Summary and conclusions of the RuSciTech Forum 2014 in Arizona, USA

More than seventy delegates from universities, research centrеs and technology companies from North America, Asia, Middle East, Europe and Russia took an active part in the discussion of a number of issues to promote the development of science, education and innovation in the Russian Federation.

Russian was represented by the following organisations:
– RTI Corporation
– Skolkovo Foundation
– Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skolkovo Tech)
– Open University Skolkovo (OpUS)
– Fund “New Eurasia”
– Russian universities: N.G. Chernyshevsky Saratov State University, Kazan National Research Technological University, National Research Nuclear University
“MEPhI”, Don State Technical University , D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology, National Research University “Higher School of
Economics”, Nizhny Novgorod, St Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, IT University Innopolis, Rzhanov Institute of Semiconductor Physics, etc.
– Technology parks, accelerators, small and medium innovative enterprises.

The conference was officially opened by Sergei Petrov, the Consul General of the Russian Federation for the district of San Francisco, who noted the significant role that initiatives such as this Forum have on the development of co-operation in the field of education and scientific connections between the two countries.

Presentations and discussions at the Forum demonstrated that co-operation with Russia in the field of science, education and high technology is actively developing at different levels, and that Russian-speaking professionals play a very significant role in this process. They represent a unique resource and a catalyst for collaboration at all stages: from initial negotiation to direct implementation of international projects. The Russian diaspora participating in the conference have expressed their readiness to help in developing international co-operation with partners, universities and innovative companies. It was also noted that the existing mechanisms for effective co-operation and involvement of Russian-speaking professionals need further development.

Over the two days of the conference, the participants made a number of proposals to improve the interactions and mechanisms to involve Russian-speaking specialists in projects in RF, among which are the following:

1. Technologies that provide networking and virtual communication should be employed to establish direct contacts between the Russian scientific diaspora and Russian scientific and educational institutions.  A database should be created for this purpose, containing a qualifying section, and a description of proposed expertise and projects. Specific targeted requests made from Russian participants through this Internet portal will assist to increase the involvement of the scientific and technical community abroad.

2. The establishment of working groups focused on specific projects should help to build a mutual understanding and develop realistic practical arrangements involving Russian-speaking professionals, for example, in order to attract international experts into the program of the leading Russian universities “Top 100”.

3. It was recommended to strengthen co-operation with Russian organisations at the level of the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as at the level of Russian universities. In particular, rectors from leading Russian universities should be encouraged to participate in future conferences organised by RuSciTech.

4. Publication and dissemination of information on international projects involving Russian-speaking experts, through the RuSciTech network, can become an effective tool for the exchange of experiences and creation of new collaborations. This process may also benefit through the introduction of awards and competitions, e.g.the best joint innovation or educational project, the best scientific and/or technological development, or the best joint publication.

5. It was also recommended to organise interactive sessions at future forums, for collaborative problem-solving on topical problems – with the involvement of experts from a wide range of disciplines.

In conclusion, the Forum participants expressed their willingness to continue their participation in future  Forums. In particular, it was suggested to hold the next RuSciTech Forum 2015 in Asia, at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Delegates also agreed that in order to improve the efficiency of future conferences, it would be necessary to ensure the participation of a wider range of decision-makers, such as representatives of the Russian Federation government, and organisations responsible for the formation of policy development in the planning and management of science, education, and international cooperation.

Photographs from the Forum are available here: