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emerging companies. It will also stimulate innovation activity in the
city of Sarov, facilitate cooperation between researchers and
industry, provide services to science-intensive companies in
information support and management training, and accelerate real
economic development based on creating regional and international
networks for information exchange and cooperation among firms.
Much is already being done in this regard. VNIIEF-Conversion in
involved in the Russian Marketing Network and is a coauthor of a Tacis
project proposal on establishing a connection to the European
information network. The economic and legal departments of
VNIIEF-Conversion also provide consulting services, and the company
collaborates with the Sarov Branch of the LINK International Institute
of Management, which provides training in management and innovation.
In 2000 LINK provided professional training on the commercialization
of research results for 25 VNIIEF and Avangard employees involved in
International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) projects. In 2001
the Sarov Branch of LINK is working with the University of South
Carolina to fulfill a contract funded by the Nuclear Cities Initiative
(NCI) to train 40 managers and specialists involved in conversion
projects at VNIIEF and the Avangard plant.
At present the ITC is still in the process of being established under
the auspices of VNIIEF-Conversion. The ITC concept has not yet been
fully refined, and the technical audit of small innovative firms is
not yet complete. Another Tacis project developed in cooperation with
the Lahti Regional Educational Consortium (Finland) is devoted to
accomplishing these tasks. The expected outcome of this project will
be a development plan for ITC that will allow it to offer a
comprehensive package of services to the small innovative firms that
will be its clients. A very widespread problem in the first stage of
ITC's development has been the very limited range of services that
is offered, that is, secretarial services, reception and mailing of
postal correspondence, word processing, and telephone answering
services, among others. The goal of the Tacis project will be to
provide a rather full range of services from the moment that ITC's
building is ready for full operation, as well as to create a positive
public image for the ITC by ensuring that expectations are met. We
hope the ITC will avoid the destiny of a company that trades