Challenges at the Zelenograd Technopark
Vladimir Leontyev *
Zelenograd Science and Technology Park
Historically the city of Zelenograd has been the center of the Russian electronics engineering industry. A great number of large electronics industry enterprises are concentrated in the city, and small business in the scientific-technical sphere is actively developing under the current market conditions. More than 500 small high-tech businesses are currently operating in Zelenograd, with their activities focusing on the creation and production of high-tech products in advanced areas of modern science and engineering.
The rapid development of high-tech business created a need for appropriate support structures. In response to this need, a well-developed infrastructure for innovation has been created on the basis of the Moscow State Institute of Electronics Engineering (Technical University) (MIEE). This infrastructure includes all the necessary elements of support for hightech business: the Zelenograd Science and Technology Park, the “Technological Center” State Research Center, the Fund for the Support of Scientific Research and Business, a nongovernmental fund for research and development work, and an investment company. A venture capital fund is also being organized.
The innovation structure that has been created provides support throughout all stages of the process of creating new scientific-technical products: from the ideas of the scientist to the mass production of finished products.
* Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.
The research unit of MIEE organizes basic and applied scientific research by scientists in university departments and scientific labs.
The “Technological Center” State Research Center carries out applied research and development and produces experimental samples and test batches of innovative items.
The Innovation Center for New Technologies is engaged in introducing new scientific-technical products into production.
The Proton Experimental Plant manufactures products based on development work done by small scientific-technical firms and scientific collectives from MIEE.
The innovation structure also includes elements that help to translate scientific ideas into the manufacture of scientific-technical products by small business enterprises operating under market conditions.
The Zelenograd Science and Technology Park provides infrastructure, methodology, and information support predominantly to newly created scientific-technical firms.
The Zelenograd Innovative Technology Center creates conditions for increasing output volumes of innovative products by developed scientific-technical companies of the region by means of providing an innovation infrastructure and financial and consulting support.
The small- and medium-sized scientific-technical firms cooperating with the technopark and the innovative technology center serve as the sources of innovations and simultaneously bring these innovations to the market.
The Innovative Industrial Complex is a project-oriented coordinating body that focuses its efforts on the final stage of the innovation process, namely the organization of batch production of the most promising hightech products.
The following organizations provide efficient financial support for innovation projects:
MIEE Fund for Support of Scientific Research and Business
local office of the Fund to Promote the Development of Small Enterprises in the Scientific-Technical Sphere
nongovernmental Fund for Research and Development
THE ZELENOGRAD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARK: FOUNDER OF INNOVATION ACTIVITY IN ZELENOGRAD
The Zelenograd Science and Technology Park (ZSTP) has served as the initiator in developing tools to support innovation activity in Zeleno-
grad. It was officially registered in June 1991 as an association of Zelenograd enterprises. The founders of the park were the Moscow State Institute of Electronics Engineering (Technical University) and a number of state enterprises in the city.
Being one of the first science parks in Russia, ZSTP has shaped its activities by looking to the experience of foreign technoparks, analyzing problems that have arisen, and searching for ways of resolving them.
During the nine years of its existence, the Zelenograd Science and Technology Park has devoted its primary attention to developing and improving the service sphere for small firms working in the scientific-technical field. ZSTP managers have regularly studied demand in the high-tech business services market and have conducted targeted efforts to create and develop markets for new services. ZSTP has accumulated a great deal of experience in the field of consulting for small innovative enterprises. During this time, ZSTP has carried out several major international projects in which consultations for the staffs of high-tech companies played an important role. In the course of implementing projects for the British government's Know-How Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Union's Tacis program, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Eurasia Foundation, dozens of foreign hightech business experts and specialists were involved and actively cooperated with ZSTP. Working jointly with ZSTP managers, they have conducted a considerable number of consultations and seminars on the most urgent problems facing small business. Moreover, all of this work was of a regular and not episodic nature—that is, the time periods of various separate projects overlapped, and foreign experts worked at ZSTP for periods ranging from several weeks to several months to a year or more.
Nine years of work have built an effective infrastructure for innovative business, and considerable experience has been accumulated regarding the commercialization of scientific-technical developments and the promotion of firms' products on the Russian and foreign markets.
ZELENOGRAD INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY CENTER: KEY ELEMENT IN THE TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION PROCESS
The Zelenograd Innovative Technology Center (ZITC) was established in 1998 within the framework of the Interagency Program for Activation of Innovation Activity in the Scientific-Technical Sphere in Russia. ZITC is now the best developed and most promising innovative technology center in Russia. In this regard, the existence of an innovation infrastructure and the possibility of applying the many years of innovation experience already accumulated by existing institutions in this field have been decisive factors in the rapid establishment of ZITC.
The main task of ZITC is to develop innovation activity in Zelenograd Region by providing comprehensive support for small business in the scientific-technical sphere. ZITC is responsible for facilitating the technology commercialization process by supporting innovation projects involving the creation of market-oriented competitive products, with such assistance being provided primarily to develop scientific-technical companies. The center's work also promotes heightened engineering and scientific-technical standards as well as the growth of production and sales volumes at the firms it assists. The activity of ZITC has attracted the attention of small high-tech firms, and at present, cooperation has been established with more than 80 companies in the region. Of these firms, 37 percent are devoted to information systems technologies, 27 percent to instrument making, 22 percent to software development, and 14 percent to telecommunications systems.
THE INNOVATIVE-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
The creation of the Innovative-Industrial Complex (IIC) was the logical next step in the further development of structures for the support of innovative business. IIC consists of MIEE, including its structural subunits, the Proton Experimental Plant, the “Technological Center” State Research Center, the Zelenograd Innovative Technology Center, the Innovation Center for New Technologies, the Zelenograd Science and Technology Park, the MIEE Fund for Support of Scientific Research and Business, and small and medium-sized scientific-technical firms of the region.
The organizational structure of IIC is project-oriented in nature. Participants join forces to carry out specific innovation projects on the basis of standard partnership agreements (joint cooperation). Such a way of organizing relations makes it possible to take the interests of participants into account more fully. It also provides flexibility for the participation of various parties at different stages of IIC's activities and promotes unconditional fulfillment of the joint commitments made by participants during the execution of specific projects.
Within the framework of the Innovative-Industrial Complex and with the direct participation of ZITC, a well-developed research and production infrastructure has been created, helping to move the results of MIEE scientific research into actual production and providing comprehensive support to the high-tech companies of Zelenograd. In 1998, 1,500 square meters of research and production space was finished in the new building of the Innovation Center for New Technologies. During implementation of IIC innovation projects in 2000, 800 square meters of production space was put into service at the Proton Experimental Plant, and a new building with 4,200 square meters of space was completed at the Zelenograd Inno
vative Technology Center. This building currently houses 11 leading Zelenograd scientific-technical companies.
One result of the development and improvement of the IIC infrastructure has been the dynamic growth of the high-tech companies (see Figure 1), which confirms the great significance and effectiveness of comprehensive structures for the support of high-tech small business.
THE CONCEPT OF CREATING A TECHNOLOGICAL VILLAGE
World experience shows that during the process of creating a scientific-technical product, it is best to use a comprehensive approach in dealing with the indivisible process moving from scientific ideas to the production and sale of created products under market conditions. Each stage in the product creation process should receive comprehensive support— intellectual, financial, and infrastructural.
From the standpoint of foreign practice, the optimum model for such an approach involves creating and developing a network of innovative technology complexes. Such complexes have long existed in many developed countries of Europe and America and are being developed successfully in China.
The direct task of innovative technology complexes lies in creating the most favorable conditions for innovative firms at all stages of the scientific-technical product creation chain, including complete intellectual and infrastructural support, mechanisms for multichannel financing (including venture capital), and marketing support.
This concept has as its goal the creation of the first such complex (technological village) in Russia on the basis of the innovative-industrial complex that has already been established in Zelenograd.
URGENT NEED TO CREATE A TECHNOLOGICAL VILLAGE ON THE BASIS OF IIC
The creation of the innovative-industrial complex was an expression of the policy of concentrating the resources of participants of the Interagency Program for Activation of Innovation Activity in the Scientific-Technical Sphere in Russia and targeting investments in the most promising innovation structures. The aim of this policy is to use positive results achieved as a model for growth to be further replicated in other regions of Russia.
A modern research and production complex has now been created and is continuing to develop. It features all the elements necessary for successful creation of scientific-technical products, including an educational unit, a powerful scientific sphere, a well-developed innovation structure, and an experimental production facility.
Thus, the infrastructure that has been formed at IIC includes all the necessary elements for the successful commercialization of scientific-technical developments and represents an optimal base on which the project for creating a technological village can be carried out.
PRECONDITIONS FOR CREATION OF A TECHNOLOGICAL VILLAGE
An analysis of IIC operations indicates the following essential preconditions determining the expediency of creating a technological village:
The existing research and production infrastructure cannot provide support to all scientific-technical companies that need it. The process of allocating space in the Innovation Center for New Technologies and the Zelenograd Innovative Technology Center has illustrated the high demand for such infrastructural support on the part of small scientific-technical companies. At present, about 80 more scientific-technical companies in Zelenograd are in urgent need of research and production space, with each company requiring from 300 to 1,000 square meters of office and manufacturing space. Thus, taking into account only Zelenograd firms, the average need for infrastructural support in terms of additional space totals 52,000 square meters. The activities of IIC have also attracted the attention of firms from beyond Zelenograd. Contacts have been established with enterprises from Moscow and Moscow Oblast, which increases the potential need for space by approximately 35 to 40 percent.
The small scientific-technical firms at IIC have in their arsenals a considerable number of promising innovation projects aimed at manufacturing high-tech products. However, opportunities for carrying these projects out are limited by IIC's lack of a sufficient technological base that would make it possible to manufacture products meeting the required technological standards. For successful implementation of planned innovation projects, it is necessary to apply the newest technologies in micromechanics, microelectronics, and device miniaturization—surface mounting, reverse mounting, multicrystal modules, microassemblies, and microsystems. Thus, there is an obvious need to equip and reequip the IIC technological base, which will make it possible to close the gap that is forming between the high scientific-technical level of new research developments and the insufficient technological capacities of the available equipment.
LONG-TERM PLAN FOR IIC DEVELOPMENT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE TECHNOLOGICAL VILLAGE PROJECT
Prospects for the further development of IIC are connected with implementation of the project to create a technological village. The primary goals of the project, in accordance with existing preconditions for the development of IIC, are as follows:
constructing and equipping new research and production buildings with a total area of 19,600 square meters to accommodate scientific-technical companies from Zelenograd and Moscow region
creating research and production centers at IIC, providing them with modern equipment, and adapting the latest technologies in microelectronics, electronics engineering, radioelectronic cluster minimization, and micromechanics to the newly installed equipment
providing access to the equipment and technologies of the centers to all participants in the technological village
During work on the project, four research and production buildings with a total area of 19,600 square meters will be constructed. Plans call for devoting 30 percent of the space to offices, 30 percent to laboratories, and 40 percent to manufacturing. The buildings will be provided with technological and laboratory equipment, with the exact type of equipment to be determined by the needs of the small scientific-technical firms that will be the future consumers of services in the technological village. In addition, the following research and production centers will also be formed:
Design Center for Specialized VLSIs
The design center will support the process of designing VLSI (very large scale integrated) circuits, the main components in modern micro
electronic devices. Leading Zelenograd technological firms with the appropriate resources for designing modern VLSIs will be involved in the work of the center. Production of VLSIs based on the results of the design center's work will be implemented within the IIC framework using the technological capacities of Zelenograd industrial enterprises and foreign partners. In particular, the “Technological Center” State Research Center and industrial enterprises of Zelenograd will produce VLSIs with topological norms down to 0.5 microns. VLSIs with high topological norms (less than 0.5 microns) will be manufactured in cooperation with foreign firms having the appropriate technological resources.
The design center will operate out of facilities of the Zelenograd Innovative Technology Center using equipment from Zelenograd scientific-technical firms.
Research and Production Center for the Design and Experimental Production of Electronic Devices Using Surface and Reverse Mounting Technologies
The task of this center will be designing and initiating experimental production of new electronic devices, especially those created on the basis of VLSI circuits from the design center.
The experimental production facilities will be located in remodeled space at the Proton Experimental Plant and will handle assembly of finished products using modern production lines for surface and reverse mounting of printed circuit components for radioelectronics.
Research and Production Center for the Design and Experimental Production of Micromechanical Devices
This center will design promising microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) using modern instrumental-technological modeling equipment that has been acquired. In the initial phase the sensors, actuators, and microsystems designed are being manufactured by the “Technological Center” State Research Center of MIEE. Plans call for the subsequent creation of a pilot miniplant for manufacturing, assembling, and testing MEMS elements. Another task of the center involves creating samples of new hardware using microelectromechanical devices, specialized LSI circuits, and electronic modules and then putting them into small-scale production.
Center for Metrological Measurements
The Center for Metrological Measurements will use the latest measurement technology to test scientific-technical products, especially those
created within the operating framework of the IIC research and production centers. Inclusion of this center in the IIC structure will help to ensure the production of reliable high-quality output. The Center for Metrological Measurements will operate in space at the Proton Experimental Plant.
As new buildings are completed in the technological village, two more research and production centers will be created:
- 1. The Center for the Design of Miniaturized Radioelectronic Clusters and Components
- 2. The Center for the Design and Experimental Production of Multicrystal Modules, Microassemblies, and Microsystems
Integration of the above-mentioned research and production centers into the existing IIC technological infrastructure will make it possible to carry out all stages in the cycle of creating high-tech science-intensive products within the framework of the technological village. The research and production centers of the technological village will be accessible to collectives from the scientific labs of MIEE and the scientific-technical companies on a collective access regime. In this way, the high-tech equipment will be efficiently used, which will make it possible to use the latest technologies at acceptable prices in the process of creating and test producing scientific-technical products.
The Innovative-Industrial Complex in Zelenograd is objectively recognized as the most promising in Russia with respect to the possibilities it offers for building a working model for the innovation complex of the future. This action would represent the formation of a qualitatively new system of innovation support in the revival of the Russian economy.
The technological village being created under IIC auspices will become a center for the generation of innovation programs, a unique test site for trying the latest engineering solutions and testing, certifying, and subsequently mass producing the equipment that will be created. The village will make it possible to provide infrastructural support in the implementation of comprehensive innovation programs aimed at creating competitive high-tech products.
The high level of intellectual potential in Zelenograd together with the capacities of the structure that has been created will facilitate implementation of programs of federal significance in the fields of electronics engineering, instrument making, new information technologies, and telecommunications.