Senators from the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, visited the Skolkovo innovation city on Tuesday to hold an external committee meeting and tour the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech).

The subcommittee for financial control of the Federation Council’s budget and financial markets committee held a meeting at the Skolkovo Technopark, at which senators had the opportunity to find out more about the working of the Skolkovo innovation city, much of which is being built using state funds.

The Federation Council senators held a committee meeting before touring the facilities of Skoltech. Photo:

Victor Vekselberg, president of the Skolkovo Foundation that is overseeing the creation of the Skolkovo innovation centre, thanked the senators for coming and answered questions from members of the committee.

Addressing a question about the grants that the foundation awards to its resident startups, Vekselberg said that the foundation’s primary aim was not to issue grants, but to support innovative tech startups through a range of services such as helping them to register patents for their intellectual property and enter international markets. In 2015, 17 percent of all international patents in Russia originated from Skolkovo, Igor Drozdov, chairman of the board of the Skolkovo Foundation, told the committee members.

Eleven percent of the innovation centre’s 1,600 startups have been awarded grants, said Drozdov, adding that the grants helped the companies to bring their products to market.

Eduard Rossel, a member of the budget and financial markets committee, praised the Skolkovo Foundation for beginning to repair the loss to Russian science brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union, in whose wake many of Russia’s most talented scientists emigrated abroad.

“Let’s remember what we lost in those 25 years: all those patents, all that scientific knowledge,” said Rossel.

“Skolkovo is a great example of the development of Russia’s intellectual capital, and should be supported in every way possible,” he said, adding that more funding was needed for scientific research.

Rossel, the former governor of the Sverdlovsk region in the Urals, also suggested that branches of Skolkovo should be created across the country to stimulate high-tech industries in Russia’s regions.