Sergei Sobyanin: Moscow has unique innovative potential

September 24
Economy and entrepreneurship

A meeting of the Moscow Innovation Cluster’s Supervisory Council, chaired by Sergei Sobyanin, was held in Moscow to review the cluster’s results in 2019 and the first half of 2020.

“Today we are holding a meeting of the Moscow Innovation Cluster’s Supervisory Council. The cluster was established by a Presidential Executive Order in 2018. Our task was to consolidate disconnected components of Moscow’s innovation infrastructure and build a single system,” Sergei Sobyanin said.

Platform for cooperation between industries and regions 

In 2018, Vladimir Putin supported Sergei Sobyanin’s proposal to create the Moscow Innovation Cluster. The unique project brought together local universities, technology parks and research organisations, as well as large, medium-sized and small innovative companies.

“Moscow has unique innovative potential. There are over 130,000 hi-tech companies in the city. Hi-tech industries account for over 20 percent of the Russian GDP. Moscow is in the top 10 of the world’s innovative cities, according to leading ratings,” the Mayor stressed.

The i.moscow digital platform serves as the cluster’s technological basis, which makes it significantly easier to search for potential partners, sell and commercialise innovative products. Cluster participants have access to the platform and the City Government’s financial support.

“More than 17,000 innovative companies have already become members of the Moscow Innovation Cluster, including major companies in the aviation engineering, space exploration, pharmaceutical, electronic and IT industries. Russia’s leading nuclear research centre, the Kurchatov Institute, and Russia’s leading university, Lomonosov Moscow State University, as well as other major universities are among the participants. At the same time, small and medium-sized innovative companies account for 90 percent of the cluster participants,” Sergei Sobyanin added.

Leading research organisations in Moscow, more than 50 leading higher educational establishments as well as large industrial companies were granted cluster participant status.

Companies that are part of state corporations are largely involved in the cluster’s development. Their number reached 87 by the end of August 2020 (63 companies are part of the Rostec State Corporation, 14 are part of Rosatom and 10 are part of Roscosmos).

Additionally, since 1 May 2020, the cluster’s services have become available to regional companies as well. Regional partners include 5,709 companies and private entrepreneurs from 73 Russian regions. The majority of them are based in the Moscow Region (62 percent) and St Petersburg (5 percent).

With access to the cluster’s projects, companies from other regions get an opportunity to cooperate not only with other industries but with other regions as well. Using companies’ advantages such as strong production capacities in the regions and the high level of R&D in the capital stimulates the production of competitive products and components.

Sergei Sobyanin noted that the Moscow Innovation Cluster is already contributing to the city’s development by helping to create innovative projects and new jobs.

Alexei Fursin, Head of Moscow’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development, noted the importance of increasing the share of regional companies in the project, as this would allow for using the readily available industrial capacities in the regions and developing OEM manufacturing.

Services for cluster participants and partners 

The Moscow Innovation Cluster has all the conditions for efficient work, including various services for MIC members and partners.

The OEM manufacturing board allows companies that do not have their own capacities to place orders for product development and thus provide workload to industrial facilities with available capacities. Developed in cooperation with Rostec, the service is available to such industries as metal processing and instrument engineering. More than 30 manufacturers have already benefited from the service. Starting 18 September, a similar service will become available to light industry companies.

The patent board expands opportunities for commercialising scientific developments. The portal contains information about 118,000 patents on registered inventions, utility models, industrial designs and trademarks. The board allows copyright holders to sell their intellectual property while entrepreneurs can find the technology they need. Some 8,000 organisations and entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the service since the beginning of the year.

The piloting service for innovative solutions allows innovative companies to test a product among a wide audience of potential users and get an independent expert review of the product’s competitive advantages.

The programme comprises 83 public and commercial piloting platforms for 11 sectors such as retail and services, energy efficiency, IT and communications, healthcare, the environment, security, transport and education. Thirty-six pilot projects were successfully completed as of 18 September; nine more are still in progress.

One of the solutions that have been tested is the Speaking City radio alert and audio guidance system for people with visual impairments and other low-mobility residents who need to move around the city by themselves.

Students of Moscow School No. 1306 took part in the pilot testing of the Algoritmika programming courses. A network of programming labs for children aged five to 17 provides opportunities for classroom learning and self-study at home.

Multisectoral clusters bring together organisations from various industries to create, commercialise and distribute joint innovative projects.

Three multisectoral (interindustry) clusters were created in the first year of the i.moscow platform’s operation. They include Zelenograd (36 participants), the New Materials, Laser and Radiation Technology innovation cluster in Troitsk (32 participants) and the SportTech sports industry cluster (44 participants).

Marketplace is a service for promoting products and services. The portal offers information about 30,000 organisations, 740,000 products and 127,000  various services.

The rental property search helps with finding available production facilities, laboratories, offices and storage space. The database includes 2,301 properties covering a total area of 716,000 sq m.

The navigator on more than 200 support measures helps entrepreneurs to decide which support measures offered by the City Government, federal government bodies and development institutions are available to them.

Factoring is an online service for manufacturers and suppliers that allows those companies working on a deferred-payment basis to obtain funding by assigning its accounts receivable.  

Stimulating innovative activity through large-scale programmes 

Moscow Accelerator is a cooperation programme for leading corporations and startups that plan to scale up their innovative businesses.

“The Moscow Accelerator is based at the innovation cluster and offers technology competitions that connect major corporations with emerging innovative companies,” Sergei Sobyanin explained.

Hi-tech businesses are extremely interested in the programme. For example, over 950 applications were submitted for the Digital Services track organised in cooperation with Yandex. Two projects are already integrated with Yandex services, two are marketed internationally, and 14 more projects increased their revenue three to 14 times.

More than 380 applications were submitted for the Biomedtech track organised together with the ChemRar Research Institute (developer of a COVID-19 treatment) and Invitro (Russia’s leader in laboratory diagnostics).

Projects in the following areas were selected:

— Biomedpharm: modern pharmaceutical technology and medication;

— Digital medicine: digitalisation of healthcare facilities and remote patient monitoring;

— Laboratory diagnostics: new tests and diagnostics technologies;

— Biotech: countering COVID-19, personalised healthcare, counter-epidemic technologies.  

The demo day took place on 15 September at the Moscow Innovation Cluster’s site at the Red October factory. Twenty-nine of the most successful accelerator participants presented their reports. Many of them are already implementing pilot projects with partners and city officials.

Moreover, to continue developing the accelerator’s promising projects, a decision was made to establish a biomedical technology cluster at the Transplantation Medicine Institute of the Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University. Some of the most promising projects are listed below:

— Immunomica: developing screening platforms for chemotherapy against COVID-19 and other infections based on gene technology. The platform allows for reducing the time required to develop a treatment for new infections as well as validating the capability of existing drugs to fight new diseases. The project was created by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology;

— Rosmed: an online platform for digitising laboratory diagnostics research and programmes that connects patients, doctors and pharmaceutical companies for monitoring patients and organising patient support programmes. The platform proved timely and relevant during the pandemic. It significantly reduces the load on healthcare facilities by moving at-home patient monitoring online with options for adjusting treatments;

— SOIS Test: an immune status screening assessment based on a new scientific foundation, that is, measuring endotoxin aggression to reveal latent pathological processes and deliver an early diagnosis. Experts believe the project constitutes a fully fledged scientific discovery. Agreements on clinical trials of the SOIS Test are already in place;

— MyAngelVitalSigns: patches and mobile apps for monitoring cardio and respiratory indicators. It is a project by a French company planning to move production to Russia. The device can track a person’s vitals in emergency and extreme situations. In France, such testing is underway among ambulance workers, firefighters and police officers. The company’s participation in the accelerator resulted in a pilot project with a commercial medical clinic and a mobile network operator.

“Pre-clinical and clinical trials of the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, were an extremely important and complicated project conducted at this site. The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute within the shortest term possible and in compliance with all Russian and international standards,” commented Pyotr Glybochko, President of the Sechenov Medical University.

In August, applications opened for the Fintech track organised in partnership with major Russian banks and the Association for the Development of Financial Technologies.

The 30 best startups and innovative companies that completed the acceleration programme will take part in a demo day on 11 December 2020. The companies will be granted investment from funds and get a chance to implement their solutions at participating banks.

MIC technology competitions help large tech companies to find and implement ready solutions developed by startups. Investment funds that are willing to finance cooperation projects are also involved in the initiative.

Employment opportunities were the first issue on the agenda. The project was ordered by Russia’s biggest HR company. In line with the client’s requirements, the MIC created a funnel of more than 300 applications with solutions for recruitment, assessment, telework and higher productivity. Twenty-eight projects made the shortlist, including 10 that will be integrated with corporations and 12 to be launched as pilots.

Even by participating in one competition, companies manage to build links with potential partners. The participants prepared six projects over the course of the competition. Competitions in such areas as games/VR/AR, sports, education and new materials are scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

Grants for complex innovative projects. The money raised through grants can be spent on developing or upgrading major construction sites, purchasing equipment or software, developing products that constitute intellectual property or obtaining rights to them.

A grant can compensate up to 15 percent of the project investment but not more than 200 million roubles per year. Both direct expenses and loan interest (equal or below the key rate of the Russian Central Bank) can be reimbursed.

Forty-four applications were submitted during the first stage, resulting in 11 applicants receiving a total of 400 million roubles in grants. One of the winners is a project that focuses on developing and producing medication to treat ageing-associated diseases. Based on SKQ, or Skulachev ions, developed by Russian scientists, the project creators will produce anti-ageing products and a drug that prevents severe cases of COVID-19. Clinical trials of the drugs are currently in their final stages.

Future plans

The Moscow Innovation Cluster has more plans for this year:

— building five multisectoral clusters;

— supporting at least 1,000 startups through development programmes;

— involving in operations 20,000 sq m of space via the IT platform;

— closing at least 100 deals via the IT platform’s OEM manufacturing board;

— upgrading 30 hi-tech facilities to support engineering;

— launching five tracks under the Moscow Accelerator programme.

Agreement with Rospatent 

During the Supervisory Council meeting, representatives of the Moscow Innovation Cluster and Zhongguancun Science Park signed an agreement on cooperation in advanced scientific and technological innovation, research and development. The Moscow City Government and the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) also signed an agreement on cooperation with regard to supporting invention, patent issuance, licensing and innovative activity in Moscow.

The priority areas of cooperation include creating conditions for developing scientific activity in Moscow, improving statutory regulation, and organising financial and information support.

The parties also plan to hold conferences, workshops, exhibitions and contests focusing on developing invention, patent issuance, licensing and innovative activity in Moscow. Other areas of particular importance include training experts in legal protection and intellectual property use, and conducting related research.

Source: mos.ru

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