KAZAN. March 25 (Interfax) - Russian federal budget financing is essential for developing innovation clusters in the regions, Deputy Economic Development Minister Oleg Fomichev said in Kazan on Tuesday at a meeting on development of the clusters.
The clusters are receiving support from an array of federal programs. "Russia has a large number of tools that have been activated in support of the innovation clusters: for financing research and development, creating innovative infrastructure, developing competencies. Development institutes are also providing support," Fomichev said.
This year, as in 2013, the federal budget will provide subsidies to the regions to co-finance cluster development programs. "The money that is required is not huge. We are talking about the same amount that was allocated last year for noncapital needs: 1.3 billion rubles," he said.
However, a ministry proposal to allocate 1.7 billion rubles for capital construction in addition to the 1.3 billion rubles was rejected, Fomichev said, adding that he thought the issue would have to be revisited in order to develop the clusters.
Overall the regions need 31.5 billion rubles for capital construction to develop the centers, including 13.96 billion rubles for facilities that already have design specifications and estimates. "Their request for federal budget financing totals 3 billion rubles, twice the amount that we proposed allocating for capital construction this year and next," he said.
A system of non-financial support for the clusters - organizational, technical and intellectual support - is also being created. Plans are to create a project office jointly with Russian Venture Company which would serve as the federal center of competencies for cluster development, he said. Monitoring and dissemination of best practices is also planned, as well as providing consultative assistance.
There are currently 25 innovative territorial clusters receiving federal support, of which 14 are in the first category. The other 11 will be able to achieve that status in the near future, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who also spoke at the meeting, said Tatarstan has a wealth of experience forming structures that make it possible to unite the efforts of industrial enterprises, research organizations and small and medium enterprise.
The day before, Dvorkovich visited Khimgrad in Kazan, whose resident organizations have boosted revenue to 14 billion rubles a year since the cluster's creation six years ago. That know-how needs to be utilized and mechanisms need to be found that would give an impulse to development of the clusters in order to create more powerful structures. "There are opportunities to concentrate budget funds on priority areas within the framework of existing resources," Dvorkovich said.
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