Futures look bright in Skolkovo

How one area within Moscow is providing the world with technological, medical and academic innovation.

This article has been written for the UKEdMagazine Supplement focusing on the Moscow Global Forum – City of Education 2019 event. You can find out more information about the MGF2019 at https://moscowglobalforum.ru/en

Take note of the name – Skolkovo. You will be familiar with the name Silicon Valley, but if you delve deep into the name, you will see an ethnically diverse selection of programmers, designers and leaders in technology drawn to the USA to hone and develop their technological skills. With tax and financial incentives, talent has congregated from around the world to make Silicon Valley a force within itself, impacting on lives (positively and negatively) on a daily basis.

But why should one nation and one region dominate so much when there is a reliance on international talent? That’s one of the main premises behind the development of Skolkovo Park on the western outskirts of Moscow, encouraging innovative development within the realms of technology, engineering and medicine.

Spread over a site covering 1,000 acres, Skolkovo was launched in 2010 by Dmitry Medvedev, the then Russian president, as the flagship of his campaign to modernise the economy. Work is well underway to build modern medical facilities, allowing for research and less reliance on external interferences that can slow or stop development in its tracks.

Alongside, Boeing has a research and flight testing unit on the site, with many other technologies, engineering and smaller businesses who use the vast space to develop and produce their products. At the heart of the site stands the main buildings of the park, including the start-up hub and the impressively designed Skolkovo University.

Skolkovo University

Engineers at work at Skolkovo University

At the heart of the park is the impressive Skolkovo University that focuses on STEM at a postgraduate level to encourage innovation. Beyond the academic rigours that are expected at such an institution, the university invites students from around the world to undertake their research, being offered stipends, in many cases, supporting the brightest, innovative minds.

Skolkovo Start-ups

A shared space area in the main Skolkovo building.

Providing a space for innovation, creativity and research, Skolkovo offers fantastic areas to help businesses to develop. For the smaller start-up business, shared spaces allow a low-cost flexible opportunity to work with like-minded individuals when taking those formative steps in building the company and product. As businesses grow, Skolkovo enables office growth, although the demand for office space within the area is highly sought after.

EdTech Start-ups

Of note, exploring some of the educational based technology companies using Skolkovo as their base, three companies stood out in offering technological solutions to teaching and learning:

SKYENG

SKYENG.RU is an online English school popular within Russia. Also based in Cyprus, the company offers students language skills to develop speaking English. Initially focused on teaching English language skills to adults, the company has evolved developing a resource aimed at children and young people.

YACLASS

YACLASS.EU is a learning content platform covering 16 school subjects within Russia, with an exploration of conscious intelligence. The platform covers 40,000 of the 43,000 schools within Russia. Using computer algorithms, the platform ensures progression and deep learning with its students, ensuring that students remain engaged, challenged and supported.

DRAGONLEARN

Dragonlearn is a global learning platform with a focus on mathematics, science, English and coding aimed at primary aged students through game-based learning activities. The company is also behind the development of BRICSMath, a large-scale competition reaching across borders to compete locally and internationally in mathematical skills.

Skolkovo

Skolkovo Park demonstrates the ambitions of a nation. The energy, commitment and belief within the community is to be applauded, and the innovations being developed and made within Skolkovo will not only have a positive impact on the local population but also make the world a better place.

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