ITMO’s team traditionally participates in this forum, as participation in its expert discussions allows to demonstrate how the university transforms into a 3.0 University on all levels while creating an infrastructure for entrepreneurship, project-based education and training personnel which is highly sought-after and is ready to face the challenges of the future.

This time, the forum was on creating an innovative infrastructure in the regions as an ecosystem for elaborating and developing new markets within the framework of the National Technology Initiative. According to the forum's participants, such markets will become drivers of Russia's economic development in the nearest 15−20 years.

The "Innovations Ecosystem" forum's main task is to cover the key topics that influence the development of Russia's innovative ecosystem. During the event, results for the past year are presented, and new activity vectors are announced for the next.

"Meeting at the forum, reviewing the last year and planning the next one right before the New Year is a great tradition", sharesEvgenyKuznetsov, acting CEO of the Russian Venture Company. "As of now, universities are seen more as regional integrators of important processes than just educational establishments. During the last years, the role of universities worldwide has transformed considerably, and they are now becoming key business players and market generators. Russian universities will have to make a lot of effort to integrate into this new reality".

Innovations Ecosystems Forum Credit: social networks

ArtemShadrin, Head of the Innovative Development Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia pinpointed the main priorities for innovative development in universities for the nearest future. Those are creating a system of business accelerators and innovative ecosystems, transforming corporations to being more open and developing Open Innovations mechanisms. Also, universities are to become the drivers and centers for training competencies within the framework of the National Technology Initiative, and bring their startups to an international level.

"A university is an open structure that actively interacts with its environment, and has a great influence on the region’s development. By no means it shall isolate itself from the society and exist solely for the students and staff", believesVladimir Vasilyev, ITMO University Rector.

ITMO's business incubator getting the award as best in Russia has become yet another confirmation of its recent policy being successful. According to Nina Yanikina, head of the Project and Innovative Activities Department, the university's recent programs on women leadership and entrepreneurship stirred the interest of many of the forum’s participants, and may well become another highly sought product offered by ITMO.

"This year, the forum has proved its status as one of the best communication platforms for discussing issues of Russia's innovative ecosystem. This was due to several factors: the time and place of the Forum, RVC's ideas on its key topics and the talent of its organizers. It was really productive — both during the formal events and in informal setting, as well", shares Nina Yanikina.

Innovations Ecosystems Forum Credit: social networks

"As for me, the "Innovations Ecosystem" forum is mostly about interaction of universities and STI, as well as choosing our university's future strategy", shares Oleg Malsagov, Rector's Advisor for Development. "Also, we had an opportunity to negotiate with potential partners. This forum was most efficient for those who do not want to stay idle, but aim to actively develop innovations in Russia."