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RosBusiness Consulting / October 09, 2002 5:39 AM EST
Science and Industry Ministry reports allocations for innovative projects
Значительная часть бюджета Российской Академии наук на 2003 год будет вложена в инновационные проекты
MOSCOW, Russia, Oct 09, 2002 (RosBusinessConsulting via COMTEX) -- Up to 2bn rubles (about $63m) can be allocated from the 2003 budget for financing the most important innovative project of state importance, First Deputy Minister of Industry, Science and Technologies Andrey Fursenko announced at the conference 'Intellectual property in micro economics' in Moscow today. The official noted that within this program the state would undertake technological risks in the production of intellectual property. He announced that these state investments would be returned during the third year of the program's implementation due to tax payments. Answering a question of an RBC correspondent, the deputy minister said it would be expedient to spend half of the planned 40bn-ruble budget allocations for sciences (about $1.26bn) on innovative projects. According to Fursenko, a significant part of the 2003 budget of the Russian Academy of Sciences (13bn rubles, or $410m) could be allocated for the development of intellectual property, including high-tech solutions.
© Copyright 2002, RosBusinessConsulting. All Rights Reserved
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THE MOSCOW TIMES / 14 October, 2002
U.S. Fund Eyes $100M High-Tech Investment
Американский фонд рассматривает план инвестиций в российские высокие технологии
- Victoria Lavrentieva, Staff Writer
A leading Silicon Valley venture fund plans to pump a sizeable portion of the $3 billion it currently has under management into Russian high-tech start-ups.
Tim Draper, founder and managing director of California-based Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said Friday his company could put as much as $100 million into its first Russia-dedicated venture fund.
"I do believe that we will see globally successful technological companies, comparable with Microsoft or Intel, coming out of Russia in the next two to three years," Draper told reporters during a scouting visit to Moscow, adding however, that DFJ is still in the planning phase for its Russian operations.
One of the world's largest venture capital funds, DFJ has lent support to several IT majors, including e-mail services giant Hotmail and leading web portal Yahoo, and now focuses on neo-technologies, artificial intelligence and commercial applications for military products. DFJ has 11 funds and 19 offices worldwide, and eight of the several hundred companies it has invested are worth more than $1 billion. Draper said that DFJ is looking to finance entrepreneurs who have unique products that can fill market niches and have a strategic advantage over similar technologies over several years.
Location, however, is not an important criterion for the fund. "We can move the company to another country where the product is most needed, or we can just split production and sales, as we often do", he said.
Russia has many unique products to offer, Draper said, recalling his first investment in a technology born of Russian ideas. In 1985, a Russian scientist named Sam Geisberg contacted him in the United States and convinced him that his ideas for mechanical designing were worth investing in.
"Now he is the owner of the Parametric Technology Corp., which is worth $8 billion and is one of the largest companies in the United States", Draper said.
He said that due to a downward trend in the U.S. high-tech market, there is lower competition for newly funded companies in other countries.
Draper said he would meet with local fund managers to share experiences in the country. "We are planning to have discussions with Delta Capital, Sputnik Fund and Alfa Capital regarding our possible cooperation in the near future", he said.
Kirill Dmitriyev, head of technology investments for Delta Capital, which has $450 million invested in Russia, welcomed the interest shown by DFJ, saying there are too few venture capital funds in the country.
"Most people, including Delta Capital, prefer to invest in the food industry and financial sector", Dmitriyev said. "At the same time, we agree that it is a good time to invest in technologies, and we already have several such projects", he said.
"What is so special about DFJ is that they can offer worldwide marketing for innovative Russian products because they know the needs of the American and other markets very well".
© Copyright 2002 THE MOSCOW TIMES all rights reserved
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Background Notes on Countries of the World / Oct2002 Russia, p1, 26p
International Science and Technology Center (ISTC). In a multilateral effort involving the European Union, Japan, and Canada, the United States has provided more than $100 million to the Moscow-based ISTC for redirection of former Soviet weapons scientists to peaceful civilian research and development activities in Russia. This U.S. assistance is in addition to millions of dollars in contributions from the EU, Canada, Norway, Japan, and South Korea. The ISTC provides alternative peaceful civilian employment opportunities to scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union involved with weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. To date, the ISTC has funded more than 500 projects involving more than 21,000 Russian scientists.
Bio Redirection Assistance. The U.S. Government also continued to help redirect former Soviet biological weapons (BW) scientists and facilities in Russia to important public health and agricultural research through programs funded by the Department of State and implemented by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA) in conjunction with the ISTC. An estimated $16 million in Bio Redirection collaborative research projects are being implemented in Russia, including travel for Russian scientists to the United States to work with counterparts, as well as training and communication upgrades at biotechnical institutes to facilitate interaction with the international scientific community.
Civilian Research and Development Foundation. Similarly, the Department of State continued its support of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), a non-governmental, nonprofit foundation established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation with $5 million from the DoD CTR program and a $5 million grant from the Soros Foundation. CRDF funds collaborations on civilian basic and applied research to redirect the efforts of former weapons scientists toward peaceful purposes and promote the development of market economies. In Russia, CRDF awarded $7.2 million in Competitive Grants to Russian projects in FY 2001, made 84 Travel Grants to Russian scientists and initiated 11 new "Next Steps to the Market" Grant Program awards.
Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP). The DOE's IPP Program provides meaningful, sustainable, non-weapons-related work for former Soviet weapons-of-mass-destruction (WMD) scientists, engineers, and technicians in the NIS through commercially viable market opportunities. IPP provides seed funds for the identification and maturation of technology and facilitates interactions between U.S. industry and NIS institutes for developing industrial partnerships, joint ventures, and other mutually beneficial arrangements.
Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI). NCI was established by DOE in late FY 1998 to help Russia provide new employment opportunities to the workers who are displaced through downsizing of the Russian nuclear weapons complex. DOE has initially concentrated its efforts on three focus cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk, and Zheleznogorsk, which house the two Russian weapons-design laboratories and a plutonium production enterprise. NCI is helping to create the conditions under which new jobs can be created through economic diversification in these closed cities.
© Copyright of Background Notes is the property of Superintendent of Documents
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Business2.com / October 2002 Issue
Did Newton Get It Wrong?
Evgeny Podkletnov's antigravity technology may sound far-fetched, but it's attracting serious interest from the likes of NASA and Boeing
Russian scientist Evgeny Podkletnov is challenging one of the most sacred tenets of physics - the law of gravity. Podkletnov claims that when objects are placed above a high-temperature, superconducting ceramic disk rotating within an electromagnetic field, the objects lose as much as 2 percent of their original weight. He calls the effect "gravity shielding," and when word of his research reached the public in 1996, a brief media circus ensued. Many in the physics community dismissed his effort as wishful thinking.* * *
Now, however, several mainstream organizations - including Boeing (BA), NASA, and British aerospace giant BAE Systems (BAESY) - are lending fresh credibility to Podkletnov's claims. Phantom Works, Boeing's top-secret R&D arm, recently disclosed that it is monitoring his research. "We've seen his work, and we'd like to see it developed further," says Boeing spokesman Dave Phillips. Meanwhile, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has awarded a $600,000 contract to Ohio-based Superconductive Components in an attempt to build its own version of Podkletnov's gravity-shielding device - the effort should be complete later this year.
So far, other scientists have been unable to duplicate Podkletnov's results. But the appeal of such a device remains irresistible. Applications may include space transportation (for rocketless propulsion), missile defense (to alter the trajectory of incoming threats), or even gravity-beam weapons (pulverizing objects by subjecting them to massive G forces). "Clearly, we don't know all there is to know about gravity," says NASA project manager Ron Koczor. "But I have a gut sense the shielding effect could be real." If so, gravity could one day become an even greater force to be reckoned with.
Interfax / October 04, 2002
Large celestial object crashes to Earth in Irkutsk region
В Иркутской области на землю упал большой небесный объект. По мнению ученых это может быть метеорит
IRKUTSK, Russia. Oct 4 (Interfax) - Lack of money has so far prevented Russian scientists to send an expedition to the presumed site of a meteorite fall in Siberia on Thursday, a senior scientist said. "Specialists have no doubt that it is a meteorite that fell into the taiga on Thursday," Vladimir Polyakov, academic secretary of the Institute of Solar and Terrestrial Physics, told Interfax. Polyakov said there were more than 100 eyewitnesses and that scientists trusted them. He said instruments rarely recorded meteorite falls and so eyewitnesses were practically the only source of information on such events for scientists. He cited hunters as saying the supposed meteorite had left a large crater surrounded by burned forest. He said it was impossible to send a state-funded expedition to the site, which lies in Bodaibo district, Irkutsk region, without approval from the Meteorite Studies Center in Moscow. Irkutsk scientists had sent a report there but had had no reply. One problem is that the presumed meteorite fell in a place difficult of access, which only a helicopter can reach. Polyakov said scientists were fearing the meteorite was a lump of ice that would melt away before an expedition came.
© Copyright 2002 INTERFAX Financial Times Information Limited
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INTERFAX / October 4, 2002
Russian scientists unable to visit presumed meteorite site
Из-за отсутствия денег российские ученые не смогли отправить экспедицию на место падения метеорита
IRKUTSK. A Central Florida company is paying Russian scientists to develop positive technology, instead of weapons of war.
The Sanford company makes high-tech particles, which help to make tooth repairs last longer, provides stronger bone grafts, and filters viruses and bacteria out of water.
The work is done at Argonide in Central Florida, but the technology is from the former Soviet Union.
"We employ people, who under terrible circumstances might do us harm", Fred Tepper of Argonide said.
Tepper made his point with a world map. He said that when the Soviet Union folded, many technological minds were suddenly out of work. Those people specialized in nuclear weapons, atomic energy and other fields with military applications.
"One of the groups we employ work in a bacterial research center - something many people have been worried about", Tepper said.
Hoping to reduce the amount of weapons of mass destruction, the Department of Energy (news - web sites) teamed with U.S. businesses years ago to keep those Russian scientists working for public good.
The government and business partnership is designed to limit the number of idle high-tech hands.
"(We want to prevent) this technology from floating around and getting into rogue states or the wrong hands", Tepper said.
Some people may think that is a stretch to think the program would slow down the technology flow to terrorists, but Tepper does not agree.
"It was a big stretch to think that two airliners would hit the World Trade Center wasn't it?" Tepper said.
Tepper wishes he could buy even more technology. He currently works with 70 Russian scientists.
© Copyright 2002 INTERFAX Financial Times Information Limited
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Science / Volume 298, Number 5592, Issue of 11 Oct 2002, p. 343.
After years of wrangling, Russia and the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to cooperate in attacking the country's tuberculosis (TB) crisis. The deal, reached late last month, will funnel up to $150 million in World Bank loans into a revitalized TB monitoring and treatment system.
TB has soared to epidemic levels in Russia, and the disease now claims 30,000 lives annually. But many Russian specialists rejected WHO's insistence on tying aid to the use of Western anti-TB strategies, such as microscopy for detection, saying that homegrown methods, such as mass x-ray screening, worked fine (Science, 12 July, p. 170). New results from 18 projects that integrate Russian and WHO methods, however, helped end the standoff. The projects, begun in 1994, have boosted detection and lowered incidence rates, officials say.
"Five years ago ... we couldn't find common ground," Anatoly Vialkov, a deputy health minister, said in announcing the deal. "Today we understand each other." The World Bank must still approve the loan.
© Copyright 2002 by The American Association
for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved
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Physical Therapy / Volume 82 . Number 10 . October 2002
Russian Electrical Stimulation: The Early Experiments
- Alex R Ward, Nataliya Shkuratova
Russian forms of electrical stimulation became popular to a large extent as a result of the activities of Kots, who claimed force gains of up to 40% in elite athletes as a result of what was then a new form of
stimulation. He did not provide details of his published work, nor did he give references. Russian electrical stimulation became popular despite the lack of research in the English-language literature. No studies published in English examined whether the "10/50/10" treatment regimen (10 seconds of stimulation followed by 50 seconds rest, repeated for 10 minutes) advocated by Kots is optimal, and only one study addressed whether maximum muscle torque was produced at an alternating current frequency of 2.5 kHz. The few studies that compared low-frequency monophasic pulsed current and Russian electrical stimulation are inconclusive. This article reviews and provides details of the original studies by Kots and co-workers. The authors contend that these studies laid the foundations for the use of Russian forms of electrical stimulation in physical therapy. The authors conclude that there are data in the Russian-language literature that support the use of Russian electrical stimulation but that some questions remain unanswered.
Mail and Guardian Online / 17 October 2002 13:56
New telescope to shed light on black hole mysterie
The world's most powerful gamma-ray telescope soared into space on Thursday on a mission to track down black holes, exploding stars and mysterious bursts of radiation emanating from the fringes of the Universe.
The 330-million-euro observatory, Integral, was placed flawlessly into orbit by a Russian Proton rocket, one of the workhorses of space, launched from the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
The telescope, built by ESA with contributions from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and the United States, is the most sensitive detector ever made of gamma-ray radiation.
This is high-intensity energy typically emitted by massive stars in their death throes, when they explode to become supernovae.
Their death eventually gives birth to life, helping to create other stars and planets many millions of years later.
"When they explode, these giant stars spew out a series of heavy elements which enrich the interstellar environment and become the stuff of which we are made," Gilbert Vedrenne, a leading scientist at the Centre for Space Radiation Research (CESR) said. "With Integral, we hope to gain a better understanding of how this stardust is ejected into the Universe." Supernovae can also collapse in upon themselves to create neutron stars - stars of incredibly dense, compacted matter, that can then develop into black holes.
These are the mightiest and most mysterious phenomena in the known cosmos, with the ability to suck in stars that venture too close to their gravitational maw.
"Only gamma rays enable us to sidle up and get a really close look at black holes," said Jacques Paul of France's Atomic Energy Commission. "That way, we may be able to get a first-hand evidence of a flaw in the laws of physics."
Integral's other task will be to scout for gamma bursts - unexplained explosions at the outer reaches of the detected Universe that were only spotted a few years ago. Integral, weighing more than four tons and five metres long, stands for International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory. The 92-minute flight ended with the separation of the payload from the rocket's fourth stage and the telescope began a slow journey to take up its orbital position, mission officials said.
Integral will be deployed in an egg-shaped orbit, swinging between 90 000 and 153 000 kilometres above the Earth.
Its four instruments, which will also simultaneously monitor emissions in the X-ray and visible light sections of the energy spectrum, will undergo two months of testing before the start of the two-year mission, which could be extended for a further three years if ESA's finances permit.
Integral joins three very powerful telescopes, Nasa's Chandra and Hubble, and ESA's XMM-Newton, in the new generation of orbiting observatories.
© All material copyright Mail&Guardian
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The Associated Press / Tue Oct 29, 9:02 PM ET
Russia's space program is struggling to recruit a new generation of cosmonauts
- MARA D. BELLABY, Associated Press Writer
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan - Ivan Pozdayev and his classmates at the International Space School in this Russian military enclave ignite a model rocket made from Coca-Cola bottles and grin as it soar high over the tree tops.
But the 12-year-old frowns when asked if he wants to be a cosmonaut. A rocket scientist, then? He shrugs, "Maybe."
Even here in Baikonur - a city created out of Kazakhstan's barren steppe in the 1950s to be the secret heart of the Soviet space program - convincing young Russians to pursue a career in the underfunded and struggling space program is not an easy task.
For Russia it is a pressing one: Its space program is largely peopled by experts hired at the beginning of the space age. Many are now in their late 50s or early 60s and thinking about retirement, and the country needs to ensure that a new generation is in place to take over.
"Unfortunately, there is very little interest among young people," admitted Igor Barmin, chief engineer of the Baikonur launch pad, where the Soviet space program awed the world by sending the first satellite, Sputnik, into orbit in 1957 and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin four years later.
"It is a serious problem, one we haven't found a solution for," Barmin said.
The U.S. space agency, NASA is also anticipating a large number of retirements in the next five to 10 years, but space experts said NASA has been more successful at recruitment than the Russians. NASA's top managers tend to be in their late 40s or 50s.
"The Russians are in trouble," said James Oberg, author of the book "Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the U.S. and Russian Space Alliance." "It is probably too late to avoid a devastating loss ... to transfer corporate knowledge and know-how, you have to work side-by-side for years."
Part of the problem facing the Russians has been convincing young people to forgo the higher salaries of a business career for the space program, where a cosmonaut's salary is now about US$300 a month.
"If you look at the Russian space program today, it is basically a lot of older people who are not paid very well and the main thing that they seem to be doing is providing vacation opportunities for bored millionaires," John Pike, a U.S.-based space expert, said, referring to Russia's selling of trips to the International Space Station
Russian space officials strongly disagree, but concede the shortage of funds makes it difficult to launch big attention-getting projects, such as NASA's Mars Odyssey.
The Russians, instead, have focused on international programs where they don't have to pick up the entire bill, such as the International Space Station. But by their very nature, those programs don't generate the kind of patriotic fervor that projects like the former Mir space station did. "It is very difficult right now. We are dealing with a small amount of resources," said Nikolai Anfimov, head of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building.
But in a move that some experts described as hopeful, Russian space officials proposed an ambitious international project in August to send people to Mars around 2015. Details were vague, but experts said that sort of high-profile project is what's needed to bring glamour back to the space program and get the attention of young Russians.
During the Soviet era that was easy. The space program churned out hero after hero, prompting many children to dream about becoming the next Gagarin or chief designer Sergei Korolev. Roads and cities bore the names of these Soviet stars after their deaths, and giant monuments were raised in their honor. The space workers, considered by much of the country as the embodiment of Soviet success, were rewarded with generous benefits, such as access to luxury goods and exotic vacations. Today, the space workers toiling away in Baikonur drive on potholed roads, live in crumbling apartment buildings and make do without hot water for weeks on end. They also suffer from the isolation of working in what became a foreign country with the breakup of the Soviet Union. Dmitry Shatalov, headmaster of Baikonur's International Space School, must contend with these realities when he talks about space program careers with his students, mostly male and many with relatives working at the cosmodrome. But he's so optimistic that students will find themselves drawn to the space industry that he frets about letting them too close to the aging, but real Soviet rocket in the school's courtyard.
"They might not know it yet, but they'd be just the ones to figure out how to set it off," Shatalov said. "Russia will be in good hands."
© Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved