Over the past two years, Russia’s political leadership has openly voiced the need for Russia to embrace what is considered to be the next global powerhouse industry, nanotechnology. As a part of the country’s modernisation spree, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has personally stressed the need to advance in the field of nanotechnology in order to overcome the economic crisis and to ensure the country’s shifting away from its current dependency on natural resource-based industries.
In a conference speech in early October 2009, Medvedev stated the following: “The economic crisis is a great impetus for an economic renewal. But the main challenge is to avoid the wellknown scenario where oil prices are on the rise and the economy is improving and, again, just like in previous years, no one needs nanotechnology because we can relax and make ends without innovations. We therefore must make nanotechnology one of the main sectors of the economy.”
Few can deny Russia’s prospective chances to make it among the leaders in the $ 250-billion global nanotechnology market, projected to grow as much as tenfold in the course of the upcoming 5 to 10 years. Russia possesses a rather competitive scientific base for advancements in nanotechnology, as well as a large domestic market and, seemingly a strong state support for developing the field. Despite the massive $ 4-billion budget earmarked for the nanotechnology funding program until 2015, however, the real advancements do need a more defined set of goals and improved identification of the practical steps needed to be taken in order to reach the status of a nanotechnology superpower. It lays on the responsibility of the state-owned corporation Rusnano, a nanotechnology coordinative and funding vehicle, to implement most of the practical steps on Russia’s way towards a world-class nanotechnology giant. The corporation receives a lion’s share of the government’s nanotechnology program funding, to be re-directed to new nanotechnology ventures deemed as viable after a multi-stage evaluation process.
It is the purpose of this paper, to lay out operating and funding principles of Rusnano, with a view on its funding of ventures involving foreign companies. In addition, we take a look at the international operations and investments of the Rusnano corporation. Through this descriptive analysis, attempts are made to map the international scope of Russia’s recent activities in the nanotechnology field a well as to lay out the potential the Russia’s nanotechnology field holds