The regions of Russia began establishing research and education centers (RECs) to integrate academic science and industry as part of the National project 'Science'. Not less than 15 such centers should be established until 2024. The Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Nizhny Novgorod Regions, the Far East have been working hard on science "oases" where scientists and entrepreneurs will be able to generate their ideas and bring them to life. Andrei Volkov, Rector of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, has told about the peculiarities of the establishment of RECs.
- Andrei Evgenevich, what does the establishment of such centers mean for our science and education?
Andrei Volkov: The corresponding presidential decree specifies the establishment of "world-class" centers. This is an important specification as we're talking about acceleration of the country's science and technology development and system integration into global economy. In particular, it is necessary to tune up collaborative work in the field of research and education with centers and clusters from other countries, with business. This is another chance to launch the process of innovation cluster development, i.e. to accumulate the developments, leading to explosive growth of "territory value", in one place.
- How will regions for the establishment of such centers be selected?
Andrei Volkov: Primarily, an initiative from the regional authorities, a wish to participate is very important here: if a certain region or a group of regions does not act, the government will hardly initiate the establishment of RECs. Such approach has been already tested in the project "5-100" aimed to improve the competitiveness of universities: HEIs that expressed their wish to participate in the project themselves. There was no allocation or state aid distribution.
- Not less than 15 research and education centers should be established in the regions until 2024. It is impossible to launch RECs without universities. What tasks are they assigned to?
Andrei Volkov: University are a key element here if they will be able to take a new look at themselves, i.e. to become centers for production of knowledge and practical solutions for their regions. This can be exemplified by a true story. In 1966 young scientists and students in the Novosibirsk academic town were united under the aegis of the research and technology organization. They started fulfilling quicker and cheaper orders compared with those fulfilled by traditional contractors. In the five years they boosted the income from 25 rubles to hundreds of millions.
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