ITMO Highpark is a science, education and industry-focused cluster, the construction of which was officially announced on October 17 by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A corresponding order was published on the website of the Russian government. The campus will include educational buildings, innovative production plants, and a business incubator: all in all, the floor space will amount to approximately 400,000 square meters. Among plans for this territory is the creation of 50 international laboratories and at least five innovative production plants.

As ITMO’s Rector Vladimir Vasilyev emphasized, the campus, located in the satellite-city Yuzhny, is intended for Master’s, PhD and postdoc students. As per the plans, the infrastructure will provide the conditions for work and studies of 3,600 students and nearly 3,000 employees. At the same time, the university’s numerous buildings in St. Petersburg will not be abandoned – Bachelor’s students will continue to study there; this is also where fundamental research will be conducted.

ITMO Highpark will take up approximately 100 hectares of the territory chosen for the construction of the Yuzhny satellite-city in the Pushkinsky district of St. Petersburg. Highpark’s work will deal with such areas of science as information technology, photonics and quantum technology, robotics and cyber-physical systems, biomedical technologies and smart materials.

The first session of ITMO Highpark's Board of Directors

The project is overseen by the company called ITMO Highpark; 100% of its shares are owned by the Russian government. The company’s charter capital amounts to 321 million rubles, all coming from the federal budget.

ITMO Highpark’s Board of Directors includes: Georgy Poltavchenko, the governor of St. Petersburg; Vladimir Vasilyev, Rector of ITMO University; Alexei Pavlov, head of Department of Industry Organizations and Foreign Property at the Federal Agency for State Property Management; Dmitry Kryukov, advisor to the Minister of Communications and Mass Media; and Zakhar Smushkin, chairman at development company START Development.

The first session of ITMO Highpark’s Board of Directors took place on December 20 at ITMO University. Also present at the session was Nikolay Nikiforov, the Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media.

“The company ITMO Highpark was created as part of a directive of the Russian government for the construction of a satellite-city within the city limits of St. Petersburg. This project will be implemented using the resources of ITMO University, well known in Russia and the world alike. It trains some of the world’s best programmers, which is evident from the results of international competitions,” – said the Minister, - “we see this project as the creation of a self-sufficient ecosystem based on the principle “live-study-work-enjoy”. It is no coincidence that yesterday, while speaking at a forum of the All-Russia People’s Front, President Vladimir Putin outlined such key goals as, on the one hand, ensuring the people’s welfare and, on the other, developing a new economy. I believe that projects such as ITMO Highpark are exactly what we need to fulfill these goals and create an environment in which our young specialists can live and work”.

Nikolay Nikiforov and Georgy Poltavchenko

As per the decision of the Board’s members, the governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko was chosen to serve as its chairman. When commenting on the matter, he noted that the project is unique not just for St. Petersburg, but for the entire country. It is also important in terms of solving a number of issues related to city planning, housing and utilities.

“This is a project that will remain under strict control of the city’s administration; we see it as a growth driver for St. Petersburg’s economy and part of the Strategy-2030 project. For us, this is a unique opportunity to bring together science, education and innovative production all in one place;” – commented Poltavchenko – “we also see it as a project that will contribute to the development of new technologies for city planning, housing and utilities, which will help solve a number of issues that the city of St. Petersburg faces today”.

Approximately 4.5 billion rubles will be provided from the city’s budget for the period of the project’s execution (2018 to 2028). These funds will go towards the creation of a transportation and engineering infrastructure. Georgy Poltavchenko also noted that it is expected that the campus’s territory will be outlined and surveyed throughout 2018. International experts will be involved in the project. It is planned that initial construction will begin no later than March of 2019.

Nikolay Nikiforov, the Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media, added that 321 million rubles have already been allocated from the federal budget and will soon be transferred to the ITMO Highpark company’s account. The three-year budget of the project will amount to no less than 3 billion rubles. However, the further fate of the project and plans for its development will depend on the preparatory events, which will start in 2018, he adds.

Aside from budget-sourced funds, which will go towards creating the basic infrastructure, the project will also benefit from private investments. According to the Minister, the project may be granted the status of a “priority development area”, which comes with additional tax exemptions. The total amount of investments into ITMO Highpark is expected to be around 41 billion rubles.

Rector Vladimir Vasilyev

ITMO’s Rector Vladimir Vasilyev said that a number of potential investors have already expressed their interest in becoming a part of the campus. He emphasized that, because of the cluster’s mission and conditions, the companies that would be welcomed there most are ones that deal with IT and cyber-physical research, and which are prepared to take part in the educational process and conduct their business on the international market.