Skoltech Supports Entrepreneurship in the Life Sciences

The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) supported the winter school Modern Biology and Biotech of the Future to teach Ph.D. students and recent graduates the latest developments in biology and biotech, entrepreneurial skills, and identify the most promising future directions in their fields.

Skoltech Founding Faculty Fellow Konstatin Severinov also participated speaking to the 70 Russian participants about his research on small RNA-based bacterial immunity as well as the university’s new Biomedical Master’s program.

“The winter school, encapsulated Skoltech’s values of integrating entrepreneurship with science and technology,” said Konstantin Severinov. “It was also a great opportunity to meet many bright and potential students. In fact, I was happily surprised by their interest in the Biomedical Master’s degree program and desire to know more about the curricula.”

Seventy young scientists, out of over 500 applicants, received the opportunity to participate in the winter school held January 26 to February 3 at Pushchino, Russia.

The lucky participants coming from all over Russia and the CIS listened to lectures about entrepreneurship in the biotech industry from individuals such as Russian Venture Company CEO Igor Agamirzyan. They also learned the most recent advances in science from leading Russian scientists, such as Pavel Balaban, Head of a lab on stem cell neurobiology studies at the Institute for Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Besides lectures, the participants engaged in workshops on research grant writing, how to establish patents, and the best practices in entrepreneurship, including collaborating with investors.

Toward the end of the winter school, the young scientists conducted a foresight exercise, giving their prognosis on what innovative technologies will arise from the life sciences in the upcoming decades. In a team environment, they identified what they believed to be the key sectors: Garage biotechnology (do it yourself), engineering ecosystems, developing neurointerfaces, and personalizing medicines in the “ics” (genomics, proteomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and metabolics).

The school was initiated by a group of young scientists lead by Professor Mikhail Gelfand, Vice Director of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems, RAS and the educational organization Future Biotech. Partnering organizations and institutions include: Russian Venture Company, the Dynasty Foundation, the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, Skoltech, Phystech, companies Gakhalim and Khimexpert as well as Novartis.

Modern Biology and Biotech of the Future is the second in a series of schools in the life sciences, the first taking place in August 2012. A third is expected to take place in August 2013 on entrepreneurship and science in biotech. For more information visit Future Biotech.

For further coverage of the event (in Russian) see: biomolecula.ru

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