Computer-aided design giant Autodesk has signed a cooperation agreement with the Skolkovo Foundation to potentially provide software support to resident startups and Skoltech students.

Skolkovo's Alexandra Barshchevskaya, left, and Autodesk's Herbert Bickelman. Photo:

The deal was struck at the Skolkovo Technopark Office Center by Skolkovo vice president Alexandra Barshchevskaya and Herbert Bickelman, senior manager of EMEA Education at Autodesk.

“Autodesk wants to enter this field of innovation and technology,” said Bickelman, referring to the Skolkovo ecosystem. “I’m very excited to see that there are these things happening. There are a lot of synergies where we can provide new technology and new education tools to connect different parties and different people,” he added.

“We are a technology provider – a connector between different research entities.”

Barshchevskaya, head of Skolkovo’s media relations department, said: “We really hope we can build a relationship that is mutually beneficial.”

Details of the agreement were not disclosed but similar deals Autodesk has struck with other establishments has seen the American giant offer its products for educational and scientific purposes, allowing teachers to improve their skills, and students to master CAD.

Autodesk software could be made available to students of both Skoltech and Open University Skolkovo, the distance-learning unit of the foundation whose mandate is to attract talented young people, skilled in science and technology and displaying entrepreneurial talent, recruit them and allow them to develop within the innovation ecosystem in Russia.

Ivan Kireev, a project manager at Skokovo’s IT Cluster, said cooperation with Autodesk could give resident startups an edge in gaming and gamification, a new area of development for the Skolkovo Foundation.

“For our startups it’s crucial to understand the Autodesk engine,” he noted.

According to a July report, Autodesk is the global CAD market leader and serves approximately 12 million professional users in more than 160 countries.  Looking to integrate its software into the world’s leading innovations hubs, Autodesk has signed a number of similar agreements in Russia and across the wider world.

Autodesk produces 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, continuing to expand its product portfolio that began with the flagship AutoCAD software in 1982.

Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they are created. Applications range from blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy, to electric cars and the batteries that power them.

Through its apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, Autodesk is accessible to professional and amateur designers, homeowners, students, and casual creators alike.