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Deliverables for U.S.-Russia Innovation Dialogue

The first U.S.-Russia Innovation Dialogue in Moscow and Novosibirsk took place February 17-22. The purpose of the dialogue was to leverage our shared innovative capacity to generate ideas in support of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.  This delegation illustrates President Obama’s dual track strategy of engaging both governments and societies as well as facilitating concrete collaboration between the two in important areas of national interest.

Co-lead Howard Solomon from the National Security Council and by Jared Cohen from the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, the delegation included CEOs and CTOs from major technology companies, such as eBay, Cisco, Mozilla, EDventure, Howcast, Twitter, Social Gaming Network, Katalyst, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Also on the delegation was the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra.

The delegation met with federal and regional officials, civil society actors, educators and students, and entrepreneurs. This was not a visit focused on investment or business, but rather on the role technology can play in promoting better governance, combating corruption and trafficking in persons, improving healthcare, and expanding educational opportunities for youth and teachers.

The U.S. Innovation Delegation proposed the following concrete ideas as actionable items for immediate collaboration:

Theme 1: Education, Entrepreneurship Training, and Mentorship

  • U.S.-Novosibirsk IT Internship program: Recognizing the strong legacy of education in science and technology in Russia, the U.S. innovation delegation participants have agreed to establish 6-month internships in Silicon Valley. These internships are designed to expose Novosibirsk’s most promising young engineering talent to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial experience, culture, and environment. The internships will be designed to cultivate a renewed interest in science and technology and expose interns to models and mentoring that could foster entrepreneurship and social development in Russia.
  • Establish Pilot Incubators in Select Regions of Russia. In an effort to foster greater entrepreneurship and establish innovation hubs, members of the Innovation Delegation will create entrepreneurship incubators in St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk that are linked to specialized incentives (e.g. subsidized accommodation, moving expenses, etc.).
  • Exchange of Experiences and Best Practices. Members of the Innovation Delegation will offer their expertise and intellectual collaboration as the Russian government pursues creating its own entrepreneurship incubators.
  • Public Awareness Campaign to Foster Entrepreneurship. Members of the Innovation Delegation will partner with Russian government, private sector, and media entities to celebrate Russian entrepreneurial heroes/role models and cultivate self-confidence in taking risks, learning from failures, and striving to succeed with new and innovative business ideas.
  • X-Prize collaborations in education and health. The Innovation Delegation, in coordination with the X Prize Foundation, is investigating the design and implementation of health and education-related X Prizes relevant to Russia.
  • Establish a U.S.-Russia Young Scientists Innovation Network. NY Academy of Sciences will partner with Russian stakeholders to promote career mentoring and the development of “frontiers of sciences” communities. The mechanisms through which this network will exist are physical events in Russia, web-based exchanges, global memberships, travel exchanges, and competitions with prizes.
  • Make lectures available online. Innovation Delegation will partner with Russian institutions of higher learning to provide lectures and coursework that can be made available to the general public.
  • Institutionalize a dialogue between Silicon Valley and Academic institutions. Innovation Delegation will work with Academic institutions to develop a platform through which experts in the industry can virtually provide perspectives, mentorship, and insights that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from.

Theme 2: Anti-trafficking and Child Protection

  • U.S.-Novosibirsk Digital Kids Pilot Project: The Innovation delegation has agreed to provide laptops, computer accessories, and teacher training to Novosibirsk’s city and state run orphanages. Each computer will include applications and programs that will enable them to connect with children around the world and obtain useful and life-enhancing skills and tools. Each computer will also include Skype so that those who receive the computers can stay in touch with those who donated them. The program will incorporate a mentoring component as well as an appropriate curriculum that will prepare them for life after the orphanage.
  • Establish Competition to Promote Technology Solutions to Fight Human Trafficking. Working with Russian private sector and other stakeholders, the Demi and Ashton Foundation has agreed to establish a $50,000 prize for Russian software developers and engineers to create new technology tools to prevent trafficking in women and children.
  • Create Safe Jobs Index and Trafficking Violators “Most Wanted” List. Working with international non-governmental organizations focused on anti-trafficking and relevant government agencies, the Demi and Ashton Foundation will create a safe jobs index to assist young women in finding safe employment. A list of identified and convicted traffickers will also be compiled and distributed where in accordance with national legislation.
  • Develop Anonymous Mobile Message-Based Platform for Reporting Cases of Trafficking.  The Innovation delegation will partner with Russian mobile services, Internet providers, civil society actors, and Russian law enforcement authorities, to implement an anonymous mobile message program to alert authorities to possible trafficking cases, collect geo-tracking data, and share information on the web.
  • Establish Public Awareness and Classroom Education Campaign. Working with social media and networking organizations, develop a public awareness campaign on the harms of trafficking that includes an in-class educational curriculum. The Demi and Ashton Foundation will establish prizes for the development of content-based public awareness tools and programs.
  • Tech/Civil Society Conference. Innovation Delegation will work with the local technology sector to facilitate a conference that links technology stakeholders and civil society organizations based on a shared interest in addressing trafficking, health, education, and anti-corruption.

Theme 4: Combating Cyber-crime

  • Establish Public-Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Cyber Security: Establish a process through which private sector companies interested in investing in Russia can raise issues of cyber crime with the government. We can do this by providing points of contact in U.S. and Russian law enforcement agencies to private sector information technology companies to collaborate in our efforts to fight cyber crime. To facilitate these goals, we recommend that officials from leading companies in the Internet industry, including those companies listed above and possibly others, come to Moscow by the end of June, 2010, to meet with the appropriate government and law enforcement officials in Russia to establish a partnership to combat cyber crime
  • Develop Alternative Livelihoods for Cyber Criminals or Those Susceptible to Committing Cyber-Crime. Participants will engage with relevant government and private sector entities and other stakeholders to develop means to provide programmers legitimate and profitable uses for their talent.

Theme 5: Health

  • Text4Baby: Given the high priority President Obama and President Medvedev have placed on promoting maternal and infant health, Healthy Russia Foundation will partner with Russian mobile service providers, software developers, Russian health industry representatives, and Russian health authorities to establish a mobile message program where pregnant women and new mothers can receive weekly alerts and advice to help those maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their babies. More important, this program provides a platform for women to consult directly with health professionals as appropriate. (A model for this program was recently announced by the U.S. White House. For more information, please see

Theme 6: E-governance and Collaboration

  • E-governance and collaboration: U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and the Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Sobyanin will collaborate broadly on e-governance issues, such as the development of platforms for making government data accessible to the public.

Theme 7: Promoting Cultural Collaboration

  • Integrate technology into the Moscow Arts Theater. To celebrate our respective cultures and broaden our understanding of one another, the Innovation Delegation will work with the Moscow Arts Theater to assess their technology needs, provide technical assistance, and facilitate partnerships to use technology to extend the cultural reach of the Moscow Arts Theater and deepen connections between theater students in the United States and Russia.
  • Forge partnerships between U.S. and Russian local media outlets. Recognizing the growth of the digital media environment, local media outlets in both the U.S. and Russia share common challenges of survival and adaptability. As such, we will work together in the Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Working Group on Education, Culture, Mass Media and Sports to facilitate exchanges and build partnerships that will address the shared challenges and identify opportunities to take advantage of the changing media environment.