The Participants of the Technoprom-2018 Forum Discuss the Possibilities of Russia's Technological Leadership.


On August 27, in the framework of the VI International Forum of Technological Development Technoprom-2018 in Novosibirsk, a strategic session “Technological Leadership of Russia in 2035: the development of new markets and "end-to-end" technologies". The participants discussed the prospects for the interaction of the industrial sector with scientific organizations, the problems of commercialisation and transfer of technologies being created.

This session was one of the two organized by RVC on the first day of the Forum. The discussion participants focused on the implementation of the National Technology Initiative, the work of the NTI Competence Centres, the stimulation of scientific and technological development in the country.

According to the experts, today, Russia is 10-15 positions behind the BRICS's neighbours in the ratings related to the interaction of business and science. The NTI Competence Centres, which have been created based on universities and research organizations since 2017, are called upon to change the situation.

“According to statistics for the last 5-6 years, Russia has improved its performance in international rankings on the effectiveness of business interaction with universities and research organizations, but still lags behind its BRICS neighbours, such as India and China. The problem of commercialisation of technology development and transfer remains significant. One of the tasks of the NTI Centres is to solve these problems,” said Nikita Utkin, the Program Manager of RVC and Chairman of the Technical Committee Cyber-Physical Systems.

NTI competence Centres should form a scientific and technology stock for the “end-to-end technologies” that will determine the development of emerging markets. For example, a consortium based at ITMO University together with large manufacturing companies is developing machine learning technologies and cognitive technologies.

According to the head of the Engineering Centre of ITMO University Alexei Alekseenko, many enterprises today are interested in modernizing the technologies used but are looking for support from the state to work with universities and introduce various innovations.

“In this case, the support was provided by Skolkovo Foundation, which acts as a sponsor of these works. First orders have begun to be placed. The purpose of the university is to use all available scientific competencies and make a basic decision on which technology to move the enterprise. There are no serious barriers for us since great knowledge has been accumulated in the field of machine learning. Now it is not about creating a new one, but about improving the mechanisms that are already working in the enterprise. It is important to focus on the international market and not lag.”

Irina Dezhina, the Head of the Scientific and Industrial Policy Group at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, spoke about the needs of business in interaction with science, including in the field of digital economics.

“Our polls showed that expectations of universities and businesses from the consortium differ. As many as 87% of companies said that they needed application development primarily. Analytical reviews and the creation of national standards are also needed. Training of personnel comes last. The main socio-economic barrier is the threat of hacker terrorist attacks through the Internet of Things. This is what everyone is afraid of. This issue has yet to be jointly resolved.”

Information security threats associated with the development of the Internet of Things should not be underestimated, said Sergey Garbuk, Deputy General Director of the Advanced Research Foundation:

“The problem is that the Internet of Things is usually quite inexpensive. At the same time, it is not possible to use traditional firewalls and other means of protection that are much more expensive than the device. Therefore, the creation of cheap, but at the same time effective means of protecting information in the practice of the Internet of Things is a difficult and still unsolved task.”

Another essential task is standardization in the field of artificial intelligence.

“This year, the first Technical Committee meeting on this issue was held in Beijing, where some Russian experts also took part. We took the initiative that the credibility of artificial intelligence systems should be based on a mechanism for comparing the functionality of artificial and natural intelligence. In this direction, we actively cooperate with two Centres of competence: MIPT and ITMO,” noted Sergey Garbuk.

The director of the department of science and education, Skolkovo Foundation, Alexander Fertman, spoke about the prospects for import substitution and competition in world markets:

“When it comes to import substitution for the security of the country, we can afford to produce single products, not very much looking at the initial price thereof. However, if we are going to compete on the open market with other world leaders, then we need to define our niche for promotion, properly position and subsidize companies entering foreign markets. China today is actively subsidizing Huawei, and the French are not shy about such methods. However, it is vital to understand that if we cannot achieve technological competitiveness, no subsidies will be effective.”

Embedding in technology chains in the civilian sectors of foreign production leaders is still tricky. Moreover, it is still too early to talk about the severe possible construction of consortia by foreign companies, says Vladimir Pastukhov, the General Director of Russian Technology Agency:

“In the significant sectors, import substitution is necessary, and it should be broadcast directly by the state. In sectors that have civil, open application, we must create products that will be in demand more widely, because the domestic market is often not enough for payback. For example, within the framework of the implementation of the May edict of the President, we can use the program for the development of non-primary exports, which lays a wide range of support tools for civilian industries.”

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