Rustam Minnikhanov aims businesses at commercialisation of university developments

Only 12% of companies in the real sector are receptive to innovations

On 14 February, at a meeting of the Association for the Promotion of Digital Development in the Kazan Power Engineering University, they talked about the implementation of 129 student startups selected during the first wave of the Student Startup competition of the Innovation Promotion Foundation. Taking part in the meeting, Rustam Minnikhanov said that the time when scientific research was carried out for the sake of research was in the past, and he aimed businesses at commercialising technological developments of the leading universities of the republic.

The tool for this is the federal project “Platform of University Technological Entrepreneurship”. Getting into the project with breakthrough applications has become the main task for the universities of the republic. Last year, 129 projects of Tatarstan universities and institutes were recognised as winners of the Student Startup competition of the Innovation Promotion Foundation. This is one of the four programmes of the federal project “Platform of University Technological Entrepreneurship”. The authors of 81 Tatarstan projects received grants worth 1 million rubles.

“The effective use of this development tool will allow us to bring to a new level the work on the formation of entrepreneurial skills among students, scientific and pedagogical workers. Last year, our universities achieved some success in this direction," said the rais of Tatarstan. “Thanks to this work, the Higher School of the Republic has made an important step towards the formation of the University 3.0 model.”

According to him, only 12% of companies in the real sector of the republic's economy are among the innovatively active, which indicates a critically low susceptibility to innovation.


A single responsibility centre has been created in the republic

Rectors of universities, heads of line ministries and industrial companies reported on how these projects are being implemented. But before that, the rais of the republic was shown the developments of the Kazan Power Engineering University students. Rustam Minnikhanov saw a complex of wave determination of the location of damage to cable and overhead lines, which is used in the electric networks of the Grid Company.

Director of Road Safety GBU, Chairman of the Council of the Association for the Promotion of Digital Development Rifkat Minnikhanov noted five problematic issues that hinder the development of startups. They come down to the disunity of universities and enterprises. To avoid this, a project centre (unified responsibility centre) has been created in the republic, which coordinates the work of universities, authorities, and enterprises.

“If in 2021 the number one topic for the entire university community of Russia was participation in the programme for the development of higher education institutions Priority 2030, then in 2022 there were two such large-scale projects: Advanced Engineering Schools and Platform of University Technological Entrepreneurship," rector of the Kazan Power Engineering University Edward Abdullazyanov continued the topic.


Universities have joined the Platform of Technological Entrepreneurship

But the university did not limit itself to participating in the Student Startup competition of the Innovation Promotion Foundation. The KGEU took part in almost all major programmes of university technological entrepreneurship, as a result becoming the only holder of the grant “Entrepreneurial boiling point”. Along with eight universities, the university won grants from the “Acceleration Programme”, for which more than 1 billion rubles were allocated from the federal budget. In the republic, a similar grant was also received by the KFU, the KIU named after V.G. Timiryasov, KSMU, TISBI, Almetyevsk State Petroleum Institute, KazGIK, and Innopolis University.

The operator of the programme, the National Technology Initiative platform, created the Situational Centre for Acceleration Programmes, where the activities of universities participating in the grant were monitored online. All startups were registered in the Projects system. In total, 151 acceleration programmes have been launched in Russia and more than 40 thousand young entrepreneurs from among students and postgraduates of Russian higher educational institutions have been registered.

The university is preparing to apply for participation in the third wave of the Student Startup competition of 57 startups: “But we also need the involvement of large federal companies. Cooperation agreements have been concluded with Rosatom State Corporation and Rosseti Lenenergo PJSC. The issue of creating joint acceleration programmes and the advanced engineering school with the System Operator of the Unified Energy System and Rosseti PJSC is being worked out," said Edward Abdullazyanov.

“It's no secret that most of the declared startups 'burn down' even before the stage of creating a prototype. Therefore, the system of regional support for innovations should be focused on support throughout the life cycle," Aynur Aydeldinov, the head of the Investment and Venture Fund, said at the meeting.

"129 winners signed a contract, received 1 million rubles each, and by September of this year they must make a website, work out the technology and create a business model on the basis of which the project is commercialised. And the next stage of creating prototypes is funded with the help of regional IVF support tools (there are two programmes here — “Ideas 1000" and “Acceleration”, — ed.). But today we can support only 20 projects, there are no more," he said and suggested: “In order not to lose 129 startups, it is necessary to expand support tools.”

Another good news concerns federal support for early-stage projects. According to the head of the IVF, in December it was decided to create an early-stage fund with a funding volume of 1,5 billion rubles: “Now the project operator is being determined. This will make it possible to finance projects at the initial stage in the amount of 50 to 10 million rubles.”

Luiza Ignatyeva