Round table "Innovative problems in the field of nanotechnology"

Round table "Innovative problems in the field of nanotechnology"On the September 23 at the conference "Nanotechnology of Functional Materials" a round table "Innovation problems in the field of nanotechnology" was held, chaired by RAS Corresponding Member, M.V. Kovalchuk. Discussion went beyond the stated themes and touched most of the problems associated with the development and marketing of innovative products. 




M.V. Kovalchuk: Dear colleagues, I want to note that the construction of an innovative economy – the knowledge economy – is important not only for nanotechnology, but for the country as a whole. Therefore I propose to consider two aspects – the specific innovations in the field of nanotechnology (coatings, sputtering, etc.) and the problems of constructing the entire system. And we need to think about how long it will take: talking about building such a system is already long, and there is no result yet. And here's the problem, from my point of view: in the USSR existed the notion of "implementation". There was a military-industrial complex, and the science served his needs. Once the MIC stopped, almost all science collapsed, because nothing was offered in return. Innovation system means other mechanisms. Today, the "holders of content" – they are representatives of the scientific community, and that are people with a soviet mentality. They can not do business because is a completely different specialty. On the other hand, there are already people who know how to make money professionally, but it also has nothing to do with the knowledge economy. Therefore, the key issue of the launch of an innovative economy is the following: to find the right interface between the scientific community, which is the holder of the content, and the interests of the people who know how this content is converted into money. There is a huge barrier on the way of this combination. Here is an example: a Soviet scientist is engaged in any development, he is approached by the representative of the firm interested in this development, and offered 5% of the future billion dollar turnover. The reaction of the scientist in 9 cases out of 10 will be: No, because this development – is a 100% mine, because the scientist is afraid that he will be deceived. And this is obvious, because people who work with money, used to get the money by "pressing". The problem is in finding ways to combine two different communities.

Round table "Innovative problems in the field of nanotechnology" Generally, the most complex science – it's interaction with people. I would like to say about venture capital. I am deeply convinced that in the next 10-15 years, no venture projects in Russia can exist. What is venture capital? This is the same scheme. Nobody trusts anybody, so the venture can now only be intercorporational. For example, there is a company Severstal, and within it is established venture capital firm, and the people in it administratively subordinate. Such a venture would work very effectively, not worse, than abroad. And when you go out on the open market – how many companies the ministry created, and still no significant projects, despite the financing a lot of money. I am deeply convinced that it is because there is an insurmountable obstacle, consisting of a conflict of interest. We must understand that we have paternalistic logic. If private property in America exists for hundreds of years, we do not have this culture at all. We are accustomed to administrative action, and therefore the state must now, part of which is already going, to build step by step, and then begin to operate the mechanism of self-organization. I expressed my point of view on this matter. If someone wants to talk on this subject – let's talk, if not, then let's move on to specifics.



Question from place: There is a notion of "valley of death" that is, one should go a long way, and only then there will be a result. What do you think, how many years will we require?


Kovalchuk: One have to understand that someone may come quickly, while other will not come at all. And we must understand that we are from a society with a totalitarian system and administrative methods and with people burdened with this mentality, and we go into a society with liberal democratic values and market economies. And during this transition, management practices need to be combined. This does not mean that you have to forcibly detain someone. Should be the following system: you have got education for free, you want to go – please, but then either return the money for the school, or let the company that you were hired by, to pay the money, or take a loan and pay it – so that the next is able to study. This is a combined method: it is administrative but market mechanism. A civilized country sells patents and services. All that is on the market – that is service. But we can not be good in everything. We must have the precise measure of national security, which guarantees the opportunity to grow independently. We have lost the microelectronics, we do not have the electronics industry, but attempts to revive it are senseless. The profit even of large microelectronic companies – in their design centers, that is the intellectual product. Now we must not try to make a product that's nowhere to sell, but to create new intellectual products. If you come up with a new processor, it will be a breakthrough. We need to think before we do. There are two major issues: national security and the market self-sufficiency.



RAS Corresponding Member O.S. Naraykin: Humanity is entering a new anthropogenic era – economic mechanisms may not remain the same. It is clear that there is a gap. Economists say: The risks associated with the duration of the innovation cycle are very high. But business needs income today. Risks associated with the duration of the innovation cycle, apparently, must take the other market participants, the state in particular.   They can say: what have the state to do with it? The U. S. government provides direct intervention in this area: until a strong business in this segment is not yet formed, the State assumes its functions.



Round table "Innovative problems in the field of nanotechnology"Kovalchuk: Global development of recent decades was linear – there was no breakthrough, and it happened for one simple reason: the Soviet Union collapsed. While it existed, the world was bipolar, there was a balance. Though the Americans were rich with high living standards, and we do not, but the parity was there. When the USSR collapsed, the Americans have repeated its mistakes – they have decided that we had disappeared, and practically ceased funding the MIC. Once the competition has disappeared, a large-scale development of scientific and technological progress also stopped, which occurs primarily in the military sphere. Civil science and economy can not afford breakthroughs. The market is stationary – some products are produced and all. And the Army really does not survive if the enemy will see better, hear better, fly quicker.

 How Americans do their breakthroughs? There is an organization there called DARPA– Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – U. S. Department of Defense agency responsible for developing new technologies for use in the armed forces, where huge amount of money is accumulated. They carry out risky research for defense and can take any amount, without asking either Congress or anyone else. The question is about creating our own DARPA. In business, no one will play "a long" – it can be done only by the state.



Question from place: We do not have a system of independent expert review of scientific works.



Kovalchuk: – Expertise is a powerful lobbying device. If you hire foreign experts, they will always be some "agents of influence". In addition, the Institute of Experts should be fast changing and not involved in the interests of individual groups. We have a problem that, for a quick turnover there is not enough important people, and young people are still unknown to us. It is necessary to prepare them the role of experts. To do this, the scientific community itself must understand the need for expertise.



Prof. V.V. Korablev (SPbSPU), Vice-Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Conference: Intellectual property protection becomes a big problem, especially in the field of nanotechnology, in the section "Risks and threats of nanotechnology". Now it is difficult to isolate, especially if we go out on a worldwide market and working in the global team. I do not know the recipe to solve this problem, but it is clear that our challenge – not only to build intellectual capacity, but also to defend it.



Kovalchuk: Americans built the MMM in its pure form. They sold their inflated securities, and at one point, it all exploded. With patents, I believe is the same story. This is an increase of the capitalization by fake papers. As you said, now there are let's say two thousand patents in the field of nanotechnology, of them ours – fifty. Foreigners are grabbing patents, only to close the market for us. Our patent system has weakened, they have it debugged, evaluation criteria are established. So, our task is to thoroughly investigate, how their criteria work – Patent, evaluating high schools, rankings of scientific journals, and begin to establish our own, including creating and untwisting our own counterparts of scientific journals. But for this the scientific community should not sort things out within itself but unite.



Korablev: Once again, I would like to note that if four years ago we could work on an equal footing because of our intellect, not affirming it with miserable scrap of paper, but now we are told: you have not protected your intellectual property on this topic, so we can not take you for funding under this heading.



Kovalchuk: Now the systems of "removal of brains and ideas" are becoming more sophisticated, and our ignorance in this field makes us very harmful.



Naraikin: A patent – is not only protection but also the disclosure of your achievements. Therefore, we must think not only about patents, but how to use the mechanism of know-how and the provision of services. Advanced Western companies do so: Come, we'll do that for you, but we will not disclose, HOW we do it. It is important not the number of patents, but the number of licensing agreements.



Round table "Innovative problems in the field of nanotechnology"Professor Yu.R. Kolobov, Belgorod State University, REC of nanostructured materials and technologies: I want on the example of our project mention objectives and challenges that have arisen in the way of its implementation. Our center was created by an unusual method for Russia: the Belgorod University organized a competition to create scientific groups, we have applied and have won, 10 of our employees have moved to Belgorod. A year later we opened the appropriate department and formed a major innovative project with a volume of 320 million rubles for three years. Attended by large organizations: "Prometheus", Steel Institute, we were asked to become the parent organization. The project was aimed at the creation of nanostructured materials and coatings for medical purposes and was realized in industrial output (not by the university, of course, but by our co-executives) and is now commercializing. Co-executives manufacture the products in Kazan, it is a Russian Institute of Medical Instruments. Now, about the difficulties we encountered. Universities are not ready to execute projects worth several million without a corresponding structure, which was in Soviet times, when production of the Institute had its legal and material basis. Our laboratories are equipped better than many European, we are able to take orders for even larger amounts, but we must return to a system of organization of scientific institutes attached to universities with their own sub-account and the ability to organize production and ensure its proper infrastructure. Second: when we started production of products (we do semi and our partners are doing medical implants), we faced the fact that the market is 90% occupied by foreign firms. It is impossible to get through there without the help from the state, even with the new nanostructured materials. We need state policy, at least locally, in manual mode, which would allow to change the situation.

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