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Research / Discovery

Collaboration with Russian university to take laboratory innovation to marketplace

November 1, 2010

Economic development and technology transfer experts from Saratov State University in Russia are visiting their Colorado State University counterparts for several weeks to learn the U.S. approach to commercializing laboratory inventions.

The Saratov State University partnership with CSU is the only such bilateral university relationship that is recognized by the Russian Federation.

The partnership could someday lead to joint ownership of technology between the United States and Russia.

The Office of the Vice President for Engagement and the Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF, are hosting the Russian visitors through Friday, Nov. 5. CSURF aids the university with intellectual property patenting and licensing management, real estate, and financing of equipment.

The two universities established a formal strategic partnership a year ago, which includes a Saratov State representation office at Colorado State University. Saratov State University is one of 27 Russian universities designated as a National Research University. The partnership with Colorado State is the only such bilateral university relationship that is recognized by the Russian Federation.

The partnership seeks to establish long-term institutional research, teaching, and extension relationships that include joint research and commercialization of intellectual property.

New territory for Russian university

“This relationship protects their intellectual property as they venture into what is relatively new territory,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for Engagement at Colorado State. “We’re working with their intellectual property managers so that our two systems are compatible in jointly commercializing intellectual property. This is a truly new partnership innovation between a Russian university and an American university.”

Support for Russian university researchers disappeared with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990, said Boris Rakitin, vice rector in International Affairs at Saratov State University, who serves as second-in-command at his university. Now, like their U.S. university counterparts, university administrators seek technology transfer opportunities as an additional source of revenue.

Russia passed a law allowing universities to commercialize technology in 2009.

Previously, “the owner of all intellectual property was the state – it was forbidden for universities to do any commercialization of intellectual property,” Rakitin said. “It was a hard time for Russia over the 20 years since (the breakup of the Soviet Union) and there was not such a demand. Under Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev, they say we should go this direction: The universities should have additional money for researchers other than what the state has to give them.”

Promising technologies

Saratov State University has promising technologies including artificial skin that heals severe burns – now in clinical trials in Russia – and such clean energy advancements as slower, more efficient wind turbines and a chemical catalyst that eliminates engine and stove emissions, Rakitin said.

Other members of the Russian delegation visiting Colorado State:

• Maria V. Storozhenko, director, Office for International Programs
• Liana E. Gritsak, Vice director of Department for Commercialization
• Olga Y. Chelnokova, associate professor, Department of Economic Theory and Economics
• Natalia V. Romanova, director of Center for Patent Services
• Maria K. Trofimova, assistant, Office of the Rector

Assisting with the collaboration is Alex Kuraev-Maxah, partnership coordinator for the Vice President of Engagement at Colorado State.

Full news release

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336