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University technology dialogue rounded into discussing of ways to create an entrepreneurial university

October 07, 2011

During the Dialogue the representatives of Tomsk region Administration, Ritsumeikan University, TUSUR, TPU and TSU debated the ways of creating an Entrepreneurial University. The round table discussion was moderated by Head of Department of International Cooperation Dr Gennady Kobzev.

The participants talked over three main topics:

  • What is an Entrepreneurial University?
  • What pushes a University to become entrepreneurial one?
  • What are the key persons and actions to make a University entrepreneurial one?

Head of International and Regional Relations Department of Tomsk region Administration Dr. Alexey Stukanov said that one of the main problems of modern universities in Russia is the absence of mechanism for ideas commercialization. At the same time the Tomsk region Administration expects that the commercialization of innovations can raise the living standards of region population. Dr. Stukanov noticed that Tomsk is characterized by effective competition between universities. The Vice Dean of Faculty of Innovative Technologies, Ms. Irina Pavlova, noted in her presentation that many universities are like “ivory towers” where scientific research is done for the sake of research doing process. An Entrepreneurial university is different because ideas and research results are implemented into products.

Prof. Frank Renaldo, from Ritsumeikan University said that one of the crucial tasks to be solved by universities is cooperation with business he is convinced that “Researchers should be directly connected with companies, and this cooperation should be a “two-way street”.

Alexander Uvarov, TUSUR Vice-Rector for Innovative Development and International Affairs, noted that the income from R&D is an important source of financial support for world's leading universities. For this reason, an important characteristic of Entrepreneurial University is a substantial budget for these activities. “TUSUR is steering the idea of a triple helix – a model of interaction between University, Business, and Government, for innovative development.

In the end of September, Skolkovo Foundation and such leading Russian universities as IFMO, MIPT, MEPHI, TUSUR, MISIS signed the declaration of establishing the Association of Russian Entrepreneurial Universities, thus TUSUR is planning to develop cooperation with Skolkovo Foundation in order assure infrastructural and political support of entrepreneurship,- said Alexander Uvarov. Dean of The Parsons New School of Design, Dr. Thomas Werner, is assured that real businessmen are those who go through borders of common way of thinking. Students need new forms of education in order to start thinking in a new direction. It is a necessary condition for university to achieve the status of entrepreneurial one. Also students should be trained in Management, e.g team coordination, finance, projects management etc. All that could be created on university basis, in business incubators or using partner organizations facilities. It’s necessary to create the opportunities which allow students of different faculties to work as team. This could help to increase the level of business activity and initiative.

An entrepreneurial university need to take into consideration the global context- affirms Ritsumeikan University professor Victor Kryssanov. University turning entrepreneurial should become multicultural and have an international status. “Engineering subjects must be taught first and management goes after”, believes Professor Kryssanov.

Head of the TUSUR Center for corporative development, Mrs. Liana Kobzeva, represented results of research on the readiness of academic community to accept the entrepreneurial mission of the university. According to these results, academic community believes that business is not prestigious today, communication between departments is not well developed, and young specialists do not see much perspective in their career. Meanwhile university community sees some positive sites in TUSUR corporate culture: success in solving unresolved engineering problems within the USSR large scale projects, several strong rectors, who gave to the University the possibility of breakthrough, development of team sports. It is a major rule of team work in projects and business. The research shows that in order to become entrepreneurial TUSUR needs to follow four priority lines: development of business culture, scientific and engineering school succession, strengthening of Internet positioning, shaping of career development culture.

Following Liana Kobzeva's presentation, Professor of Ritsumeikan University Hideto Ikeda mentioned, that Japanese professors prefer to do research rather than business. According to professor, only 5 % of students want to run their own business, and more than 90% want to work in large companies.

Dean of Innovation Technologies Department, Dr Yury Lirmak, is confident that the central mission of university is research and knowledge generation.

Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Hideto Ikeda, said that the desire of students to become company employees or businessmen depends on culture and mentality. The USA are famous for their risk culture that pushes to create private companies, so it is very important for Russian students to answer the question whether they want to take the risk of creating their own business”, said Prof. Frank Renaldo.

Hsiang-Yi Chen, graduate student of TUSUR Faculty of Innovative Technologies emphasized in her speech that Taiwanese students prefer to start companies with their professors, or get experience working in a company first and then start their own business. After four days of the University Dialogue, the participants decided to produce a list of recommendations to improve existing partnerships and to enhance the further technological dialogue between our institutions.

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