Can cooperation in education and science, research and innovation, new technologies be a driver of positive change?

For the first time, a session on cooperation with Europe, organized with the assistance of the Association of European Businesses: “Russian-European Relations Today and Tomorrow: Challenges and Opportunities for Business” was held on the margins of SPIEF-2019.

Business continues to function and achieve results despite the complicated political relations between Russia and the European Union. Economic cooperation between Russia and Europe has great potential given the geographic, historic, and cultural prerequisites. Rapid technological developments, the opening up of new markets, and business opportunities provide additional stimulus. European manufacturers maintain faith in the Russian market; they are expanding their investments in Russia, and searching for new collaborative solutions in partnership with Russian enterprises. Meanwhile Russian companies are actively strengthening their export capabilities.

 How can European and Russian companies best overcome the obstacles they face? What strategies have proven to be the most effective and how do companies view their future prospects? What practical areas of cooperation between Russia and the EU can compensate for the crises in relations between two partners united by a common continent, historic and cultural proximity, and tried-and-tested economic ties? Could cooperation in education and science, research and innovation, and new technologies act as a driver for positive change?

Here is a short report about the session, its moderator, speakers and experts.

Moderator of the session was Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman, Association of European Businesses; President, Russia and CIS, Schneider Electric.

“The West and Russia talk a lot about each other, but it’s time to listen to each other and talk to each other.” Today we are on the eve of  a revolution in terms of new technologies. We are watching a number of trends that we cannot ignore.

Speakers and experts

Frans van Houten, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Management and the Executive Committee, Royal Philips

You need to avoid the graveyard of equipment, whereby equipment is bought but not maintained. I am very much in favour of technology as a service, as a way forward. Many people are involved in data science and academic medical research. We have largest number of medical patents. We are on the second place with AI patents. We invest a great share of proceedings into R&D.
Corporation is responsible for creating new jobs. A global company must have a balanced team all over the world.
We need to nourish the culture, the culture of innovation, the culture of entrepreneurship, the culture where people would defend their point of view.

Florence Verzelen
Executive Vice-President for Industry Solutions, Marketing, Global Affairs and Communications, Dassault Systemes SE

The world of supply chains has been transformed under the influence of new technologies. <…> Digitalization can optimize all kinds of interactions. <…> We believe that this will improve productivity significantly. <…> We carefully study blockchain. When the goods are transported from one place to another, it is necessary to ensure the information stays unaltered. But we need to finalize the blockchain technology so that it’s not so expensive.

State Support as an Effective Tool for Securing Leadership in Innovation

There is one thing that works quite well, and this is what we call innovative centres. <…> They can be centres for learning new technologies.

Maksim Egorov. Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing, and Utilities of the Russian Federation

Ecology as a Measure of Quality of Life
In the regions where there is a normal tariff base, where the public-private partnership methods <…> are already working, we will continue this work.

Elisa Markula, President, Chief Executive Officer, Tikkurila Oyj Russia–Finland

As company representatives, we see a particular demand: all consumers want to know how the products were produced and where the raw material came from. They are willing to study and learn all the information.

Alexander Misharin, First Vice President, Russian Railways

Industrial Clusters: How to Make the Regions More Attractive to Investors
We are entering the international markets <…> Basically, we cover Russia’s entire transport <…> sector. If there are clusters, it will be easier for us to have a conversation.

Kris Peeters

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade, Combating Poverty, Equal Opportunities, and Disabled People of the Federal Government of the Kingdom of Belgium

I’m the ceo of Data Minded, a successful and fast-growing data engineering company. Besides my work at Data Minded, I actively support the Data Science community by being a co-orgnaiser of Data Science Leuven, giving free community trainings, recording podcasts about the people in Data Science and organising hackathons.

Nenad Popovic

Minister for Innovation and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia

The country’s sovereignty and energy security are synonyms, because a country can’t remain sovereign while not being engaged in generation of energy. Because sovereignty is at risk if energy comes from abroad.

New Investment Policy Mechanisms: Engines of Growth

I see a tremendous potential in innovation and digitalization. Digitalization of agriculture, especially in Russia, and Internet technologies in the agro-industrial sector is precisely the foundation for the fourth industrial revolution.

It took us a lot of effort to extend the nuclear facilities operation. <…> We see the kind of debate that is going on in the West, how much hypocrisy and double standards are involved. And when we support our neighbors, which is also a part of our policy, we struggle with hypocrisy and double standards, we put ourselves as an example.

The future of the economy: education as an investment

It is necessary to change economically, it is necessary to change the education system in order to develop. We are now experiencing a fourth industrial revolution, the Internet of things, digitalization. We constantly talk about it and all these concepts, all these things create a completely different platform for development and offer other tools that allow and require changing quickly enough.

Europe at a crossroads: risks and prospects

When we start saying that a more pragmatic cooperation between the EU and Russia is required, they will immediately say: pro-Putin, pro-Russian, etc. And we must choose: either you are for Putin, or you are for Trump … I am for Hungary! The decisions we make in Hungary are our national interests. Not Russian, not American.

Markus Ederer
Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation

Science is Doing What Politics Cannot Do

Science is one step ahead of politics when it comes to identifying solutions to humanity’s problems, such as water security and food security.

Science can often lay the foundation for political rapprochement. An example of this is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “Reflection and dialogue is the only way out of the difficult situation in relations between Europe and Russia”.

The aim of the work of the EU Delegation (Agency) in Russia as a whole is to expand mutual trust between Russia and Europe, as well as to support direct dialogue between citizens.

Anatoly Artamonov

Governor of Kaluga Region

Priority Strategies in the Supply of Drugs

Twelve years ago, there was not a single facility in our region producing medicines. Today, there are 62 members of our pharmaceutical cluster. We intend to develop this cluster further, because we are seeing synergy taking place. We are seeing producers of final dosage forms working together with companies producing active ingredients. There is cooperation.

We need to work on improving business ethics. Business people report that they are at odds over ways to operate.

Eric Benedetti

General Director, Signify Russia and CIS

Prospects for Partnership between Russia and the EU in Energy and Energy Efficiency

We see a great potential for cooperation with Russia in energy efficiency, energy saving, the use of lighting systems. <…> The transition to intelligent lighting systems is an important area of cooperation. We welcome this transition

The color light environment of the city: safety, aesthetics, energy efficiency.

A product for the Moscow market is coming out very soon. We use a pillar of the lighting system. It installs a 4G or 5G telecommunications system, a communication system. We can effectively use the space inside the lamppost to install cellular base stations.

We need to ensure that our system is fully open and that other systems can be connected to it, based on the smart cities platform that is in use today. <…> They (dispatchers – Ed.) Will be able to control the system, how it works, and provide access to it to the police, rescue and other services

Marcus Huth

Finance Director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Russia, Managing Director, Accenture

The main conclusion of this session discussion: Yes, cooperation and science, research and innovation, new technologies can be a driver of positive changes between RU and Russia relationship.

By Dr. Nelly Didenko, EuroScience Local Section in Russia, St. Petersburg

This article is part of the contribution on “Can Cooperation in Education and Science, Research and Innovation, New Technologies be a driver of positive change?”

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