The School of Technology Brokering aims to teach its students to effectively establish communications between science and industry. So far, only technology brokers know the language in which representatives of universities can converse with enterprises. Such specialists possess a particular set of skills that allows them to help bridge the gap between business and those who develop innovations.

Though the School’s general purpose is to teach the fundamentals of technology brokering, each of its new sessions is different from the previous ones. This year, the participants were selected on a competitive basis and had to pay for their education, which allowed to attract the most incentivized students.

“Over the last four years, we conducted the school at the expense of Project 5-100 with support from the Russian Venture Company; in its first three years, the school’s program was comprised of just three days of lectures. Last year we introduced a three-month long practical module. Having attended the lectures, the participants were split into seven teams. Over the course of three months, each team had to work on a certain invention to prepare it for production. This year we are following the same concept (three days of lectures and three months of practice), but the school has become self-sustaining. We’ve developed a new marketing policy, prepared three “participation suites” and did active sales. Another of this year’s features is that we only work with ITMO’s projects. Anyone who wants to work on their own projects has to purchase a special participation suite - this year, only one participant did that. Others will work with the university’s inventions. Altogether, we’ve selected 15 participants this year, eight of whom will take part in the practical module,” explains Igor Kuprinenko, Head of ITMO’s Centre for Project Management and Fundraising.

Igor Kuprinenko (on the right)

As mentioned above, there are three types of participation suites available. The first one, “Student”, includes three days of unique content from the current leaders in technological brokering (30% lectures, 40% workshops, 30% cases). The “Broker” suite includes these three days plus going all the way towards brokering a deal with the School’s mentors. The “Company” offer is aimed at teams representing a particular company (the “Broker” suite for all members).

The participants’ lineup has changed, as well. This year, it includes representatives of educational establishments, research centers and business structures. Amongst the participants are also representatives of the banking sector (Vnesheconombank) and a representative of operations management of a pharmaceutical enterprise that’s been created under the bank’s aegis (the project proved successful, so now the bank and the enterprise have joined their efforts so as to apply technology brokering in the pharmaceutical field), representatives of the Youth Innovations Center of the National Research University of Electronic Technology, staff members from the Astana University, representatives of the N. I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod and the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Higher School of Economics, Volgograd State Technical University, Vice-Rector for Innovations of Samara State Technical University, as well as owners of several R&D companies.

Participants of ITMO’s School of Technology Brokering

“I have two tasks here. The first is to figure out what technology brokering is all about. The second is to bring our R&D results to the level of ready-to-use products,” explains Maksim Sherbakov, researcher at the Volgograd State Technical University.

The school’s participants have already attended lectures on the proper use of roadmaps for industrial corporations, the legal aspects of working with intellectual property, and became familiar with the fundamental concepts of technology commercialization and transfer during a lecture by Sergei Khmelevskiy, Head of the Project Office department. Evgeniy Evdokimov, Advisor to President of the T-Platforms holding, spoke about the ways to make money on advanced technologies. The school’s participants also learned about venture investments and attended several workshops. What awaits them now is the practical module.

ITMO University School of Technology Brokering

“We tried to invite people who focus on the issues of strategic and operational planning, have experience in promoting companies and can help look at innovations from a different perspective. Amongst the speakers are those who have already promoted their innovations as products or services,” comments Nikolai Bovtunov, head analyst at ITMO’s Centre for Project Management and Fundraising.