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    Nature.com (blog) / November 02, 2010
    Russia awards "megagrants"
    • Alla Katsnelson (posted by Mark Peplow)
    Вместо предполагаемых 80 Андрей Фурсенко объявил всего 40 победителей конкурса "мегагрантов" (российские вузы получат по 150 миллионов рублей на три года на привлечение ведущих учёных). Остальные 40 проектов отберут в ходе второй волны следующей весной.

The Russian Federation has announced the names of 40 scientists chosen to receive so-called 'megagrants' worth US$4.9 million each. The government plans to issue a second funding round by the end of this year, with the aim of selecting another 40 recipients in spring 2011.
The money, part of a scheme launched in April to build up government-supported science, is to be used to establish research projects with strong basic science foundations and a practical bent (see this Nature editorial for more). Researchers living abroad were also eligible for the award, as long as they agreed to spend four months out of the year pursuing their work in a Russian lab.
Winners of the first round included Ferid Murad of the University of Texas in Houston, a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, and Stanislav Smirnov, a mathematician at the University of Geneva who received the Fields Medal this year.

© 2010 Nature Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.
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    Nature / 1 November 2010
    Curtain falls on collaborative work
    End of the line for international funding agency that brought former Soviet weapons scientists in from the cold
    • Geoff Brumfiel
    11 августа вышел президентский указ о выходе России из соглашений по Международному научно-техническому центру и прекращении деятельности МНТЦ в России.
    Основанный в 1992 г. Международный научно-технический центр (МНТЦ) - межправительственная организация, налаживающая деловые связи между учеными из России, Грузии и других стран Содружества Независимых Государств (СНГ) с их коллегами из исследовательских организаций в Канаде, ЕС, Японии, Республики Корея, Норвегии и США.
    Статья в журнале Nature - о причинах и возможных последствиях этого шага для международного научного сотрудничества.

An international organization established to foster collaborations between Western researchers and weapons scientists of the former Soviet Union is set to close, Nature has learned. The Moscow-based International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is now discussing its plans with the Russian government, which is increasingly irritated by the foreign handouts that the centre channels to the nation's weapons researchers. But some experts worry that the move - just months after President Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would withdraw its participation in the centre - will also sever a link between the country's weapons scientists and the rest of the world.
The centre was set up in 1992, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a dark time for thousands of scientists who had worked in the sprawling Soviet weapons complex, recalls James Toevs, an independent consultant and former US nuclear-weapons researcher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Shops were empty, and scientists went for months without pay. Toevs, who worked in Russia in the early 1990s, met nuclear-weapons designers who were forced to grow vegetables and do menial labour, such as repainting the local football stadium, to survive.
The United States, Japan, the European Union and the Russian Federation agreed to establish the ISTC to help alleviate the harsh conditions that scientists faced - and prevent weapons experts from taking their potentially dangerous knowledge elsewhere.
The centre organized international meetings and disbursed generous grants to weapons designers who were willing to collaborate with counterparts in other countries. By the end of the 1990s, former Soviet satellite states were also benefiting - they, like Russia, did not have to pay into the scheme. From 1994 to 2009, the ISTC gathered more international partners and spent about US$837 million on projects and meetings involving some 73,000 scientists (see "Welfare for weapons researchers").
Not everyone was a fan of the programmes. "Some good science was done, but in the grand scheme of things it was ineffective," says Konstantin Severinov, a Russian-born virologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, who worked on ISTC grants in Russia and in the former Soviet state of Georgia. Weapons scientists often performed low-quality research, and Severinov says that he saw cases in which extra scientists were added to projects unnecessarily to secure additional funding.
Adriaan van der Meer, ISTC executive director, concedes that in the early years, "we were probably more of a social programme than a research programme". But as time went on, the centre raised its scientific standards and even tried to help commercialize the work of researchers it supported. It also helped them find their way in the wider scientific world. "We got an opportunity to participate in international symposiums and to see how foreign scientists arranged their work," says Oleg Nagornov, a mathematician at the National Research Nuclear University in Moscow. Nagornov says that ISTC collaborations helped him to publish his first articles in Western journals, and he has maintained professional ties with some of the researchers he met.
As Russia's economy boomed in the past decade, the government began to reinvest in its weapons complex. It also became increasingly resentful of the centre's role as a foreign funder of research within its labs, according to multiple sources familiar with the organization. Russia's irritation led the European Union to stop funding new ISTC grants on Russian soil this year. Meanwhile, the United States has begun to shift its non-proliferation funding towards hot spots in Asia and the Middle East - regions where the threat seems more imminent.
The ISTC plans to shut down its programmes gradually over the next three or four years. But van de Meer hopes that it can be replaced with a new organization in which Russia is an equal partner. There is still a need for collaborative work on non-proliferation science, and a new generation of researchers must be engaged so that they're fully aware of the potential pitfalls of their dual-use knowledge, he says.
Andreas Persbo, the executive director of the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre, a London-based arms-control organization, agrees that a line of dialogue between Russian weapons scientists and the West is vital. He fears that "without the ISTC, that will gently decline". 

© 2010 Nature Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.
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    Russia Beyond the Headlines / October, 25 2010
    British firm provides vision for the future
    • Pavel Pushkin
    Британская компания Event Communications (одно из ведущих европейских музейных агентств) выиграла конкурс на разработку концепции обновления Политехнического музея в Москве. Конкурс был объявлен в июле 2010 года и стал первым этапом масштабного проекта модернизации Политехнического музея. Модернизацию планируется завершить к 2016 году, на этот срок выделено 7,5 млрд рублей.

A London design group is to help refurbish one of the cultural landmarks of the Russian capital in a multibillion-rouble project.
Opened in the 1870s, the Moscow Polytechnic Museum was once the most forward-thinking science and technology museum in the world. However, through decades of neglect, what was once an establishment way ahead of its time has fallen behind the times. While other major museums around the world have invested in new ways to pull in the crowds, the Polytechnic has become an anachronism, a dusty old relic of a bygone era.
Now, with the benefit of a 7.5bn-rouble renovation plan initiated by president Dmitry Medvedev, the venerable institution is about to receive a total makeover, covering everything from the fabric of the building to the overall visitor experience.
If all goes well, the rejuvenated Polytechnic should be ready by 2016.
At the forefront of the drive to return the museum to its position of pre-eminence is Event Communications. The London-based exhibition design group, recently emerged as the winner of a global competition - launched in July of this year - to select a concept development provider for the new museum.
Beating off a strong international challenge - the shortlist included Spain's CosmoCaixa, Ralph Appelbaum Associates (US) and the US-Canadian Lord Cultural Resources - Event's proposals were judged to best reflect the ambitions held for the renewed museum. The judging panel, which numbered among others culture minister Alexander Avdeev and presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich, were impressed with the team's experience of masterminding the successful delivery of more than 160 major global projects.
The immediate task at hand is to redisplay the museum's important and comprehensive collections (912,000 individual exhibits at the last count), making it central to the promotion of innovation in Russia. Alongside the scientific breakthroughs of the past, the museum will also develop new collections dedicated to current endeavours, as well as offering tantalising glimpses of the shape of things to come.
Many of the displays will be interactive, employing Event's trademark blend of multimedia technologies to enhance the visitor experience, while the all-important educational dimension will be reinforced by a programme of lectures and workshops held within the renovated space. "The project represents nothing less than the rebirth of an iconic institution and we are delighted to be able to assist with such an important cultural advance," says Event Communications chairman Celestine Phelan.
"The collections at the Polytechnic demonstrate the significance of the extraordinary achievements of Russian science and technology. Its renewal is an investment in the future of these vital areas of Russian society."

* * *
    Voice of Russia / Oct 31, 2010
    Saving the Black Sea
    Четыре года назад Россия, Болгария, Румыния, Турция, Грузия и Украина заключили соглашение по восстановлению и защите Черного моря, экология которого находилась в критическом состоянии. Катастрофу удалось предотвратить, но проблемы остались.

Four years ago environment ministers from the six coastal countries - Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine - signed a Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea.
"The Black Sea is slowly being killed by rivers bringing in huge amounts of water polluted by heavy metals and oil". This is the unnerving conclusion made by experts only five years ago, but, happily, their grim forecast seems to have failed to come true. The Black Sea has survived, even though the state of its ecosystem still gives us reason to be worried.
Mikhail Perelogov with the Russian Institute of Fisheries and Oceans Study in Moscow says that from a state of degradation only a few years back, marine life in the Black Sea has recently been showing signs of getting better.
The number of fish species whose names had long been forgotten by scientists, let alone fishermen, is going up, Mikhail says. The average yearly catch is now between 300,000 to 400,000 tons and the level of pollution is going down, all this because the littoral states have dramatically slashed discharges into the Danube, Don and Dnieper rivers, which all empty their waters into the Black Sea.
The problem is still far from being solved though because the rapid growth of tourism has resulted in a steep spike in the number of seaside hotels, few of which have water purification facilities meeting stringent international standards. And still, the biggest problem is posed by trawlers. Mikhail Perelogiov again.
The problem is they are trawling exactly at the depths where deepwater mollusks live filtering polluted water.There were about 50 million tons of such living filters to be found here only half a century ago, but their population has dwindled very seriously ever since. Meaning that we need a complete ban of trawling in the coastal areas.
Today the strong effort bent by the littoral states coastal seems to have averted a global environmental disaster, but there is still a lot of work lying ahead, above all a single development concept for the Black Sea, which has yet to be agreed, Mikhail Perelogov said in conclusion.

© 2005-2010 Voice of Russia.
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    Confédération suisse / 01.11.2010
    Renforcement des relations scientifiques russo-suisses: voyage en Russie du secrétaire d'Etat à l'éducation et à la recherche Mauro Dell'Ambrogio
    1 ноября в Новосибирск прибыла научная делегация Швейцарской Конфедерации во главе с госсекретарем по образованию и научным исследованиям Мауро Дель'Амброгио. Цель визита - укрепить старые и наладить новые научные связи между Россией и Швейцарией. В частности, в Академгородке было подписано соглашение между НГУ и Федеральной политехнической школой Лозанны.

Berne, 01.11.2010 - Du 1er au 4 novembre, le secrétaire d'Etat Mauro Dell'Ambrogio est en voyage en Russie en compagnie d'une délégation scientifique suisse. Ce voyage vise à resserrer les liens existants et à en créer de nouveaux entre la Suisse et la Russie scientifiques. Au programme figurent un entretien avec le ministre russe de l'éducation et des sciences Andreï Aleksandrovich Fursenko et des rencontres avec d'autres personnalités de haut rang. A cette occasion, l'EPFL signera un accord de coopération interinstitutionnelle avec l'Université d'Etat de Novossibirsk.
Il s'agit du premier voyage officiel en Russie du secrétaire d'Etat Mauro Dell'Ambrogio. Il comprend deux étapes, la première à Novossibirsk, l'un des principaux centres industriels et scientifiques de Russie, la deuxième à Moscou. Dans la capitale russe, le secrétaire d'Etat rencontrera le ministre russe de l'éducation et des sciences Andreï Fursenko.
Cette rencontre permettra de confirmer la volonté politique des deux pays de renforcer leur coopération en matière de recherche et de discuter des prochaines étapes en vue de la conclusion d'un accord de coopération scientifique et technologique.
Des entretiens avec des personnalités éminentes des domaines de la science et de la technologie et la visite d'institutions de recherche de pointe sont également au menu. A Novossibirsk, la délégation suisse sera reçue par Viktor Aleksandrovich Tolokonskiy, le représentant plénipotentiaire du Président de la Fédération de Russie dans le district fédéral de Sibérie. Elle rencontrera aussi le gouverneur de la région de Novossibirsk Vassili Alekseïevich Iourtchenko. Dans la cité scientifique d'Akademgorodok, la délégation rencontrera des représentants de la Branche sibérienne de l'Académie russe des sciences. En présence de Mauro Dell'Ambrogio et de Vassili Iourtchenko, l'Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, représentée par son vice-président pour les relations extérieures, le professeur Martin Vetterli, signera un accord interinstitutionnel avec l'Université d'Etat de Novossibirsk.
A Novossibirsk et à Akademgorodok, la délégation suisse visitera l'Institut de biologie chimie et de médecine fondamentale et le Centre des nouvelles technologies médicales. A Moscou, elle visitera ensuite l'Institut Kurchatov, un institut de recherche russe de pointe dans le domaine de l'énergie et des nanotechnologies, ainsi que l'Université d'Etat Lomonosov de Moscou et l'Université technique d'Etat de Moscou-Bauman.
La Russie fait partie des huit pays extra-européens que le Conseil fédéral a définis comme prioritaires dans le message relatif à l'encouragement de la formation, de la recherche et de l'innovation pendant les années 2008 à 2011 et avec lesquels la Suisse a décidé d'étendre et d'approfondir de façon ciblée ses relations bilatérales scientifiques. Bien que les deux pays n'aient pas encore signé d'accord de coopération, dont les grandes lignes ont été convenues, les instruments prévus au titre de la coopération bilatérale sont déjà mis en œuvre. Ainsi, 24 projets de recherche communs sont en cours. De même, 64 requêtes portant sur l'utilisation conjointe d'infrastructures et sur l'échange de chercheurs et d'étudiants ont été approuvées.

* * *
    Maxisciences / le 02 novembre 2010
    La Station spatiale internationale a 10 ans
    10 лет назад на Международную космическую станцию прибыл экипаж первой экспедиции, состоящий из двух русских и одного американца.

Il y a 10 ans jour pour jour, la toute première équipe de scientifiques arrive sur la Station spatiale internationale (ISS). Ils décollent de la base de Baïkonour au Kazakhstan le 31 octobre 2000. Depuis, chercheurs et ingénieurs vivent et travaillent sur l'ISS 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, 365 jours par an.
Le commandant Bill Shepherd et les ingénieurs Sergei Krikalev et Yuri Gidzenko sont les premiers de l'histoire à avoir rejoint la Station spatiale internationale.
Avant de quitter la Terre il y a 10 ans, cette équipe de "l'Expedition 1" expliquait que la station lui "donnait un accès unique à l'environnement spatial", où la recherche serait "très intéressante et productive". A ce moment-là, cela signifiait qu'ils seraient amenés à développer toute la technologie nécessaire pour permettre aux hommes de visiter d'autres endroits que notre planète.
En incluant ses énormes faisceaux solaires présents de chaque côté, la station spatiale est plus large qu'un terrain de football américain. A l'intérieur, où ses résidents vivent, travaillent et parfois jouent, la surface est aussi grande qu'une maison composée de cinq chambres et deux salles de bain, avec un gymnase personnel et une fenêtre en saillie de 360° pour observer le monde.
Avec plus de 600 expériences réalisées sur l'ISS, ce laboratoire en orbite fournit depuis 10 ans un accès continu aux chercheurs et ingénieurs qui souhaitent ajuster leurs recherches dans cet environnement à gravité quasi nulle.
La station spatiale sert à faire des tests pour les futures technologies et la recherche médicale, entre autre.
Elle a vu le jour grâce à une coopération internationale qui inclut la NASA, la station spatiale fédérale de Russie, l'agence spatiale canadienne, l'agence japonaise et onze membres de l'agence spatiale européenne (Belgique, Danemark, France, Allemagne, Italie, Pays-Bas, Norvège, Espagne, Suède, Suisse et Royaume-Uni).
En mai 2009, une équipe de six personnes a embarqué pour la première fois, pour "l'Expedition 20". C'était aussi la première fois qu'au moins une personne de chaque agence spatiale était à bord en même temps.

© Maxisciences.com.
* * *
    Nanowerk LLC / Nov 2nd, 2010
    RUSNANO to Invest in Development and Production of Fiber Lasers and Telecommunications Equipment in Russia
    Государственная корпорация нанотехнологий намерена инвестировать в развитие отечественного производства волоконных лазеров и телекоммуникационного оборудования. "Роснано" приобретает у международной группы IPG Photonics до 25,01% долей НТО "ИРЭ-Полюс" за 50 млн долл. Основанная российскими учеными, IPG Photonics Corp. является мировым лидером в области волоконных лазеров, приборов и систем на их основе. НТО "ИРЭ-Полюс", с которой и началось создание корпорации, - одна из трёх базовых производственных площадок IPG Photonics.

(Nanowerk News) The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies has agreed to invest in expansion of Russian production of advanced fiber lasers for cutting, welding, deposition, and engraving of metal items and high-technology telecommunications equipment for long-distance trunk communication at a subsidiary of U.S.-based IPG Photonics Corporation. Under the agreement, RUSNANO will acquire an interest of up to 25.01 percent for $50 million in the science and technology group IRE-Polus. Initially, RUSNANO will purchase a 12.5 percent interest for $25 million. Investments by RUSNANO will be devoted to expanding the production capacity of IRE-Polus in Fryazino, Moscow District, as well as developing sales channels of the company and new production technology. IPG Photonics plans to expand its manufacturing operations and broaden it research capabilities in Russia.
The history of US company IPG Photonics Corporation began 20 years ago in Russia, with the establishment of IRE-Polus. In the annals of Russian high-tech, the creation of this research-manufacturing company of global standing is unique. Founded by Russian scientists, over the last five years, IPG Photonics Corporation has become the world leader in high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers and systems based on them. The company is listed on NASDAQ.
IRE-Polus is one of three manufacturing bases for IPG Photonics Corporation; the other two are in Germany and the United States. The president of IPG Photonics Corporation is its founder, CEO of IRE-Polus, Dr. Valentin Gapontsev.
Fiber lasers (see description below), which offer a broad range of power (from 5-watts to 50 kilowatts) are gradually replacing gas and many solid-state lasers. At the heart of innovations by Dr. Gapontsev and his colleagues is a diode pump and nano-structured fiber that make it possible to reach high output power, gain an efficiency factor of up to 30 percent in commercial production, and reduce cost of ownership up to 50 percent. These characteristics significantly outstrip those achieved with solid-state and gas lasers.
"This is RUSNANO's first partnership with a US listed company. The technology used in the project is a great breakthrough. Its power, compactness, and low cost of ownership open doors to more and more new applications for fiber lasers. Already they can be used in solar batteries, medicine and electronics. Domestic production of laser complexes based on these innovations will enable Russia to re-fit strategic sectors - telecommunications, mechanical engineering, medicine with the latest equipment and instruments," observed RUSNANO Managing Director Konstantin Demetriou.
IRE-Polus is expected to earn most of its income under the project from sales of high-power fiber amplifiers and lasers with broad application and from telecommunications equipment. The company will manufacture communications systems that use proprietary fiber optic technology: 40-Gbps DWDM-transponders, reconfigurable optical multiplexers, optical amplifiers, multiport 10-Gbps multiplexer/transponders, and other communications equipment.
IRE-Polus develops and manufactures highly effective fiber lasers and amplifiers, optical components, modules, instruments, subsystems, and systems for fiber, atmospheric, and free-space optical communication; cable television; optical radar; remote control of industrial objects and atmospheres; industrial complexes for laser welding, tempering, thermal processing, and marking; control and measurement systems; sensors; scientific research; surgery; and biomedicine. IRE-Polus is a subsidiary of international group IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in development and manufacture of unique fiber lasers and amplifiers for a wide variety of applications. IPG Photonics holds numerous United States and international patents.

© 2010, Nanowerk. All Rights Reserved.
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    Voice of Russia / Nov 2, 2010
    Russia's Yaroslav Sergeyev wins Pythagoras Prize
    • Elena Kovachich
    Профессор Нижегородского государственного университета им. Н.И.Лобачевского Ярослав Сергеев стал лауреатом престижной международной премии Пифагора по математике. Премия присуждена за работы в двух направлениях: параллельные и последовательные методы решения задач глобальной оптимизации, а также за разработку новой арифметики, которая позволяет выполнять вычисления с бесконечно большими и бесконечно малыми величинами.

Russian mathematician Yaroslav Sergeyev has been honored with the International Pythagoras Prize. The official award ceremony will be held on November 5th in the Italian city of Crotone, where the renowned "Pythagorean School" was established over two and a half thousand years ago.
This prestigious prize recognizes outstanding achievements such as proving Fermat's Last Theorem, which Princeton University Professor Andrew Wiles is most famous for. Yaroslav Sergeyev got the award for his studies of infinitesimal quantities.
Mathematical infinity is a problem that has been evoking the interest of scientists for many centuries. One of the major roles in forming the present-day concept of infinity belongs to Georg Cantor, who showed that there are different orders of infinity and sought to distinguish between "countably infinite" and "uncountably infinite" sets. But only research by Yaroslav Sergeyev made it possible for mathematicians to operate on infinite and infinitesimal numbers.
"In my theory, I supposed that infinity-related issues are linked not to its substance, but to our language's weakness for expressing infinite numbers," Yaroslav Sergeyev told our correspondent.
Starting from this idea, I introduced a sort of a new mathematical language that allows writing down various infinite and infinitesimal numbers. Using these numbers, we can carry out ordinary calculations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - and thus evaluate infinity.
Apart from all theoretical calculations, the Russian mathematician developed and patented the design of a computer, capable of conducting operations based on his new method. The memory storage device was patented in Russia, Europe and the United States, Sergeyev said.
This brand new instrument for creating new mathematical models and making exact calculations will be useful in any area that requires high calculation accuracy. This language will both simplify and enhance the mathematical analysis all of us have learned at school.
Yaroslav Sergeyev, 47, a graduate of the Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod and Professor at the University of Calabria, Italy, has won numerous Russian and international awards and written over 180 scientific research papers. His works concerning infinity studies were recognized worldwide, as testified to by the Pythagoras Prize, says his colleague, Vice-Chancellor of the Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod Vladimir Grishagin.
He introduced a new paradigm of infinity, designed to develop and generalize the classical concept, at the same time removing a number of paradoxes that resulted from the classical perception of infinity. Earlier indivisible, it has now become countable and measurable, Grishagin said.
According to his Russian colleagues, Yaroslav Sergeyev is by no means a bookworm - he is fond of sports, painting and cinema. "Scientists of his level are sometimes considered to be ahead of their time, but I believe he is a man who pushes time forward," Vladimir Grishagin said in conclusion. 

© 2005-2010 Voice of Russia.
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    Colorado State University News / Monday, November 01, 2010
    Colorado State University, Saratov State University in Russia Join Forces to Take Laboratory Innovation to the Marketplace
    Несколько месяцев назад между Саратовским государственным университетом и Университетом штата Колорадо был подписан меморандум о сотрудничестве. На 5 ноября запланирован визит российской стороны с целью изучения опыта Колорадского университета в коммерциализации научных разработок.

FORT COLLINS - Economic development and technology transfer experts from Saratov State University in Russia are visiting their Colorado State University counterparts for several weeks to learn the U.S. approach to commercializing laboratory inventions.
The partnership could someday lead to joint ownership of technology between the United States and Russia.
The Office of the Vice President for Engagement and the Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF, are hosting the Russian visitors through Friday, Nov. 5. CSURF aids the university with intellectual property patenting and licensing management, real estate and financing of equipment.
The two universities established a formal strategic partnership a year ago, which includes a Saratov State representation office at Colorado State University. Saratov State University is one of 27 Russian universities designated as a National Research University. The partnership with Colorado State is the only such bilateral university relationship that is recognized by the Russian Federation. The partnership seeks to establish long-term institutional research, teaching, and extension relationships that include joint research and commercialization of intellectual property.
"This relationship protects their intellectual property as they venture into what is relatively new territory," said Lou Swanson, vice president for Engagement at Colorado State. "We're working with their intellectual property managers so that our two systems are compatible in jointly commercializing intellectual property. This is a truly new partnership innovation between a Russian university and an American university."
Support for Russian university researchers disappeared with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990, said Boris Rakitin, vice rector in International Affairs at Saratov State University, who serves as second-in-command at his university. Now, like their U.S. university counterparts, university administrators seek technology transfer opportunities as an additional source of revenue.
Russia passed a law allowing universities to commercialize technology in 2009.
Previously, "the owner of all intellectual property was the state - it was forbidden for universities to do any commercialization of intellectual property," Rakitin said. "It was a hard time for Russia over the 20 years since (the breakup of the Soviet Union) and there was not such a demand. Under Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev, they say we should go this direction: The universities should have additional money for researchers other than what the state has to give them."
Saratov State University has promising technologies including artificial skin that heals severe burns - now in clinical trials in Russia - and such clean energy advancements as slower, more efficient wind turbines and a chemical catalyst that eliminates engine and stove emissions, Rakitin said.
Other members of the Russian delegation visiting Colorado State:

  • Maria V. Storozhenko, director, Office for International Programs
  • Liana E. Gritsak, Vice director of Department for Commercialization
  • Olga Y. Chelnokova, associate professor, Department of Economic Theory and Economics
  • Natalia V. Romanova, director of Center for Patent Services
  • Maria K. Trofimova, assistant, Office of the Rector
    Assisting with the collaboration is Alex Kuraev-Maxah, partnership coordinator for the Vice President of Engagement at Colorado State.
    "We're sharing with them our education and experiences we've had in technology transfer that may help give them an edge as they test the waters for commercialization of technologies globally," said Mark Wdowik, president and CEO of CSU Management Corp. and executive fund director for CSU Fund I, a private equity investment fund to help advance early-stage companies associated with CSU.
    "We're working to establish research-and-development partnerships so our researchers can work directly with their researchers in key critical core areas such as agricultural sciences and animal health," said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at CSU. "Saratov State University's goals are very similar to our land-grant mission of education, research and engagement with an eye toward sharing technological innovations with the public."
    The partnership means Saratov researchers could work with Colorado State to commercialize their innovations and those created jointly through CSURF's Technology Transfer Office, Wdowik said. CSU will also assist Saratov State to shore up its own internal commercialization capabilities.
    "We have a lot to learn from them as well," Wdowik said. "They've got improved access to Europe and Asia, for example. Together, we should be able to leverage this partnership to have larger reach than what we each might be able to do on our own."
    As a result of the partnership forged a year ago, Saratov State is in discussions with CSU regarding digitization of rare archival German-Russian documents. CSU already maintains the Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia collection, which contains original documents and oral histories from the hundreds of German-Russians who emigrated from Saratov and surrounding Russian provinces to become Colorado's sugar beet and wheat farmers in the 1800s.
    In September 2008, the Colorado State University Faculty Council approved creation of an International Center for German-Russian studies as a partner for the Saratov State University Center. The CSU center has an international board, including historians from both universities.
    The Saratov delegates have said they would discuss possibilities for a virtual research park to promote collaborations between CSU and Saratov scientists working on similar issues, including clean energy and biofuels, software development and biotechnology. With the Internet and advancements in technology, scientists in Russia can work hand-in-hand with their counterparts in the United States.
    The Colorado State partnership is also just a good opportunity for people to meet other people from other parts of the world, Rakitin said.
    "We get to know who are the Americans and you get to know who are the Russians," he said.
    © 2009 Colorado State University.
    * * *
      NewsBCM / 18.10.2010
      First Russian-Chinese scientific expedition to be launched from Vladivostok
      19 октября первая совместная палеоокеанографическая российско-китайская экспедиция вышла из Владивостока на теплоходе "Академик Лаврентьев". Цель экспедиции - изучение изменений климата и среды дальневосточных морей в последние 100-200 тысяч лет.

    October 19, the first Russian-Chinese scientific expedition is going to start from Vladivostok. It will take out on the ship "Akademik Lavrentiev" from Vladivostok, first to the Japan Sea and then to the Sea of Okhotsk. This has been reported by the press service of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS).
    The Chinese Ambassador to Russia Liu Hui is most likely to attend the solemn ceremony of saying farewell to the expedition.
    The expedition is comprised of 18 Russian and 11 Chinese scientists. It is worth noting that all the Chinese scientists have pretty good knowledge of the Russian language.
    The Russian team of the expedition is headed by Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences Sergei Gorbarenko. The Chinese team is headed by Professor Shih Suefa, well-known in scientific circles, who also heads a department of the First Institute of Oceanography of China.
    This expedition is the first in a series of joint researches of the ocean that have been scheduled by Russian-Chinese scientists. It is going to last 45 days. During this time, the scientists will explore the impact of climate over the last 100-200 thousand years on the marine biodiversity. Some special instruments are going to be submerged to a depth of 500-3,000 meters.
    The main purpose of the expedition is to obtain new information about the climate and environment changes in the seas of the Far East in the past to understand the causes and the relationships of millennial and century-old regional climatic changes with the global climate change.

    © JSC "BCM".
    * * *
      Les Échos / 03/11/10
      En Russie, l'innovation reste une affaire d'état
      • Benjamin Quenelle
      Говоря о проекте "Сколково", между энтузиазмом и скептицизмом колеблются как сторонние наблюдатели, так и непосредственные участники, как россияне, так и иностранцы.

    C'est le grand projet du Kremlin : construire près de Moscou une Silicon Valley capable de tirer l'ensemble de l'économie sur la voie de la modernisation. Observateurs et acteurs, russes comme occidentaux, hésitent entre enthousiasme et scepticisme.
    C'est le visage de la Russie nouvelle, innovatrice et entreprenante dont rêve le chef du Kremlin, Dimitri Medvedev. "La Silicon Valley russe, nous la construisons déjà ici !", lance Andreï Posdniakov. Un homme d'affaires inconnu à Moscou. Mais, à Tomsk, dynamique ville de Sibérie où un habitant sur cinq est étudiant et l'esprit d'innovation bien enraciné, ce jeune patron fait référence. Les programmes de software conçus par les ingénieurs de sa société, Elecard, notamment des solutions d'interface en vidéo digitale, sont simples, ingénieux et bon marché. Quelque 95 % des ventes se font à l'export. Un pourcentage record parmi les PME russes, elles-mêmes rares dans le tissu industriel.
    "L'essentiel, c'est de travailler pour trouver les solutions dont auront besoin demain les clients", insiste Andreï Posdniakov. Une lapalissade. Mais une évidence pas si forte en Russie, où la demande en nouvelles technologies reste faible. "Ca va changer !", sourit l'entrepreneur, fier de montrer aux "Echos" son bureau sibérien comme d'autres font visiter le garage californien de HP à Palo Alto. En pleine croissance, Elecard se dotera bientôt d'un nouveau siège, un bâtiment en verre près de la zone économique spéciale de Tomsk. "Ici comme dans d'autres villes, infrastructures, universités, hommes et entreprises existent déjà et construisent une économie d'innovation. Pour nous soutenir, il faudrait des fonds régionaux et attirer les sociétés de capital-risque, propose Andreï Posdniakov. Cela serait plus utile que de bâtir cette Silicon Valley près de Moscou…"
    Une "ville du futur" à statut spécial
    A Tomsk comme à Moscou, ce jeune entrepreneur n'est pas le seul à se montrer sceptique vis-à-vis de l'ambitieux projet lancé en février par Dimitri Medvedev pour servir de locomotive à la modernisation d'une économie encore très dépendante du secteur énergétique. Le président avait alors défendu une "ville du futur devenant le plus grand site test de la nouvelle politique économique". Depuis, le lieu a été choisi : Skolkovo, terrain à bâtir près de Moscou. Une équipe dirigeante est en cours de formation autour d'un conseil réunissant des personnalités, notamment étrangères. "Cela sera une version russe de Sophia-Antipolis", a confié aux "Echos" Martin Bouygues, seul Français siégeant parmi de nombreux patrons de la haute technologie américaine.
    A Skolkovo devraient se retrouver chercheurs, étudiants, créateurs de start-up, représentants de grandes entreprises, investisseurs en capital-risque… Le gouvernement, qui prévoit de larges budgets, prépare une législation donnant un statut spécial au site et à ses privilégiés d'habitants. Pour peaufiner son projet, le chef du Kremlin vient d'ailleurs d'effectuer un voyage éclair en Californie afin de visiter la version originale de ce que devrait devenir la Silicon Valley russe.
    Pour beaucoup d'observateurs, Skolkovo risque cependant de finir dans une impasse. "Sans changement de fond des institutions, il n'y aura pas de vraie modernisation", peste Konstantin Notman, autre entrepreneur rencontré à Tomsk. "En Russie, le problème n'est pas entre l'entreprise et l'innovation. Mais entre l'administration et l'innovation. Nous vivons dans une économie de monopoles, où des monstres industriels ont créé des dépendances. Skolkovo risque de devenir à son tour un monstre. Au Kremlin, ils ont compris la nécessité de bouger. Mais, en dessous, de puissants lobbies poussent au status quo car, corruption oblige, ils n'ont aucune raison de changer leurs habitudes", s'inquiète Konstantin Notman.
    "Un village Potemkine ne suffit pas"
    Ce type d'appels pour libérer les entreprises du poids de la bureaucratie se sont en fait multipliés depuis l'annonce du projet de Skolkovo. "En soi, c'est déjà un progrès ! Car ces questions étaient taboues. Lorsqu'elles agiront sans peur et sans pressions, les PME pourront enfin se développer", prévient un entrepreneur européen à Moscou avant d'ironiser : "Chaque leader soviétique avait sa campagne et cela n'a jamais fonctionné. Medvedev, c'est la modernisation. Une nouvelle tentative de réforme par le haut sera un échec."
    Dominique Fache, l'un des fondateurs de Sophia-Antipolis, aujourd'hui installé à Moscou, n'est pas loin de partager ce scepticisme. "Il y a dix ans, personne n'écoutait en Russie ceux qui parlaient d'innovation. Aujourd'hui, il y a une volonté au plus haut niveau de faire bouger les choses. Mais, pour créer une nouvelle culture d'innovation, la construction d'un village Potemkine ne suffit pas. Il faut éveiller la créativité, le sens du risque, la pensée latérale, le travail en réseau…", assure-t-il. "Skolkovo va créer un bouillon d'innovations. Mais le premier moteur de l'innovation reste la concurrence. Il faut que les acteurs économiques comprennent que, pour se développer et s'imposer sur les marchés internationaux, il faut prendre des risques et proposer du nouveau. En Russie, cette vision progresse lentement…", ajoute Sergueï Boev, vice-président de Sistema, rare grande entreprise innovante russe.
    Entre optimisme et pragmatisme, observateurs russes comme occidentaux espèrent avant tout un changement de mentalité. "Elles évoluent. A Tomsk, cela s'est fait petit à petit. A Skolkovo, c'est une autre voie…", se méfie Viktor Kress, le gouverneur de la région modèle, fier d'avoir installé le premier incubateur d'entreprises du pays dans une université et d'avoir fait passer de 50 % à 20 % la part du budget venant du pétrole. Autre résultat : le forum annuel sur l'innovation de Tomsk, en mai, est devenu un grand rendez-vous.
    "Il faut agir vite", répond aux critiques Arkadi Dvorkovitch, l'influent conseiller économique du Kremlin. La nécessité de diversifier l'économie s'est imposée avec la dernière crise. Rapidement, les autorités ont parlé de modernisation et Skolkovo est devenu à leurs yeux un moyen de lancer une dynamique. "C'est important de bâtir un site nouveau sur un terrain vierge. Car il faut créer un environnement où n'existent pas les barrières dissuadant habituellement les investisseurs étrangers, en particulier corruption et faiblesse des technologies", a expliqué aux "Echos" Arkadi Dvorkovitch.
    Un argument auquel sont sensibles les Occidentaux. "La Chine a réussi à développer des centres d'innovation grâce au faible coût de sa main-d'œuvre. C'est moins le cas de la Russie, qui ressemble a priori davantage à Israël. Mais celui-ci a un atout : un cadre réglementaire transparent et prévisible…, rappelle Bo Parker, consultant de Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Skolkovo doit offrir réglementation claire, saine procédure de décision, défense des droits de propriété… et absence de mauvaises surprises !"
    La Russie avait déjà essayé d'implanter des "innovation clusters" et créé des zones économiques spéciales. Leur agence nationale a été dissoute l'an passé. Faute de résultats. Dans certains pays en voie de développement, des initiatives similaires ont été des succès, en Inde notamment, où l'environnement économique est réputé plus ouvert. "En Russie, a priori, le potentiel est pourtant énorme !, - insiste Jonathan Sparrow, directeur de Nokia Siemens à Moscou. Le pays est bien plus avancé que d'autres en recherche et développement. Je suis même frappé par la qualité des travaux mathématiques de simulation et des créations de prototypes. Le problème, c'est de passer au stade de la commercialisation."
    Pour Skolkovo, "une quinzaine de projets viables ont été présélectionnés parmi des chercheurs russes. Le pays a toujours été une terre fertile en matière grise mais pauvre en entrepreneurs capables de transformer les idées en entreprises. Nous devrons aider à franchir ce pas", affirme une source proche de Viktor Vekselberg, l'oligarque choisi par le Kremlin pour orchestrer Skolkovo. "Une partie du problème sera de convaincre les chercheurs russes partis à l'étranger qu'ils peuvent revenir et développer ici leurs projets. Pour le moment, je n'ai pas la solution", a reconnu celui-ci lors du récent forum économique de Saint-Pétersbourg.
    "Initier un cercle vertueux"
    Invités en nombre à ce "Davos russe", quelques grands noms des hautes technologies américaines ont semblé plein d'enthousiasme pour Skolkovo. "C'est une formidable façon de commencer", s'est réjoui Craig Barrett, l'ancien patron d'Intel nommé auprès de Viktor Vekselberg. "Bien sûr, nous croyons en ce projet et nous y serons présents", a confié aux "Echos" John Chambers, le PDG de Cisco, qui, lors de la visite de Dimitri Medvedev en Californie, vient d'annoncer un investissement dans l'innovation russe de 1 milliard de dollars sur dix ans, avec notamment un centre technologique à Skolkovo. "Créons une société d'entrepreneurs guidée par la culture du succès. Il est temps d'initier ce cercle vertueux en Russie !" a lancé Joe Schoendorf, associé de la société de capital-risque Accel Partners.
    "Mais l'entrepreneur a toujours mauvaise réputation en Russie. C'est la clef du problème ! La majorité de nos jeunes veulent travailler pour Gazprom ou dans l'administration, souligne Vadim Koulikov, à la tête d'un centre finançant des start-up. Dans nos universités, les cours sont trop théoriques. Les professeurs viennent, lisent leurs leçons et repartent. Comment voulez-vous que cela forme des étudiants tournés vers l'innovation et le concret ?" Un changement profond de mentalité plus difficile que la construction d'un simple bâtiment pour la future Silicon Valley.

    © Tous droits réservés - Les Echos 2010.
    * * *
      The Kremlin Stooge / November 16, 2010
      Abort, Retry, Ignore? The West's Hate/Hate Relationship with Skolkovo
      • Mark Chapman
      Критическая статья об отношении западной прессы к проекту "Сколково", опубликованная в блоге "The Kremlin Stooge" на Wordpress.com.

    What is it about President Medvedev's attempts to set up a "technology city" at Skolkovo that drives some western journalists over the edge? It seems to be more than just the typical desire - again, on the part of some sources - to see Russia fail at everything it tries; these sources seem to be trying for self-fulfilling prophesy. Let's take a look at some of the overheated rhetoric, and see if we can figure out what's behind it.
    RFE/RL Russia's alternately mocking and scaremongering article looks like a good place to start. Entitled, "Russia's Silicon Valley Dreams May Threaten Cybersecurity", the article takes a break from making fun of Medvedev's height to advise us that Silicon Valley companies considering investment in Skolkovo "…could be indirectly helping a state many believe is leading the development of the newest global security threat: cyberwarfare". Leaning heavily on the expertise of Seattle-based cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr, the author goes on to remind us that the FSB has a big interest in electronic information, and to speculate that Skolkovo is being constructed as Snoop Central. Why? Because, in the words of his cybersecurity expert, "If you're wiring a facility….the best time to do it is while it's being built".
    I'm going to guess that Mr. Carr was taken out of context here, because otherwise the concept is silly on so many levels that I don't quite know where to start.  Okay, okay, I know - let's start with the perennially stupid "Silicon Valley" comparison, because the resemblance between Skolkovo and Silicon Valley is limited to their beginning with the same letter , and hopefully the mindless echo chamber that largely makes up modern journalism will stop repeating it.
    First, Silicon Valley isn't even a real place. The phrase was coined in 1971 in Electronic News, by journalist Don Hoefler. The core of what is now Silicon Valley is actually Palo Alto. Silicon Valley was started by accident, as an initiative by Stanford University's professor of electrical engineering to lease university land to high-tech companies as a money-maker for the university. It was going to be called "Stanford Industrial Park". The United States government was not involved in any capacity. Hewlett-Packard originated there, as a garage workshop start-up, and other companies followed.
    Skolkovo, by way of contrast, is entirely a government project, with a vision of what it will be and what it is expected to achieve before building ever commenced. Silicon Valley grew up around the development of the first microprocessor, and consisted entirely of computer industries in its infancy. Skolkovo is expected to be a great deal more diversified from the start, incorporating nanotechnology, communications, software development, biomedical research, energy and information technology. If the shoe were on the other foot, and a two-person garage workshop project outside Moscow were compared with an American or European plan to create an advanced research centre from scratch, Americans and Europeans would laugh.
    This is a rock. Or is it?
    But let's go back for a moment, to that blather about "wiring the facilities" so the FSB can snoop on "every byte of Internet traffic". Is Mr. Carr suggesting the United States government's intelligence services do not monitor every byte of Internet traffic? I beg to differ.  And what's all this stuff about wires? Remember Operation Roadside? In 2006, MI6 ran an operation in Russia, using Russian "assets" (they're called "assets" when they're working for you - when they're working for somebody else, they're called "traitors") which featured a dead drop that was disguised as a rock. It was completely wireless, and intercepted and forwarded encrypted electronic messages without the users having to touch anything, or even stop as they passed by. When the FSB broke this operation, the "rock" was discovered to be powered by a Blackberry. That was four years ago. Is the implication here seriously that the FSB is wiring the buildings of Skolkovo while they're being built, for electronic interception? Why would that be necessary? Has surveillance technology advanced no further than that, do you think? Have you unscrewed the receiver on your cellphone lately to check for bugs? Try it, why don't you? That's right; you can't - it's built into the phone. Can cellphone communications be monitored without the user's knowledge? Most assuredly.
    Gee…I wonder how they do it, without wires.
    But what's most annoying is the author's stubborn insistence that Russia is "leading the development of cyberwarfare". Really? Does Russia have a government agency known as "Cyber Command"? Show me. The U.S. does. The whole article is chock-full of "could be's" and "maybe so's", but the author has decided to blame Russia anyway. For example, he writes "…cyberattacks are often blurred…because it's often impossible to prove who's behind them.." Later, Mr Carr chimes in to report the discovery - following a six-month investigation - that cyberattacks against Estonian and Georgian websites originated with the Russian government, who were "distributing lists of targets to hackers". Again, show me. The article goes on to mention that Carr dismisses the absence of direct evidence. What? A target list from the Russian government to a hacker sounds like direct evidence to me. Why weren't any such lists produced as evidence? Other than evidence, we're told the "size, timing and complexity" of the attack "implicated the Kremlin". You're kidding me, right? Western journalists seldom take a break from hammering on what a shitty, antiquated, tunnel-vision, bloated, unimaginative government model Russia has…except when something nasty is done particularly well. Then, then it must have been the Kremlin, who otherwise can't do anything right. Since cyberwar software programs "can operate from servers outside Russia, they also provide the Kremlin with the crucial benefit of plausible deniability". Correct. And, uh..everybody else. But we'll blame Russia, how about? In the final paragraph, the silliness just spins out of control, and we're informed that "China may lead the world in cyberespionage that raids Western intellectual property, but Russia leads the way in 'being willing to take hostile action". If that sounds a lot like "Weapons of Mass Destruction related program activities", it's not a coincidence. Both are something you say when you have nothing but a conviction unsupported by evidence.
    Reluctantly acknowledged as it is here, China is in fact the world leader in cyberespionage. Getting better at it is even part of the latest five-year plan.  Don't worry, though: the United States is "seen to have a comfortable lead in the virtual battlefield". Better at cyberwarfare than the world leader, that is to say, which sort of makes you the world leader - I just wanted to make sure you got that. While ki-yiing about Russia vacuuming up information at a horrifying rate, there's still nobody better at it than the USA.  China, though, is serious about catching up: at least one of the hackers responsible for a recent attack on the Pentagon was recruited by the PLA as a student responding to a "hacker competition". When run to earth in Chengdu province, the cyberwarriors proved to be "a bunch of nerds" with laptops. Look, Ma - no wires. Just in case that point didn't come through loud and clear, it is not necessary to wire a building to conduct cyber-espionage or even an attack: in fact, it would be somewhat to the right of stupidity to do that, because it would leave physical evidence that is completely unnecessary. The researchers who uncovered "Ghostnet", a Chinese espionage Trojan email infector, suggest it "demonstrates the relative ease with which a technically unsophisticated approach can quickly be harnessed to create a very effective spynet."
    Knowing this, you'd reasonably assume the West is taking a stiffish sort of stance with China over their shenanigans. You'd be wrong.  According to AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, China is "the brightest star on the American investment horizon" and 64.5% of the companies surveyed (which included Cargill and General Motors) had plans to increase their investments in China in 2010. Apple. Ford Motors. Nike. Heinz. The Gap. Starbucks and Coca Cola view China as their top growth market. $3.6 Billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2009, when America was reeling in the grip of economic collapse, all of it from American companies. But China isn't planning to build a "technology city" so it can spy on good Americans, and increase its technical advantage over them, is it? No, not exactly. China calls them "Science Parks". Tsinghua Science Park, for example, built in the Zuhai national high-tech zone, specializes in high-tech development, R&D and advanced business education management. "By becoming an attractive location for highly skilled domestic and foreign professionals and investing in R&D facilities, Tsinghua Science Park will grow to be a major institution for high tech innovations", the electronic brochure confides. High tech innovations that Americans will gladly pay for, considering they've largely gone out of the business of making them for themselves.What do cybersecurity experts think about the risk of cyberespionage? Well, we could ask Jeffrey Carr, the expert who thinks Russia is a state that is leading the development of the newest global security threat. What do you think about Chinese cyberespionage, Jeffrey?
    "People inflate fear about China, but China has no interest in attacking the U.S. They want the same things that any country would want. And they're going about it the same way that we would go about it. We're doing espionage. We're looking after our interests. We're exerting our will as a nation. It's silly to try to take the moral high ground here. It doesn't serve any useful purpose."
    Do tell. But let Medvedev make a statement like the electronic brochure above, substituting "Skolkovo" for "Tsinghua Science Park", and western journalists line up to piss on his shoes.
    Thankfully, not everyone feels that way. Cisco Systems is in for a Billion. Microsoft followed their lead. Siemens is in. Good luck to Skolkovo, and to Russia's exerting its will as a nation.

    * * *
    Продолжение дайджеста за НОЯБРЬ 2010 г.
    
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