Russian Venture Company will announce new technology contests before the end of the year
The organizers will set a task for the contest participants to create a successfully working prototype device
Russian Venture Company plans to announce several new Up Great technology contests by the end of this year within the framework of the National Technological Initiative (NTI), TASS learned from Mikhail Antonov, Deputy General Director and Director for Innovation Infrastructure Development.
"We are now organizing expert communities that will start discussing broad topics first, then a little more narrow, to formulate technical tasks for the competitions. I think that the broad framework of [technical tasks] will be formulated soon enough; we are going to consider it in the summer. Specific topics will appear only after discussion with all stakeholders. We have such a task, our KPI is to announce competitions, certainly not one, but several at once, this year alone," said Antonov.
Technology competitions Up Great are competitions of breakthrough technological solutions and innovative products conducted to overcome technology barriers in priority sectors and markets of NTI, ensuring Russia's competitiveness in high-tech markets. The winner of the technology competition receives a cash prize. In Russia, in 2018, three Up Great technology competitions were announced - two of them in hydrogen energy and one in unmanned vehicles.
Antonov noted that the commercial and technology potential of using hydrogen energy remains high, and this, in particular, determined the choice of this direction for the first competitions.
"The potential of the hydrogen theme is not exhausted. I heard very serious discussions among the experts who touched upon the evidence of advantages of hydrogen fuel cells over almost all other existing technologies. According to experts, the potential of hydrogen fuel cells is very high," he explained.
Differences between technology contests from competitions for start-ups
According to a representative of RVC, to participate in the Up Great technology contest, it is not necessary to be a start-up, that is, a company that already has a small history of operating activities.
"A team can become a participant of the competition, which does not plan to further develop it as a business, but simply gathered to make a unique technical solution," Antonov said.
Another difference is the task of overcoming a technology barrier set in the contest.
"If no one from participants overcomes the technology barrier, that is, does not create a successfully working prototype device, then no one wins. If two or three overcome, then the distribution of the prize fund begins; in other words, they are compared. But in general, this competition is not for comparison, but for overcoming," explained the deputy general director of RVC.
Antonov is confident that due to the competitive nature, technological competitions will become popular in Russia in the future.
"I think that competitive format with appropriate promotion, attention and, most importantly, in case of obtaining positive results is doomed to popularity. If at least one of the technology barriers is overcome, we are simply doomed to success; we must get the most out of this. In any case, this will be a technology breakthrough of the level and format unusual for Russia," he said.
Partnership in competitions
Corporate partners of the first two competitions were Sberbank and Yandex. Antonov reported on the potential interest in the partnership for new competitions from a number of Russian and foreign companies.
"We already have a large number of Russian. Formally, there are no obstacles for the participation of foreigners as partners. We already have one international partner — the Korean Institute of Technology Development (KIAT), a very powerful organization, the state institute of innovation development with an annual budget of about $10 billion. An agreement has been signed with them, a program is being implemented to promote our competitions among Korean potential partners and participants," Antonov noted.
NTI and RVC
The National Technological Initiative is a program of measures to create fundamentally new markets and create conditions for Russia's global technology leadership. It was approved by the government of the Russian Federation in April 2016, designed for a period until 2035. The Agency for Strategic Initiatives oversees the development of road maps within the NTI and forms working teams of representatives of the state, business, researchers and developers.
RVC is a state fund of funds, the institute of development of the Russian venture industry. The main objectives of RVC: to stimulate creation of Russia's own venture capital industry and execute functions of the Project Office of the National Technology Initiative (NTI). The authorized capital of RVC is more than 30 billion roubles. As many as 100% of the capital of RVC belongs to the Russian Federation in the face of the Federal Property Management Agency.