A Russian Nobel Prize winner will become a scientific adviser to the high-tech business park the government is setting up near Moscow as the Russian "Silicon Valley," a Russian newspaper reported on Monday.
Zhores Alferov, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000, will co-chair the scientific council overseeing the project alongside a foreign expert, said Vladislav Surkov, the first deputy head of the presidential administration.
The respected business daily Vedomosti added that Alferov confirmed via an aide that he had met with Surkov, but had no comment on his possible appointment.
If confirmed, Alferov's appointment would be the first step towards a key goal of the project - attracting the best minds in the world to work in Russia's high-technology sector.
"I think that if in the final analysis there are not two, three, four Nobel Prize laureates working in this city, it would mean we did not achieve our goal," Surkov said in a March 21 interview with Rossiya TV.
A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences who set up a nanotechnology center with St. Petersburg university, Alferov has been active in politics since 1989 and currently serves as a Communist Party deputy in Russia's lower house of parliament.
MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti)
Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian billionaire coordinating the project, has also expressed the hope that Nobel Prize winners would sign up, along with international scientists, leading businessmen, representatives of big corporations and even politicians.
Vekselberg said it will need up to seven years to break even, although he expects the first results to appear much earlier.
The high-tech research and production hub is being built from scratch in the Moscow Region town of Skolkovo. The paper said it is planned that some 4.6 billion rubles will be allocated for the valley's construction in 2010.
The new center's activities will focus on five priority spheres: energy, information technologies, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technologies.
A source told Vedomosti that some Russian companies interested in setting up in Skolkovo, including LUKoil, Russian Railways and Alfa Group, have forwarded project proposals to the presidential commission on modernization.
Despite the fact that Russia's answer to Silicon Valley is still in the planning stages, interest is such that some leading companies have started to look for new employees.
Parallels, a Russian company specializing in computer software, has posted a statement on linkedin.com with requirements for possible candidates.