The Innovative Business Supporting Tools Have Been Discussed at the Nanoindustry Congress
On December 3, 2020, the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs together with the Interindustry Association of Nanoindustry Nonprofit Partnership held the concluding event of the 9th Congress of Nanoindustry Enterprises’2020 “10 years of Modern Innovation Infrastructure: Challenges for Established Support Mechanisms in the New Realities”.
This year, the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Heads of development institutions together with innovative businesses were invited to the event and discussed what the support tools available to high-tech enterprises had given them, how they were adapting to the challenges of the new times, what opportunities for commercialization and support of innovative solutions existed at that time, and what needed to be done in the subsequent decade.
Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, opened the Congress. “The Fund’s team has done a tremendous amount of work over the years. The nanoindustry in Russia has been created. When we started out, a lot of people didn’t understand what startup and pitch were. Today there is a large-scale result, which, to my deep conviction, changes the fate of the country,” the head of RUSNANO said.
Many of the RUSNANO Group’s biggest achievements would not have been possible without the Fund, Anatoly Chubais believes. As the brightest examples, he named the OCSiAl company, the first Russian unicorn in the industrial sector, GTD-110, the first Russian high capacity gas turbine, the Russian center of flexible electronics, the network of nanocenters.
In the educational sphere, the Fund has been able to build several levels of work—from Nanograd, which involves thousands of schoolchildren, to educational programs to retrain personnel of high-tech companies. “Most of the RUSNANO projects would not have taken place if the Fund had not organized the training of those specialists, whom no one else in the country trained. Without it, it would have been impossible to launch our fiber optic project or the oil and gas pipe coating plant,” Anatoly Chubais said.
He also noted the high professionalism of the team that had worked on the creation of the standards and other documents of technical regulation. “Now there’s a solid base here. Now standardization switches to the ‘green’ topics, which will be the basis of transformations in the Russian technosphere in 20-30 years,” the head of RUSNANO said. Much has been done by the Fund for the regulatory framework as well. The most important documents, including the latest amendments to the law “On Science”, the government decree on the rules for evaluating the effectiveness of the use of state support by development institutions and monitoring and controlling the implementation of investment projects, and dozens of other documents were born with the support of the Fund specialists.
He also noted the important role of the Fund’s network of nanocenters, calling them “powerful drivers of the investment process both in the regions and in the whole country”. “Without infrastructure, there would be no nanoindustry itself. The most important strategic task remains to bring the nanoindustry infrastructure to self-sufficiency. It is a matter of our professional honor. It is difficult but possible,” the head of RUSNANO is confident.
In conclusion, Anatoly Chubais said that this was his last Congress and last day at the company. He thanked his colleagues for working together on one of the most interesting projects of his life.
CEO of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs Andrey Svinarenko spoke in more detail about the results achieved by the Fund. Over the 10 years that the Fund has recently celebrated, 12 nanocenters and more than 800 startups have been created, revenue for 10 years has amounted to RUB 31 bln, including RUB 9.5 bln last year. “This year, because of the pandemic, revenues will be slightly lower than planned, but production growth will still be above average for the economy,” the head of the Fund said. The total yield and return of investments in startups and other infrastructure projects have amounted to RUB 4.5 bln, and co-investments of other investors in the projects of the Fund—to more than RUB 14 bln.
The total revenue of the country’s nanoindustry enterprises for 10 years has exceeded RUB 9.7 trln. “We started from scratch in 2011. This would have been impossible without the support provided by the Fund and other development institutions,” Andrey Svinarenko says.
Two hundred high-tech companies, of which only less than a quarter form part of the RUSNANO Group, have received personnel support thanks to 206 educational programs created with the participation of the Fund. About 100 thousand specialists of teams of enterprises, which were aimed at mastering new technological processes and products, and students, who passed these programs in universities as part of training courses, have gained modern knowledge of innovative technologies. It was a sought-after job: a third of companies applied to the Fund again for other educational programs. The 70% of the universities with which educational programs were created have noted an increase in the R&D funding at the expense of those companies for which they trained specialists with the support of the Fund.
“We decided right away that we had to deal not only with students but also to prepare applicants for universities. The task was to try, when students were only interested in economics and law, to refocus their attention on the natural sciences, and to direct the children’s choices toward engineering education. For this purpose, the RUSNANO School League was created, which has developed about one hundred new methods of teaching science disciplines in schools,” Andrey Svinarenko said.
More than 470 national standards were created which have been applied in more than 4,000 enterprises. Seven hundred and sixty certificates of conformity were issued, which have ensured the entry of innovative products into the market.
Speaking about the ongoing reform of development institutes, Andrey Svinarenko, CEO of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs said that in his opinion, there were reserves for combining instruments and areas of support both in terms of infrastructure, where this complexity had to be ensured from the creation of start-ups to taking them to market or to a significant sales of their products, and by forming an ecosystem, which from their side was represented by education, standardization, technical regulation, and regulatory support for regulating the innovation environment. This also provided great results.
Summary of Information. The Nanoindustry in Russia Works
When RUSNANO was created in 2007 with the task to form a new industry in Russia—the nanoindustry, this work was approached comprehensively, as it turned out that it was not enough to invest in the construction of new production: it required qualified personnel, which in most cases was not available on the market at all, changes in regulations and technical standards, and it was necessary to work on the promotion of innovative products on the market. The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs took care of all this.
During these years, the Fund has established a network of 12 nanotechnology centers in nine regions of Russia, which have become the basis for the formation of breakthrough industrial areas. OCSiAl was created at the SYGMA.Novosibirsk Nanocenter, which has launched the world’s first commercial production of single-walled carbon nanotubes. In 2019, its value exceeded $1 bln. The ULNANOTECH Ulyanovsk nanocenter has acted as the operator of the project on the creation of the wind energy cluster and construction of the composite blades production plant. The Fund has supported the creation of Russia’s first high-powered GTD-110 gas turbine. The revenues of the Fund’s infrastructure projects have exceeded RUB 31 bln during the period of activity. More than 3,600 high-tech jobs have been created there.
The flagship nanocenter, the TechnoSpark Group of Companies, has been ranked first in terms of efficiency in the National Technopark Rating for five years in a row. In March 2020, the Russian Center for Flexible Electronics was put into operation there. This is the world’s first industrial production of non-silicon electronics components. The products are represented by the key components for LCD, OLED, and EPD screens, integrated circuits, and chips for sensors and RF tags, other micro-, and nanoelectronics. The goal is to make a deep upgrade and maintain a leadership position in the world where organic electronics are projected to dominate in ten years.
The Nanotechnological Center of Composites has created the full cycle from development to serial production of products from composite materials, which were in demand in aviation, ground transport, reconstruction in construction, and in many other industries. The Baikal Electronics startup has developed a range of domestic processors that are used in networking and telecommunications equipment, industrial automation systems, desktop computers, and soon to appear in laptops.
Employees of the Fund have developed their own technology for creating educational programs for business. There are already more than 200 of such programs, and over 100 thousand specialists from innovative enterprises and students of leading technical universities have been trained. The edunano.ru platform is a unique distance learning platform for engineers, technopreneurs, and students. The experience of online education accumulated in cooperation with the Fund has become a lifesaver for many universities during the lockdown declared due to the spread of the coronavirus infection.
The Fund contributes to updating undergraduate and graduate programs to meet labor market requirements, sets trends of modern staffing, and helps innovative companies to reduce costs to address staffing issues and avoid the risks of mismatch of personnel qualifications to business tasks. Specialists have the opportunity to confirm their qualifications in more than 200 professions.
The task of the Fund is to involve the younger generation into the study of natural sciences, to acquaint them with the high-tech sector, and to motivate schoolchildren to choose a career in the nanotechnology industry and breakthrough technologies. More than 170,000 schoolchildren from all over the country have taken part in the Fund’s youth projects.
More than 4,000 companies use the standards developed with the participation of the Fund, enterprises, and Rosstandart. Under the standardization program in the nanoindustry, 474 relevant national standards have been drawn up, including 66 “green” standards for environmentally oriented products. Fifteen regional offices of the Center for Standardization in Innovation facilitate access of new goods and services to the market. The technological corridors prepared by the Fund for high-tech product groups have ensured the displacement of obsolete technologies and stimulated the creation of new competitive products.
The Fund implements projects to promote domestic nanotechnology products on the world and Russian markets. As a result, 22 nanotechnology solutions have been certified by Gazprom, 19—by Transneft, and 28 have been implemented in the road transport industry. More than 5,000 apartment buildings have been overhauled using innovative materials.
Effective development of high-tech businesses requires favorable regulatory environment, access to long-term money, and effective financial and nonfinancial support mechanisms. The Fund is actively involved in both the development and implementation of significant government initiatives and the improvement of national legislation.
PROTOM and P-Cure have created a compact proton complex for the treatment of cancer as part of their support of international cooperation. It is characterized by the high precision of intervention, small size, which allows it to be placed in existing hospitals, as well as lower cost compared to its counterparts. All this makes it possible to increase the availability of proton therapy, the most precise and technologically advanced method of radiation therapy. Profotech and Satec have created an optical electronic transformer—a single comprehensive device for measuring power quality and metering.
The Fund is also responsible for popularization of nanotechnology and information support for high-tech business. Along with traditional methods of interaction with the media and congress and exhibition activities, the Fund, together with the Bumaga (Paper) Media Company, have invented the Science Bar Hopping popular science festival, a new format of communication between young scientists and those who were interested in our science. Before the quarantine measures were introduced, lectures had been held in dozens of small bars. In this chamber format, the festival, among other popularization projects of the Fund, was awarded the Grand Prix of the “Silver Archer” National Public Relations Award as the best PR project of 2018 and won the For Fidelity to Science Award in the Best Popular Science Project 2019 category. This year, the festival switched to online, thereby increasing its audience reach by an order of magnitude.
The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs was established in 2010 in accordance with Federal Law No. 211-FZ “On reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.” The Fund aims to develop the innovative infrastructure in the sphere of nanotechnology and implement the educational and infrastructure programs already started by RUSNANO.
The supreme collegial management body of the Fund is the Supervisory Board. Under the Fund’s Charter, the competence of the Supervisory Council, in particular, includes the issues of determining the priority directions of the Fund’s activity, as well as its strategy and budget. The Chairman of the Fund’s Executive Board, the collegial management body, is the Chairman of the Board of Management Company RUSNANO LLC Sergey Kulikov.