On February 11, the Moscow City Duma hosted a round table titled “On Moscow's Innovation Cluster.” The proposed entity is expected to facilitate interaction among IT companies and science organizations by bringing them together on one platform.
“The job of the cluster is to shorten the distance from developer to consumer. All the tools that we are building as part of the unifying structure must serve this purpose,” said Alexey Fursin, head of the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development.
According to Alexander Zorin, director for regional policy at the non-profit organization Tsifrovaya Ekonomika (Digital Economy), launching an innovation cluster in Moscow will be the first project of its kind, and it can be replicated across Russia.
“One of the key objectives for the cluster is to boost the competitiveness of the Russian economy, to facilitate the creation of new high-quality products with a high export potential. We are ready to join these efforts to strengthen Russia's positions on the global market,” said Zorin.
Alexey Gusev, director for innovation ecosystem development at the Russian Venture Company, believes the cluster can become a magnet for startups from all over the world. In his opinion, the project is a natural extension of Moscow's existing support measures for the hi-tech sector.
“An important area of collaboration within the framework of the cluster is the interaction of the Moscow Government and companies of the National Technology Initiative. Under the cluster, this work will gain proper legal status, which will bolster the effectiveness of joint efforts,” noted Gusev.
In his words, having universities as part of the system is expected to add technology entrepreneurship courses to the cluster's educational capacities. The Moscow cluster can also help young entrepreneurs contribute to the city's economy.
Among organizations interested in Moscow's cluster is Roscosmos, Russia's state space corporation, an organization with significant experience in integrating efforts and resources.
“What is essential is the principle that lays the foundation for the innovation cluster: the integration of science, manufacturing, and education. Roscosmos puts emphasis on simultaneous collaboration across several areas. Firstly, we expect that support will be provided to R&D organizations of the industry, that the state corporation's organizations will be granted access to Moscow's innovation infrastructure, especially when it comes to the implementation of groundbreaking projects. Secondly, we see opportunities for shaping new collaborations to create new equipment, offer space services, and search for niches to fill in the space industry,” said Dmitry Shishkin, director of infrastructure projects at Roscosmos.
He added that the cluster will also be a marketplace for promoting products and services. According to him, the new structure will drive employee development, because the cluster will provide opportunities for sharing best practices, building competencies and improving qualifications across many technology-driven industries.
Last November, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to support Moscow's initiative to establish an innovation cluster.
The draft bill was approved at a recent meeting of the presidium of the Moscow Government. The document defines the basic concepts, goals and objectives of the cluster, the role of the Moscow Government in it, the legal status of the cluster's participants, and the measures to support them. A dedicated fund will be established to serve the cluster.
Moscow counts more than 20,000 innovation infrastructure entities, including 47 engineering universities, 752 R&D organizations, 34 technology parks, more than 5,000 technology-intensive companies and more than 12,000 IT firms.