The FASIE-sponsored UMNIK grant competition was first launched in 2007 to promote commercially-oriented research and engineering projects by young academics. Winners receive a one-year grant of 500,000 rubles that can be used for research and further development of projects. 

All winners are obliged to create a business plan upon completion of a preaccelerator, i.e. a specialized course that prepares startups for entering the market.

Preaccelerator programs are only offered by FASIE-accredited organizations. Institutions must apply for and win the annual contest to be accredited. The accreditation status is valid for one year, after which it can be renewed for another year. In 2023, FASIE received applications from 26 institutions, six of which, including ITMO, were awarded the authority to conduct preaccelerator programs for UMNIK contestants. 

ITMO University is now able to issue certificates of achievement according to FASIE standards. 

“The fact that we earned an accreditation means that our competencies, as well as our programs, are recognized. Grant holders who undergo a preaccelerator are more likely to succeed thanks to cooperation with experienced entrepreneurs,” says Alexey Solomatin, the head of ITMO Accelerator. 

Alexey Solomatin. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

Alexey Solomatin. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

ITMO Preaccelerator is open to all UMNIK winners between the ages of 18 and 30 who have Russian citizenship and have never won the competition previously. The program lasts for eight weeks and costs 14,500 rubles. Throughout their training, students learn to analyze market trends and competitors, identify customer needs, understand the economy of startups, manage teams, and attract funding. 

For ITMO Preaccelerator, contestants can submit projects in the following categories: Digital Technologies; Medicine and Health Protection Technologies; New Materials and Chemical Technologies; New Devices and Intelligent Production Technologies; Biotechnologies; and Energy-Saving Technologies.