Moscow. How are the preparations going?

The work is moving according to the plan. We have formed a professional team of three technoparks and the Innovation Development Centre of the Government of Moscow. We are being actively helped by partners from the Association of Technoparks and innovation and technology centers, Russian ministries and departments.

We regularly inform colleagues from other countries about our plans, prepare and send out information materials, publish them in Social Media.

Most recently, Startup Village and the Summit of Technoparks were held, where our colleagues from the United States, Spain, Brazil, Tunisia, Ecuador, the CIS countries have arrived. According to the result of the Summit, many Russian technological parks decided to join the IASP. As I have repeatedly stressed, hosting the conference in Moscow will allow IASP attracting a significant number of new members from Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, wherein hosting the conference also can help our partners in the IASP from other countries to find promising areas of business development of their residents in Russia