Skolkovo celebrates 2015 achievements, aims to become “a true city” - RUSSOFT

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Skolkovo celebrates 2015 achievements, aims to become “a true city”

This year will see Skolkovo, the international tech hub under completion on the outskirts of Moscow, become a true city, Skolkovo’s president Viktor Vekselberg stated at a board meeting last week

Apr 01, 2016
The first residents of the hub, which had thus far remained more virtual than physical, are due to move in to brand new housing in the summer. Another building to house residents will be opened by the end of the year.

In addition, an R&D center for Boeing – one of Skolkovo’s key partners – is set to be opened next month. Boeing’s research building was commissioned this week, said Andrei Burenin, chairman of the Skolkovo board.

The Skolkovo project was announced in 2010 with the aim of developing Russia’s number one technology and innovation hub. Built on the premise of then-President Medvedev’s priorities for economic development and modernization, the project has focused on IT, biotech, energy, space and nuclear technologies.

Skolkovo’s very first building, the ‘Hypercube,’ was completed in 2012, boasting a number of innovative and environmentally friendly features.

2015 achievements

Last year the Skolkovo Foundation approved grants worth 1.7 billion rubles (approximately $27 million at the average exchange rate) for resident companies, of which 17% was made up of micro-grants and mini-grants, said Burenin, summing up the foundation’s results for 2015. The proportion of private co-financing in the grants was 47%.

Eight organisations joined Skolkovo’s pool of investors last year, including the major Chinese foundation Cybernaut Investment Group. Accredited investors signed 25 deals with Skolkovo companies worth a total of 1.3 billion rubles ($21 million), said Burenin.

No fewer than 19 international and Russian partner companies and organisations resolved to open R&D centers at Skolkovo in 2015, including German micro-optics and laser producer LIMO, Japan’s industrial robot-maker FANUC, the Russian Olympic Committee and a host of Russian companies including developer Morton.

New ties were also developed with Argentina, Cuba, France, India, Singapore, South Korea and several other countries.

In summer 2015, Skolkovo began accepting applications from startups in the agricultural business, in line with government priorities and global market trends. These startups fell under the wing of the biotech cluster.

Last year Skolkovo also launched a new branch in the Russian Far East. According to Yury Saprykin, head of the foundation’s activities there, the foundation attracted 30 residents in the first year of its operations, above its target of 15. The Far Eastern branch expects 120 million rubles (approximately $1.8 million at the current exchange rate) in investment this year, and is set to give grants of 100 million rubles ($1.4 million), said Saprykin.

Several major events are planned to be held in the port city of Vladivostok where the Far East office is based, including the spring school of the Skolkovo Open University and a Patent School in April, as well as an agriculture forum in November.