Skolkovo institute: fundamentally practical

Both the practice and theory of innovation will be taught at Russia’s new technology hub, Edward Crawley, the newly-appointed president of the Skolkovo Institute for Science and Technology, told RT.

The Skolkovo Institute and MIT have launched a three-year program to develop a graduate school. The new university will integrate cutting-edge research with technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The project’s creators hope to radically reshape the international landscape of higher education.

“The principle behind Skolkovo is that we create a university fundamentally around the idea of innovation,” Crawley told RT. “It’s about developing science and moving it as quickly as possible toward new goods and services.”

“I view this as a startup – we don’t just teach innovation, we do it; we are innovating the educational domain,” Crawley said. “In any startup, it’s important to start fast. In the next year, we are going to start an educational program by attracting 20 of the most innovative students in Russia; a research program by giving grants to at least three research centers, and an innovation and entrepreneurship program.”

Crawley told RT that it was only natural for Russia to develop the Skolkovo innovation hub.

“People all over the world have been looking up for opportunity to interact with Russia academically,” Crawley said. “The last 20 years have been difficult for the Russian education system. A portal like Skolkovo, with international standards, would be highly attractive.”

The scientist believes that Skolkovo will become a magnet for foreign specialists.

“People outside Russia need a mechanism, a home base, a set of contacts to come and explore,” Crawley told RT. “There are many contacts between education establishments in Russia and internationally, but there hasn’t been any mechanism to fund them. One of the things Skolkovo will do is to provide grants for research centers.”

Crawley has lofty ambitions for Skolkovo, and for the role it can play in Russia’s future.

“There is an ongoing globalization in the world’s educational community,” the scientist declared. “We want Russia to be one of the stops on this global network. We hope Skolkovo can help that happen.”

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