“Dmitry Anatolyevich, haven’t you forgotten something?” the crowd surrounding the Russian Prime Minister, ready to leave the Skoltech students and leadership he had just met, turned their heads. It is not everyday that a graduate student calls upon Dmitry Medvedev to halt to a stop. “We have a gift for you. Would you like to take it?” Medvedev grinned, his security detail relaxed. The photographers shuffled back to the little table where students Aidana Nurzhanova and Nikita Rodichenko were waiting for the Prime Minister of Russia with a goody bag.
Inside it nestled a quadrocpoter, a four-propeller drone, designed and custom built by the Student Engineering Club. Another handshake, one more smile for the cameras and the entourage departed once more.
“That went quite well,” Skoltech’s president Ed Crawley observed, “we are having a good day.” But when Medvedev spoke with the media the rector’s day got even better.
“Skoltech will be a major scientific center, a top university which draws foreign researchers and specialists”, the Prime Minister declared from the main stage at Startup Village, “I thank the international scientists who have come to Russia to help build the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology”. His remarks were carried by Russian news agencies and broadcast on prime time TV news, then went viral – shared, retweeted, and posted to social networks.
And yet Skoltech’s day at Startup Village 2014 was not only about VIP guests. Entrepreneurs and professors met at the 4th Innovation Program Conference, organized by the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; students competed with guests at a drones tournament (with a 12 year old pilot called Kyrill becoming an overnight sensation); Skoltech leadership participated in panels and discussions; and a young Russian physicist spoke to the audience through a robot – after learning she had won Science Drive 2014 and will spend the next year working in Manchester with Nobel laureate Andre Geim.
Here are are the pictures that sum up one of the busiest days Skoltech had this year.
* The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is a private graduate research university in Skolkovo, Russia, a suburb of Moscow. Established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT, Skoltech educates global leaders in innovation, advance scientific knowledge, and foster new technologies to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. Applying international research and educational models, the university integrates the best Russian scientific traditions with twenty-first century entrepreneurship and innovation.