Building the Future of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology

Innovation Ecosystem Benchmark


The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is a new private graduate university located just outside of Moscow, Russia. Skoltech was established in 2011 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Skoltech aims to advance education, scholarship and economic development in the Russian Federation and beyond by educating graduate students and conducting research programs that address key challenges in science, technology and innovation.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Skoltech (CEI@Skoltech) is chartered to foster and link research and education at Skoltech with entrepreneurship and innovation (E&I) by providing E&I curricula to Skoltech students, conducting research into the management and practice of innovation in Russia and elsewhere, and providing commercialization services to Skoltech faculty, researchers, Research Center participants and partner institutions. The overarching goal of the CEI@Skoltech is to instill a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the education and scientific activities of Skoltech.

The development of CEI@Skoltech will be informed by a phased benchmarking study of university-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers across the world. The study will seek to identify and evaluate top university fostered innovation ecosystems, considering in turn those that are operating within challenging environments and those for which the conditions for innovation are ripe.

The first phase of the study was conducted between February and August 2012. Distilling the experiences and insights of 61 international experts, this phase of work provided their assessment of the most highly-regarded university-based ecosystems across the world. It also captured information on the range of metrics they used to underpin these recommendations and the critical success factors apparent for each of the top-ranked institutions. A report summarising the outcomes from Phase 1 of the study is available upon request.

The second phase of the benchmarking study was launched in January 2013. It will involve a detailed case study evaluation of a selected sub-set of the highly-regarded universities identified in Phase 1, focusing on those institutions that share common features with Skoltech and that appear to have played a pivotal role in the successful growth of their ecosystem.

This benchmarking study is being undertaken by Dr. Ruth Graham.

Ruth Graham, MRAeS, AMIMechE, has been an independent consultant in Engineering and Science Education since 2008, working with engineering industry, universities, professional bodies and charities/foundations. A Mechanical Engineer by training, Ruth has worked in industry (BAE) and in academia (Imperial College London). As Director of the EnVision project at Imperial College, Ruth was charged to transform the undergraduate education across all nine departments in the Faculty of Engineering and improve its culture of support and reward for teaching excellence. Ruth’s work as a consultant is focused on supporting educational change across the world and helping to equip engineering graduates to solve the complex challenges of the 21st century.