Today, the Skolkovo Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) embarked on a new endeavor in international cooperation in higher education, research and innovation: the development of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) in Skolkovo, Russia. At a ceremony this afternoon at the RUSNANO International Nanotechnology Forum in Moscow, Skolkovo Foundation President Viktor Vekselberg and MIT President Susan Hockfield jointly signed the agreement to collaborate in building capacity in education, research and entrepreneurship programs at Skoltech.
The agreement launches a three-year collaboration between the Skolkovo Foundation, Skoltech and MIT to develop a new graduate research university. The new institution aims to break new ground in bringing together Russian, US and global research and technology – and in integrating teaching, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The relationship between Skoltech and MIT will be good not only for Russia: we are convinced it will be good for the worldwide community of scholarship, research and innovation,” said Viktor Vekselberg, the President of the Skolkovo Foundation. “Humanity today faces problems of great complexity and urgency. We aim to attract outstanding faculty, students and researchers to Skoltech. This superb talent will work with other leading universities and institutes in Russia and throughout the world, united in the mission of sharing knowledge and research to make an impact.”
Today’s announcement is the culmination of extensive discussions between the Skolkovo Foundation, Skoltech and MIT faculty and administration to explore the potential and parameters of the collaboration.
“MIT and Skoltech, working together, aim to create a new model for graduate education and research in science and technology,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “Skoltech will offer MIT and other universities throughout the world new opportunities for collaboration with the excellent scientists and engineers in Russia’s universities and research institutes, and its structure will promote a multidisciplinary approach to difficult scientific problems.”
Education and research at Skoltech will be organized around multidisciplinary technological challenges, rather than traditional academic disciplines. The new institution will focus on the following programs:
Master’s and doctoral degree programs will be organized under these programs, with focused degree tracks in specialized research areas within each program.
Research centers under the Skoltech organizational umbrella will be multidisciplinary and multi-institutional. In each center, faculty, researchers and students from one or more Russian universities will collaborate with faculty, researchers and students from one or more universities outside Russia.
A defining component of Skoltech will be its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), which will integrate education, research and practice in entrepreneurship and innovation, as applied to the research results of the Skoltech research centers. MIT will assist in creating the CEI organization and education program.
“Through Skoltech, we aim to harness the power of international collaboration among the world’s scientific and research leadership,” said MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Duane Boning, who led MIT’s assessment of the opportunity presented by the creation of Skoltech. “The participating MIT faculty are enthusiastic about the potential for intellectual exchange and shared research with Russian and other international colleagues that the new institution promises to bring.”
Recently, the Skolkovo Foundation announced the nomination of Edward Crawley, MIT’s Ford Professor of Engineering, as the first President of Skoltech. “Skoltech will provide an environment for wide-ranging research and discovery,” said Professor Crawley. “But just as critically, the new institute will aim to transform the lives of its students. They will be the global innovators, the agents of change and the leaders who will use new discoveries to confront the world’s most daunting scientific and technological challenges.”
With today’s signing of the definitive agreement around the collaborative development of Skoltech and the nomination of the new institute’s President, Skoltech will now move ahead with the process of identifying its key academic and administrative leadership. Skoltech and MIT will also begin building the peer-review evaluative processes necessary to determine the university’s initial research endeavors.
About the Skolkovo Foundation
The Skolkovo Foundation is a Russian nonprofit organization founded in 2010 and charged by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with creating a new science and technology development center in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo. The Skolkovo innovation ecosystem comprises the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, corporate R&D centers, business incubators and accelerators, private seed and venture funds, and start-up companies, as well as residential space and social infrastructure. Skolkovo is governed by a special law, which gives its resident companies special economic conditions for running their businesses. More than 200 companies have received the status of Skolkovo resident.
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, a private graduate research university founded in 2011, will educate coming generations of technology entrepreneurs, advance scientific knowledge, and foster technological innovation to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. Skoltech will enroll its first full inaugural class in 2014, and when scaled to planned capacity, will have 1,200 master’s and doctoral students, 300 postdoctoral scholars and 200 faculty.
Founded in 1861, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-educational privately endowed research university, is dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship to serve the nation and world. The Institute has more than 1,000 faculty and 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.