The Country’s Innovation Showcase
The Moscow Innovative and Production Cluster which can potentially comprise all advanced industries in the city is moving on ever closer to practical implementation. Its structure, boundaries, management system, and the balance of federal support tools and those the city is willing to provide were discussed at the strategic session hosted jointly by the Moscow City Department of Science, Industrial Policy, and Entrepreneurship, and HSE.
The capital city authorities got actively involved in the growing cluster movement, in the scope of which more than 200 cluster initiatives were implemented in Russia during the past decade, supported by the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and other agencies. Just this past summer a series of expert discussions took place at various venues, whose results have largely determined the agenda of the strategic session held on 9 August at the Higher School of Economics.
See also HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov’s column 'Startup in a Large City: Why Moscow Needs an Innovative Supercluster' on the RBC website.
According to Alexei Fursin, Head of the Moscow City Department of Science, Industrial Policy, and Entrepreneurship, at this stage the department is willing to discuss all proposals on setting up the innovation and production cluster, so all potential stakeholders will be consulted before the decree on establishing the cluster is passed, to outline realistic objectives and effects. Alexei Fursin thanked the Highers School of Economics for benchmarking best international cluster practices, and analysing cooperation modes. The need to deepen cooperation between participants of the Moscow City innovation system has largely promoted the idea to create the capital city’s megacluster.
Assessing Best Practices for Moscow Innovators
'Now it’s important to balance the federal and city-level support for the cluster', noted the strategic session moderator Leonid Gokhberg, HSE First Vice Rector and Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge. 'Moscow has a sufficiently broad experience in this area. The city authorities have already tested a wide range of approaches to supporting innovation on a much larger scale than many other Russian regions. The city has two innovative clusters, a network of technology parks, a special economic zone, business incubators. Al these support formats need to be structured, to appropriately scale them and efficiently apply on a new basis'.
Combining federal support tools with city-level ones became a key topic of the subsequent general debates and group discussions. E.g. the R&D sector is a major specialisation area of the Moscow economy, but since many of the R&D organisations report to federal authorities the city remains 'rather reserved' about it, noted HSE First Vice Rector. He cited a recent HSE ISSEK study which revealed that almost half (44,9%) of all Russian publications in the Web of Science-indexed journals originated in Moscow. It’s important not to lose sight of the huge R&D component of the capital city’s potential, stressed Alexei Fursin, and make the best use of it to promote development not just of the city but the whole country.
Nikita Ponomarenko, Deputy Director of the Strategic Development and Innovation Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development which supported establishment of the Moscow megacluster in early August, spoke about the need to extend the cluster’s effects as far beyond the city limits as possible, including international markets. He highlighted export orientation as the key criterion for qualifying to receive support in the scope of the Ministry’s programme to promote development of innovative clusters – world class leaders in terms of investment appeal.
A Cluster Based on Trust in the Future
The Moscow City government will be involving in the cluster as broad range of organisations willing to develop new products as possible, helping them find partners, launch joint projects, interact with federal and regional authorities and national development institutes.
Joint projects shouldn’t be launched specifically to receive support in the scope of certain programmes, stressed Evgeny Kutsenko, Head of the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory. The cluster is being created in the context of radical restructuring of the value chain, transformation of production, growing role of the service sector, and disappearance of whole industries. Will Moscow be able to meet the challenges of the time and produce competitive goods and services for the city, Russian, and international markets?
International and Russian experience shows that transforming value chains requires joint efforts by many organisations, supported by the government through various formats such as consortia, clusters, technology platforms, and live laboratories, noted Evgeny Kutsenko. For Moscow this cluster should become a tool for accelerating development and marketing of new products and services, based on more effective cooperation of its members.
A wide range of specialised measures to support cooperation in innovation were discussed by expert panels and at industry-specific meetings. No single new initiative can meet the whole range of needs, since development, production, and scaling of new products imply sequential cooperation with various counterparts. Initially it’s R&D organisations and universities (in the scope of commercialisation process); then as the company grows it becomes important to make proper arrangements with suppliers and organise sales. At the same time companies usually consider various formats of cooperating with educational organisations to upgrade their staff. All these cooperation mechanisms could be supported, and their application promoted.
Which ideas could help cluster members with carrying out joint projects even after public support is discontinued? Possible items for the capital city’s innovation agenda, and tools for promoting interregional exports suggested by the strategic session’s participants included 'smart city' infrastructure; financial services centres; promoting health, education, R&D; fashion industries, and tourism. According to Ivan Danilin, Head of the Research and Innovation Section at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the RAS, the cluster should 'broadcast the city’s interests'. Incentives for joining the cluster also include systemic S&T foresight studies, integrated staff training, and emergence of skill and equipment exchanges.
Kristina Volkonitskaya, Deputy Director of the Moscow City Department of Science, Industrial Policy, and Entrepreneurship promised the interests of potential cluster members will be taken into account and harmonised to the maximum possible extent, and invited to continue the discussion during a field session on 16 August.