Skoltech Translational Research and Innovation Program has recently reached a new stage of its development. One of its projects was approved by the expert committee of the Skolkovo Foundation and received the right to fill an application to get assignment status of Skolkovo Innovation Center Project Participant. The project named “Superhydrophobic and oleophobic textile finishing in supercritical carbon dioxide” was developed within the Program in 2014-2015 jointly with team of scientists from Physical department of Moscow State University.
The subject of the research was to develop a new technology for textile coating.
As a result of participation in the Program, prototypes of superhydrophobic textile for sportswear, nonwoven filtering materials and gas diffusion electrodes for fuel cells were created.
The reason of applying to the Skolkovo Foundation was to scale up the technology and create pilot production.
Project leader Mikhail Kondratenko, PhD at the Physical department of Moscow State University, said: “Participation in the Skoltech Translational Research and Innovation Program, particularly support of our catalysts George Mabry, Evgeny Kryukov and Alex Kosik helped us to structure our project and to bring it to a new stage of development. We came out of the lab and started communication with the companies, with the market. As a result we succeeded to pass the competitive selection and get an approval to be a participant of Skolkovo Foundation project.”
Dmitry Pebalk, Skoltech Innovation Program Manager, elaborates on the process: “At the stage of competitive selection, the project of Mikhail Kondratenko was evaluated by the specialists of the Program as potentially interesting, but high-risky. We offered to the team to split the project into 2 parts in order to decide whether to prolong financing according to the results obtained at the end of 2014. However, project team was very ambitious, started to realize it and showed high readiness to communicate with potential partners. We definitely had no doubt to continue our collaboration further in 2015. By the way, we understood that for the team, participation in the Program would be just the first step towards practical realization of created technical solutions. Therefore, we agreed on long term collaboration and would be happy to assist the project, particularly, in its new status of Skolkovo Foundation participant. For Skoltech this experience is very important since now there is no doubt that the mechanisms of support of early stage projects from laboratory to first prototypes are entirely functional. And we try to develop these mechanisms further taking into account best international practices, including Deshpande Center of MIT“.
The Program provides critical support for participating teams to help establish proof of concept and provide assistance with advancing their technology towards commercialization, including pre-start up identification of high potential market opportunities, intellectual property management, and, if appropriate, team development. This helps to reduce two major types of risk – technical and marketing, ensuring that the invention meets the market technological requirements and finds its niche. Thus, Program promotes applied research and motivates research teams to take risk and be entrepreneurial.