Vladimir Vasilyev, ITMO University rector, gave an opening speech at the beginning of the Forum. Mr. Vasilyev noted that business, government and universities should solve lots of problems before to succeed in sustainable collaboration.

“The 10th anniversary forum will be the last one. We have already understood how to organize high-tech entrepreneurship and commercialize the results of intellectual discoveries as well as how to establish ties between universities, officials and business area. Unfortunately we haven`t built this collaboration system yet because programs offered by the government for development of companies and regions look like imitation of innovative activities. Furthermore these programs are not taken into account while making business plans…” said the rector.

Speaking of positive aspects Vladimir Vasilyev appreciated support programs initiated by the Russian government for developing innovations. The rector mentioned the 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project`s activities and other tools focusing on university-based research projects included in the program of the National Technology Initiative.

One of roundtable meetings at the first day was dedicated to results of the cooperation between universities and industry achieved in the past decade. The participants found several problems that prevent these areas from successful collaboration.

Firstly, universities should put more efforts to find business partners. Andrey Bezrukov, director for strategic marketing of GS Group, in his speech talked about experience gained by his organization. According to Mr. Bezrukov, to find academic partners for development of innovative technological cluster, GS Groups spent a lot of time to make contacts with universities and research centers. The experts aimed to launch joint R&D activities and projects for preparing young specialists. Currently Technopolis GS includes industry sector for development microelectronic devices, satellite antennas, nanocarbon materials as well as university cluster, which was organized for educational purposes.

“We faced the problem of the lack of enterprise`s employees and researchers. First of all we developed in alliance with universities special training programs for students who could choose research and work experience internships. Then the company hired the most talented specialists. Furthermore we involve Bachelor`s and Master`s students in R&D activities,” said Andrey Bezrukov.

Secondly universities may organize specific departments that will take into account requirements of the industry, make plans for the further collaboration and coordinate joint projects. The National University of Science and Technology MISiS has already initiated such facility under the guidance of 5-100 Project.

During the plenary session, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Investments and Trade of Samara Region, Dmitry Gorbunov talked about the role of the government regarding the interaction between academics and industry representatives. He explained further, that based on ITMO University and RUSNANO’s experience in 2014, there were around two hundred events about increasing innovation activity within the region. A database of research projects in the region was also made, and a full review was performed, which was necessary because the companies didn’t know what the scientists do.

However, Dmitry Gorbunov said that in the long term the role of the state in regulating innovation development should be kept to a minimum.

Also during the plenary session and the first round table discussions at the forum, experts talked about the possibilities using case studies from companies in the Solution Lab project, which ITMO University and Peter the Great Polytechnic University and XMAS Ventures are implementing in St. Petersburg, to help develop student’s professional competences. The representative of EMC corporation in St. Petersburg shared experience of joint innovation projects in collaboration with ITMO University.

The second day of the forum will be devoted to a discussion of the factors of growth of innovative industries. There will be a panel discussion about the prospects of investment in science, after which will be a pitch session from ITMO University startups. On the third day, the experts will hold round table discussions regarding changes that need to be made in universities for the formation of innovation ecosystems in various regions.