Pilot Program Establishes a New Model for U.S.-Russian University Cooperation: 2012 “EURECA” Conference Convenes at UCLA

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Senior university leaders from the U.S. and Russia convened at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) program’s 2012 annual conference, which focused on university-industry relations. Following welcome remarks by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and project sponsors and organizers, U.S. and Russian EURECA university partners reported and discussed the results of the first year of the EURECA pilot program and their plans for project development in 2012.

Russian delegates enjoyed a tour of California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and its labs as part of the conference.

EURECA is a U.S.-Russia partnership program that facilitates cooperation on university research initiatives, promotes commercialization, and supports entrepreneurship activities on Russian university campuses.

Senior university leaders from the U.S. and Russia convened at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) program’s 2012 annual conference, which focused on university-industry relations. Following welcome remarks by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and project sponsors and organizers, U.S. and Russian EURECA university partners reported and discussed the results of the first year of the EURECA pilot program and their plans for project development in 2012.

EURECA is a U.S.-Russia partnership program that facilitates cooperation on university research initiatives, promotes commercialization, and supports entrepreneurship activities on Russian university campuses. EURECA is sponsored by the U.S.-Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF), in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. The program is administered by American Councils for International Education in the U.S. and the New Eurasia Foundation in Russia.

In his opening remarks to the EURECA conference, American Councils President, Dan Davidson, noted that “U.S. university-based research and development funding from federal and industry sources will exceed $60 billion dollars in 2012, the highest level in recent history, despite federal cutbacks in research overall. Russian R&D investment has grown at comparable rates, despite the relatively weak role of Russian private business in this area.” Sergey Borisov, Deputy Director of Russia's Sberbank and chairman of the non-profit group, “OPORA,” which is committed to strengthening small and medium-size enterprises in Russia, expressed the view that Russia’s entrance into the World Trade Organization would stimulate more Russian business investment in university research and commercialization efforts.    

By connecting research communities with businesses and investors, EURECA aims to help Russian universities create marketable products from their academic research findings. During the 2010-2012 pilot period, U.S. universities are partnering with Russian universities to establish new, and support existing, technology transfer programs. In the first year of the pilot, EURECA activities furthered student innovation initiatives and strengthened entrepreneurship programs and tech transfer offices. EURECA also helped Russian university partners present their research findings to private businesses and build links to regional government.

EURECA university partners from two Russian universities – the University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO), and the Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod (UNN) – and three American universities – UCLA, the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP), and Purdue University – assessed their success in developing collaborative initiatives on the commercialization of university research.

The conference also provided opportunities for representatives from U.S. and Russian partner institutions to share their experiences with potential new EURECA university partners who are looking to join the program in 2013, after the completion of the two-year pilot. Both seasoned and potential university partners discussed best practices for engaging private industry and government in the development of new products and services. The conference participants also explored opportunities for expanded partnerships in research management and regional economic development. U.S. and Russian university partners are planning new collaboration between research and industry, as well as new entrepreneurship programs for 2012.

Click here to learn more about the EURECA 2012 Annual Conference: http://www.americancouncils.org/program/4i/EURECA/

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