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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks for the U.S. - Russia Innovation Working Group Executive Session


Remarks
Robert D. Hormats
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment 
Washington, DC
April 24, 2013

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As Prepared

Thank you, Lorraine, for the kind introduction, and thank you and Oleg for coordinating the working group. I would also like to thank Microsoft – specifically Daniel Lewin and Dorothy Dwoskin – for hosting today’s meeting. I am very grateful to our Russian colleagues for their hard work and participation. And, of course, I would like to thank all of the working group members who attended and presented today.

Both the United States and Russia have a long and proud history of invention. We train some of the world’s best scientists and engineers. And we are home to some of the most innovative businesses. Bloomberg Business Week recently released a list of the 50 Most Innovative Countries. I was impressed—though not surprised—at how quickly Russia has advanced in the rankings. Russia has positioned itself to seize upon fast-growing global innovative sectors, such as aerospace and information and communications technology. We strongly supports Russia’s efforts to create a innovation economy because bringing new technologies to market is good not just for Russia, it is also beneficial to the U.S. economy and society as a whole.

This understanding is embedded in U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group’s mission. Members of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group have been working on an exciting array of initiatives to support commercialization. I will highlight three key areas of cooperation.

First, the working group has helped advance a series of regional partnerships. I am delighted that Deputy Governor Ivanov has joined today’s meeting to present on the cooperation plan between Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and the State of Maryland. Our goal is to spur future regional partnerships and, in particular, to broaden cooperation to include other regional clusters and other industries. The United States is home to a number of lesser-known, but equally impressive innovation clusters. There is a tremendous aerospace sector in Oklahoma, Florida, and Mississippi; Minnesota and Utah are home to a booming information technology sector; and Arizona is making strides in nanotechnology.

The Working Group should consider these clusters for future collaboration.

The second major area of discussion today was on the commercialization of innovative technologies. Working group members provided an update on their ongoing programs, including the American Councils’ Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity – or EURECA – program. This partnership between U.S. and Russian research universities is aimed at building the innovation ecosystem and expanding entrepreneurial and technology transfer capacities. In addition to the EURECA program update, CRDF Global and the National Business Incubators Association spoke about their efforts and ideas on promoting innovation in the United States and Russia.

Last, the working group has helped better delineate the government’s role in innovation. My good friend Alan Wolff—who is one of our foremost experts on comparative innovation policy—shared his thoughts on the U.S. experience and the role of our government. As I mentioned earlier, the United States is an innovation nation but, of course, we have learned hard lessons along the way.

So, there is a tremendous opportunity for others to benefit from our path. Tomorrow, many of you will visit the National Institutes of Health, where you will see firsthand an example of the government’s role in biotech innovation. You will also meet with officials from the Small Business Administration and learn about their “Small Business Innovation Research” program. This program helps small businesses by providing funds for the critical startup and development stages of technology commercialization. One of the most important things a government can do to promote innovation is to establish a legal and regulatory framework that is conducive to entrepreneurial thinking and bringing new ideas to market. You heard today recommendations by an expert group of U.S. and Russian lawyers for both of our governments. I have seen the policy recommendations and look forward to a read-out of the discussion during this session. I would like to thank all those who contributed to this report.

Now it is our turn.

The United States is—and will remain—and innovation economy. That’s why our government takes these recommendations seriously. The Russian government has also heeded the call to action. Russia has placed a very high priority on implementing policies that foster and facilitate innovation. The Bloomberg statistic I quoted earlier is testament to this fact. My colleague and co-chair of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Working Group, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Government Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov will speak to the Russian perspective. Mr. Surkov has been a prominent voice for the promotion of innovation in Russia and a strong supporter of our bilateral innovation cooperation agenda. Vladislav Yuryevich it is a pleasure to have you here, and I now turn the microphone over to you.

Thank you.



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