Science and Tech Innovation
On May 20, Innovation Working Group coordinator Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, participated in a panel discussion at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on “New Initiatives for Scientific and Technological Innovation” during a conference entitled “Doing Business with the BRICS.”
Hariton highlighted the work of the BPC’s Innovation Working Group in furthering innovation collaboration between the United States and Russia. The emergence of productive new trends, such as the “Regionalization of Cooperation” and the “Commercialization of Innovation” have spawned partnerships between Maryland’s and Nizhny Novgorod’s Innovation Corridors, and between U.S. and Russian universities, that bring research out of labs and into application by building tech transfer capacity, ties to business, and entrepreneurship in both countries.
Approximately 100 government and private sector representatives, mostly from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), attended the panel discussion. The State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Dan Russell also provided remarks. The conference was arranged by the Eurasia Center and The Eurasian Business Coalition at the Russian Embassy.
University Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights Protection
On March 18, Intellectual Property Rights Attaché Donald Townsend, representing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, participated in a seminar on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes and combating internet piracy hosted by the Kazak Federal University’s law department. Mr. Townsend and colleagues from the Department of Justice delivered a presentation titled, “Internet Piracy, the U.S. Approach to Addressing Online Copyright Violations, and U.S.-Russia Cooperative Efforts.” The seminar was attended by law students and faculty from the university, and representatives from the local Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) cybercrime department and from the Kazan technology park—analogous to Skolkovo near Moscow—also participated in the roundtable discussion.
Innovation Working Group Meets in the Hypercube
The U.S. – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’ Innovation Working Group held its second meeting at the “Hypercube” in Moscow, the first completed building of the Russian government’s flagship innovation project, Skolkovo.
U.S. Co-Chair, Undersecretary for Economic Growth, the Environment and Energy Robert Hormats, said he was enthusiastic about U.S. – Russia collaboration under the Working Group and noted that partnership on innovation strengthens U.S. – Russian relations. Russian Co-Chair, Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, expressed optimism for the work of the group and stressed the value of the Innovation Working Group’s collaborative efforts in moving the Skolkovo initiative forward.
At the end of the day, the State Department’s Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, Lorraine Hariton, and Russia’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oleg Fomichev, the co-coordinators for the Innovation Working Group, signed a joint work plan. The plan details concrete steps to further develop ongoing cooperation in three main areas: the legal framework for innovation, cooperation on innovation centers and regional innovation clusters, and the development of commercialization chains.
U.S. Expert Mentors IT Start-Up Hopefuls
Information Technology is one of the most rapidly growing economic sectors in St. Petersburg, attracting some of the region's best and brightest young minds. At an event called "Hack Day Meets Garage 48," the Consulate's Public Affairs Section was able to tap into this audience by hosting the visit of Gagan Biyani, the president and founder of Udemy, an online learning platform that allows instructors to host courses. Mr. Biyani is also a contributing writer to "TechCrunch."
One of the most eagerly anticipated IT events on the St. Petersburg calendar, "Hack Day Meets Garage 48" united more than 300 young IT professionals and entrepreneurs for two days, September 15 and 16. During the course of this weekend, teams developed software solutions or applications they hoped would appeal to investors.
Mr. Biyani mentored several of the teams, helping them refine their ideas and advising them on their pitch to investors. He also shared his own experiences as a successful young IT entrepreneur. In addition to "Hack Day Meets Garage 48," Mr. Biyani visited a few of St. Petersburg's IT business incubators and met with members of the AmCham Telecommunications and Information Technology Group. Mr. Biyani's visit went far to promote greater understanding and ties between Russians and Americans.
University Start-Ups Program Launched in Moscow
The U.S.-Russia Foundation’s EURECA (Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity) program organized a three-day training event to foster entrepreneurship on September 16-18 near Moscow for approximately 30 professionals from twenty Russian National Research Universities. American Councils, an international, non-profit educational organization, brought trainers to Russia from the U.S., including the Director of New Ventures of the Cleveland Clinic to the training to work with Russian experts. The program focused on optimal university services to spur and activate start-ups and include live analysis and planning for start-ups of the participating institutions. This project contributes directly to support the goals of the BPC’s Innovation Working Group.
Innovation Concert at Spaso House
In support of the Innovation Working Group, on September 12 Ambassador McFaul hosted leading U.S. expert on innovation John Kao who gave an "innovation concert" at Spaso House for local innovation community. Participants were treated to his jazz stylings and lively discussion of promoting creative innovation.
Inaugural Innovation Working Group Meeting Takes Place in Silicon Valley
During a daylong series of discussions on March 27, Innovation Working Group members (including innovation experts from the Russian and U.S. governments, private sectors, non-governmental sectors, and universities) examined policies that encourage successful innovation systems around the world, as well as concrete cooperative projects to promote innovation coordination between the United States and Russia. U.S. Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Lorraine Hariton and Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oleg Fomichev led their respective delegations, with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats addressing the group via video conference.The group discussed plans to link innovation centers and regional innovation clusters, assessed the legal framework for innovation, and considered ways of leveraging resources and connections in the private and academic sectors to support the commercialization of innovative technologies in both countries. The two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with Russia’s new Skolkovo Innovation Center. The Working Group meeting was preceded by a daylong program of site visits hosted by NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Travel Program for Emerging Technology Entrepreneurs
Partially funded by the U.S. government, the CRDF Global Technology Entrepreneurship Development Program is hosting four emerging technology entrepreneurs for an 11-day learning journey across the United States. They started their visit March 28 at the Global Technology Symposium in Silicon Valley, California, and from there traveled to Austin, Texas for a four-day program that will include a 3-Day Startup Boot camp (http://3daystartup.org), personalized workshop, and one-on-one mentoring by the University of Texas at Austin IC² Institute team. Their visit will culminate in a three-day program in the Washington, D.C. area where Russian entrepreneurs will participate in the Northern Virginia Technology Council event and site visits to International Incubator at the University of Maryland, the Emerging Technologies Center in Baltimore, and several local technology start-up companies. The four travel grant program participants are winners of a CRDF Global business plan competition held during an October 2011 workshop in Moscow. This workshop was organized in partnership with the Fund for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) and the Skolkovo Foundation Energy Efficiency Cluster. Please click here for more information.
Innovation and Technology Visitor Program
Three representatives from Russian state-owned companies and the Ministry of Economic Development visited the United States, March 1-9, for an introduction to the U.S. corporate culture of innovation, particularly within the energy sector. They visited San Francisco and Minneapolis, meeting with a variety of companies and universities. The group was struck by the independence of state and local governments; learned that the U.S. federal government has no role in regulating local utilities’ rates and relations between utilities and their customers; and came to appreciate the significant (sometimes leading) role non-profits play in fostering and sustaining innovations in the United States.
Innovation Working Group Inaugural Meeting
The Innovation Working Group inaugural meeting took place in San Jose, California on March 27. Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative for Business and Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Oleg Fomichev, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development, headed the U.S. and Russian delegations, respectively. Learn more»
Bilateral Statement on Innovation Cooperation Signed for New Working Group
On November 11, Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats and Russian Presidential Advisor Arkady Dvorkovich met on the margins of the APEC Ministerial meeting in Hawaii and signed a Statement of Intent to launch the BPC’s Innovation Working Group. The two sides agreed to cooperate and share best practices on developing a legal framework for innovative entrepreneurship; developing innovation centers and regional innovative clusters; and supporting commercialization of innovative breakthroughs. The first full meeting of the Working Group is slated to take place in March 2012 in Silicon Valley.