Gazprombank and NTSR: Promotion of Innovations and New Opportunities in the Nanoindustry
For the development of the nanotechnology industry in Russia is especially important an assessment of Vladimir Putin – the President of the RF, who in one of the last year’s interview said that "nanotechnology is one of the general ways of science, engineering, technology. And in general in Russia a lot of useful things were made in this industry". Concerning the activities of Rusnano Vladimir Putin said that nanotechnology is a complex area and the idea of creating of this company belonged to him.
Today, the assessment of the development of Russian nanoindustry must be made the account of the goals and objectives that have been approved by the Russian Government in the Development Programme for the nanotechnology Industry until 2015. But their achievements are highly problematical. Thus, the main indicator is the increasing in the production of nanoproducts by 2015 to 3% of the total world capacity, but today this value estimated by American Research Company BCC Research is on the level of about 0.4%. It must be noted, that the rate of growth of the nanotechnical products manufacture globally is high and takes according to the same company an average annual rate of over 16%. Therefore, solving of the main task of the Russian nanotechnology industry – achievement of the planned growth in production volumes of nanotechnical products – is possible only with the active participation of regional business. We are talking about co-financing through public- private partnership investment projects and programs for modernization and development of existing and creation of new industries using nanotechnology and nanomaterials. In the regions, where the business is involved in co-financing projects, such as the Republic of Tatarstan, Tomsk region, Kaluga, Ulyanovsk, the growth rate of production of nanotechnical products is significant.
In order to promote and commercialize the ideas and projects, it is equally important to establish effective cooperation between the specialized design network in the field of nanotechnology and the major scientific and education centers, research and design institutes of Russia, which have the necessary personnel, who on the basis of the achievements of chemistry, physics, materials science, mathematical modeling find new solutions to create breakthrough nanotechnologies.
In general, in my opinion, the conditions for an effective legal and regulatory framework for state regulation and private investment in the innovation economy through public-private partnerships, including by reducing of the tax base of enterprises-investors are formed in today’s Russia.
Which mechanisms for innovation promotion in the nanotechnology industry offers the NTSR?
First of all, it should be noted that innovation in the field of nanotechnology with the scientific and technological point of view based on a targeted regulation on nanoscale properties of objects, determined their fundamental parameters. Unlike conventional technologies, such projects are characterized by high science intensity and cost, while the solving issues by "trial and error" method is significantly reduced in them, which is traditionally used in applied research. In developed countries, the approaches to promote projects in the field of nanotechnology, allowing to carry out large-scale investments are found, and the NTSR aim is to accelerate a similar process in Russia.
In the past years within the NTSR, we have created a system, which is designed to facilitate the promotion of promising innovations to the stage of industrial application. It was created, first and foremost, for assistance in obtaining of financing. In the first phase, the developers present their projects in the NTSR, we carry out an expert evaluation and, if innovation is economically feasible, offer recommendations on organizing the financial support involving government and non-government sources. It should be noted that the methodological and expert consulting assistance is provided free of charge. The next stage – organization of the project financing – is performed on a contractual basis.
The working group, established under NTSR for preliminary selection of projects, surely, considers all possible schemes and organization tools for their financing, taking into account the capabilities of finance institutions of development – federal programs, foundations and the banks. For example, one of the leading Russian banks - "Gazprombank" in practice is working on financing investment projects in the field of nanotechnology. Its base is the order for financing of investment projects adopted in the bank, as well as a memorandum of cooperation signed by the chairman of the Gazprombank management board Andrey Akimov and CEO of Rusnano Anatoly Chubais. In accordance with the memorandum Gazprombank and Rusnano consider each other as strategic partners and intend to coordinate the work in the development of innovation infrastructure in the field of nanotechnology and promising projects in the nanotechnology industry. So, Gazprombank expressed readiness to organize long-term (10 years) financing of the Corporation under state guarantees, as well as to establish for Rusnano the limit of credit risk in the amount of up to 20 billion rubles. Furthermore, Gazprombank will consider the possibility of providing to the companies implementing the projects in the field of nanotechnology of the debt totally up to 10 billion rubles for up to 7 years, as well as financing the acquisition of foreign equipment within the guarantees of export credit agencies in total to 5 billion rubles.
In addition, the bank will consider investments in registered capital of project companies generally up to 5 billion rubles. Implementingof the agreement, Gazprombank becames a commercial partner of Rusnano and SPE "Saturn" in a joint venture "New instrumental solutions" for production of tools with multi-layer nanostructured coating.
Rusnano, for its side, intends to use on a competitive basis the services of Gazprombank for financial consulting for implementation of package deals, organization of syndicated financing, issuing of infrastructure bonds, financing of the projects with other debt instruments.
In the framework of cooperation as Vice President of Gazprombank, jointly with colleagues from Rusnano, I am working on organizing of a number of investment programs to finance the projects initiated by residents of a special economic zone Alabuga in the Republic of Tatarstan. Its final products are, for example, caprone thread and polymer net obtained with the use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials.
Please, give the examples of investment projects, which are now being implemented with the participation of the NTSR.
Currently, NTSR works to promote a number of major projects, some of them have already received funding, including the projects with my participation. In particular, we can note the projects in the field of polymer photonics, creating of industrial production of nanoproducts containing plastics, as well as the industrial production of high-performance valves for pumps used in oil extraction.
I would like to highlight the investment projects supported by the President of the NTSR CEO of NT-MDT V.A.Bykov on development of instrument-making for the nanotechnology industry and creation of equipment, technologies and design tools for VLSI production, demand for which is high in Russia and on the world market. The project of the Institute of Immunology and Physiology of Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences on regulation of nanoscale processes in modern immunophysiology is characterized by good market prospects and high social importance. This project is being realized under the supervision of A.A.Chereshnev, the chairman of the State Duma Committee for Science and High Technologies, Vice President of NTSR.
Simultaneous with the promotion of innovative projects, NTSR performs systematic work on identification of new ideas, scientific and technological solutions that have good prospects for further commercialization. For this purpose NTSR jointly with the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and with the support of its Secretary Academician E.P.Velikhov hold monthly seminars with the scientific community, business representatives and concerned ministries and agencies, which consider the reports on the most important directions of development of nanotechnologies. The priorities are given to the developments for creation of nanotechnology products for robotics, biotechnology, new management of natural resources and human health management means for new medicine. Information about projects and scientific research, promotion of which is carried out with the participation of t NTSR published on the website www.rusnor.org.
Are there any projects focused on long-term prospect?
Many of my colleagues and me are very interesting the project of Innokont, dedicated to the creation of extraterrestrial settlements, primarily on the Moon. Moreover, it is a task of the present day. For example, China’s spaceflight program provides for the creation of the first settlements on the Moon by 2025. Solving of these issues without nanotechnologies is not possible. For example, nanomodification of high-molecular polyethylene serving as an excellent building material, which does not loose its high strength properties at a large temperature drop, including close to absolute zero. And in general, reliable life support systems extraterrestrial settlements without nanoindustry is impossible to create. By the way, these developments are relevant for the development of the Far North.
You were the chairman of the committee on development of the nanotechnology industry in the Republic of Tatarstan, the initiator of the development and implementation of agreements between the Rusnano and the Republic, as well as a comprehensive program of nanoindustry project development in Tatarstan. Which are the current priorities in the Republic in this area?
The priorities of the nanoindustry development are identified by the Cabinet of Ministers by the decision "On approval of the long-term special-purpose programme "Development of the nanotechnology industry in the Republic of Tatarstan for 2013-2016 years". The increase in the production and consumption volumes of high-tech products in the field of nanotechnology is identified as one of the key areas. To perform this task along with the development of the project activity, new manufacturing companies are being created. The "innovative elevator" created in the Republic will stimulate attraction of investments into creation of new works. Preliminary results of the socio-economic development in 2013 allow predict that the goal – increasing of production and consumption of nanotechnological products in the Republic from 17 to 50 billion rubles respectively – will be achieved by 2016. It should be noted, that taking into the account the high level of development of petrochemical and engineering industries in the Republic, the priority support of the Cabinet of Ministers and financial institutions will be given to innovative projects in these sectors of the economy. However, if an innovation is perspective and promises high competitiveness of the final product it could be implemented in any economic sector of the country.
Under what kind of circumstances you have initiated using of the term "nanoindustry"?
In 2007 in the framework of preparation for the first agreement between the Republic of Tatarstan and Rusnano the task was formulated for the active promotion of development of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the real economy. This required on the one hand bringing them to the stage of commercial production, on the other hand – the implementation of projects for production of high competitive nanotechnological products. Collectively, this is the nanoindustry. By the way, there were many discussions on this subject, but we came to an agreement and the term was fixed in a special glossary.
Thank you for the interesting interview.