President of the FEFU: Our goal is to become a platform for NTI companies to enter Asian markets

: Kirill Kukhmar | TASS |

The Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) is ready to become a starting point for the National Technology Initiative (NTI) projects to access the markets of the Asia-Pacific region (APR), as Nikita Anisimov, who was appointed to the post of the FEFU President in December 2017, said in his interview with the editorial board of the website.

The University developed their own profile of competition: “Water Robotic Systems” and launched it at the NTI Olympiad; in collaboration with “Cyber Russia”, a leadership project of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), they opened a master program on VR/AR technology and blockchain, and now they intend to become a NTI center in the field of neurotechnology. Nikita Anisimov told about it in detail in a conversation with Yury Sushinov who represents the ASI’s “Young Professionals” direction.

- Nikita, the FEFU has many projects and plans related to the National Technology Initiative. Which of NTI’s end-to-end technologies do you think is promising for the University?

- These are NeuroTech, the Virtual and Augmented Reality. We look forward for the development of these competences in cooperation with the University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, and other colleagues. The FEFU has pipelines and good contacts with partners in the Pacific Rim countries. Since this academic year, we have started a master program on virtual and augmented reality and blockchain. In a strategic perspective, we consider NeuroTech connected to these technologies.

- The University launched a master program on virtual and augmented reality on November 1. The “Russky” Technopark started working. Tell me, how do you see the further development of the University and its involvement in the National Technology Initiative?

- In modern world, the mission of any University is to be a center of creation and implementation of long-term strategies and big challenge solutions. It is unlikely that anywhere else, except for the University, there are so many people who have time and energy to think about the future and to intellectually develop the same. So, the FEFU, as a university, must fulfill this mission. Within the framework of the NTI and other strategies, such as the “Digital Economy” or the strategy for the scientific and technological development of Russia, the FEFU must be an active participant in the dialogue about the future. We believe that the University not only can, but also must participate in the implementation of the NTI, while upgrading and updating it through our participation.

- What contribution can the University make?

- We must divide the groundwork and our opportunities. If we talk about the groundwork, there are many areas in which the FEFU has already joined the NTI. The MarinNet project for underwater robotics within the NTI market has been submitted for approval. Under this project, we collaborate with the State Maritime University named after Nevelsky and the Center for the Development of Robotics. The University considers itself as an active participant in the process of building the future in the field of maritime technology. This year, our team for underwater robotics won first prize at the international Asian Championships in Singapore, and took the second place in the world.

In the University, we launched the Russia’s first master program on augmented and virtual reality in collaboration with the Cyber Russia project. We will further develop this direction, marshaling around it the efforts that exist in the University and outside it. I am sure that we are able to obtain a status of the NTI university center in the field of neurotechnology, virtual and augmented reality.

At the same time, the FEFU is the Russia’s best point of interaction with the markets of the Asia-Pacific region, especially taking into consideration the role of the Eastern Economic Forum, the territories of advanced development, the free port of Vladivostok, and the special status of the Russky Island. If businesses are ready to support the technology initiative, the University can become a starting point for them to access the ATR markets. Indeed, this is the main goal of the NTI: to create national champions of the global market. Our University is ready to become a kind of foothold for them and a launching platform to enter the ATR markets.

- The Russky Technopark has been created for international expansion

- “Made in Russky” is a good slogan to promote our goods in international markets. One of our nearest steps will be creating an accelerator for technological solutions in the field of education. We just agreed to support the ROBBO project by Pavel Frolov from Saint Petersburg. By the way, this project is being supported by the ASI, and it has recently successfully passed the examination by the NTI project committee on the “club activities” roadmap. It is aimed at interacting with the Chinese market, creating their 15 thousand robotics clubs, and we will assist it with the Russky Technopark.

- During the opening of the Boiling Point in Vladivostok, you stated a shortage of human resources in the Far East, so the FERU intends to attract students from all over the country and abroad due to unique educational modules.

- Indeed, there are still few of us in the Far East. But this fact increases the value of each person who lives in the region. Creating an intellectual center here, such as a federal university, we should rely on new opportunities, that become available due to the development of digital technology, the general social connectivity with other regions, including through Boiling Points. To build a new competence in the FERU, there is no longer need for transporting a laboratory here, to accommodate it and to resettle specialists with their families to the Russky Island. Of course, it would be very nice if they come. Nevertheless, it is no less important to create here hubs of large networks, network communities competent in a certain field. This is what we did when opening the master program on VR/AR. We attracted people from the community involved in hackathons and startups in the field of virtual reality. Not all of them came here in person. But thanks to the constant network communication with specialists from all over Russia and abroad, the educational program on virtual reality exists in a wider space than just on the Russky Island.

We see the same situation in the scientific sphere. We invited Riccardo Valentini, an outstanding world renown scientist, Professor of the University of Tuscia (Italy) and the Head of the European Mediterranean Climate Change Center, to work in the FEFU, where he headed a climate research laboratory. The laboratory is engaged in the development of the modern environmental policy in the Asia-Pacific region based on a systemic analysis of global models and regional monitoring. Here, on the Russky Island, there are few people who are present in the laboratory. Professor Valentini contacts them via Internet, and this allows involving all members of his laboratories worldwide, the entire broad network of scientific contacts into educational programs and scientific research.

- What is the Boiling Point for you, how do you see its activities?

- For the easternmost university in the country, it is very important to overcome our spatial isolation from the rest of Russia and, at the same time, to make the most of our geographic proximity to potential partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region. For us, the Boiling Point is a teleport that opens the opportunity to quickly reach people – via a combination of social and technical contacts – who can strengthen the University by their competences and knowledge, their social capital, just by their understanding of the situation. This is a space to gather people who create the future. The fact that Boiling Points are being built throughout Russia, is an opportunity for people in many regions to get in one large virtual Boiling Point, where they can create the future together and approach it faster.