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Introductory speech by the chairman of the international jury of the start-up competition Victor Korsun (USA) at the opening ceremony of the All-Ukrainian festival of innovative projects “Sikorsky Challenge”

2018.10.16 Speech by Victor Korsun at the Sikorsky Challenge in 2018

From the editorial office. In the middle of October in the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute was traditionally held the All-Ukrainian Festival of Innovative Projects“Sikorsky Challenge”. For the eighth time this festival has gathered the best innovators from all over the country.Traditionally, the projects of participants in the start-up competition were evaluated by an authoritative international jury composed of representatives of Ukraine, Azerbaijan, the United States, China and Poland.The jury was headed by anold friend of our university, a former longtime Director`s Deputy of the STCU Victor Korsun or as his colleagues and friends call him Vic Korsun. He made a speech at the opening ceremony of the festival. In our opinion, the thoughts and ideas expressed in it go far beyond the limits of the festival. Because of this, we publish the full text of this speech for those who did not have the opportunity to hear it on the day of opening.

Today we have gathered here to continue to explore the enormous potential of Ukrainian technology and science. Our competition “Sikorsky Challenge” encourages the technological and scientific creativity of our innovators to improve in this way not only the lives of our people, but the whole world.

We want to show ourselves to the world so that we can become partners in human adventures that are constantly unfolding to meet the ever-growing needs of the population.

Can the Planet Earth survive and feed us? Will we survive and thrive together? Alternatives are sad. The ideals of civilization and humanism that we have been trying to achieve for centuries and millennia, will these ideals control us, or will we refuse them for believing that the primitiveness of power and strength will overcome what we consider to be correct?

         We must strengthen our practices in humanism in order to civilization and humanism to survive, because these practices have an impact on our everyday lives.

Do we treat each other with respect and politeness:

 - man and woman;

 - parents and children?

Do we really listen to what each of us wants to express?

Do we calmly explain our thoughts and ideas to one another, and not simply loudly insist on the correctness of our own argument as a single approach or answer?

Do we respect our neighbors and discuss our differences of opinion on practical issues between us that we need to solve so that we can reach a mutual understanding of what needs to be done or improved?

When the problem arises, do we first listen to what another one need to tell before accusing him of disrespect or negligence?

Do teachers in schools respect the human value and individualism of their students, because the authority of the teacher is not compulsory and absolute, and because learning is a common achievement? Do they contribute to the achievement of the same level by their students as they have? Or do they always want to preserve their own superiority and prestige?

Do we want to see our leaders so strong that they can reasonably think and persuade each other, and actually show respect for the citizens of the country? Or do we want leaders who use cruel forced humiliation, insult and unconfirmed accusation?

Do we see power as a right to mock other peoples of the world? Or do we see power as the ability to manage our example, demonstrating respect, showing that we are one among the equal, and we want others to respect themselves, become equal with us and among us.

This does not mean that the nation must abandon its duties for itself and for others. The nation must be strong both individually and as a worthy partner in cooperation with others.

What does it mean to be strong?

Of course, the nation must be able to protect itself and, of course, wise to join other friendly countries. But building a strong nation requires more and it will be more for building its strength and health.

It is necessary to know our past with all our mistakes and glory.

It is necessary to focus on creating good staff, evaluating the positive qualities that lead to strength and the desire for real self-esteem, along with respect and compassion for others who are not as successful.

It is necessary to be able to feed your people both materially and morally.

Nutrition – YES,

Pregnancy leave – YES,

Pre-school establishment for babies – YES,

Education – YES,

Adequate pensions for pensioners – YES,

Stuff creation – YES,

Freedom of religion and respect for religious differences – YES,

A sense of justice among various economic groups – YES,

Although for good reasons, economic disagreements will always exist, the enormous distance between poverty and wealth does not match the best interests of national health and stability.

Therefore, a work plan for economic development – YES, work plans that provide work for people – YES, and again YES.

High technologies that provide job creation and wealth of the country – YES.

This already the seventh “Sikorsky Challenge”.

I started thinking about an idea that later incarnate in today's “Sikorsky Challenge” in 2004 when I first came to work in Ukraine. The idea continued to develop when I became Executive Director’s Deputy of the STCU (Science and Technology Center in Ukraine) under the aegis of the United States Department of State, the European Union and Canada. That’s when I started to work with the institutes of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and with the universities of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

Through my seminars and training workshops I tried to convey a new idea to the Ukrainian scientific community about the creation and production of innovations through entrepreneurship, in other words, the commercialization of Ukrainian scientific inventions.

During this time, I received great help from many of you and from many scientists in the institutes. Especially I would like to mention the following persons i.e. the rector of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute M. Z. Zgurovsky, I. G. Malyukova and professor P. M. Tsybulov. These people took on a great burden of creating work methods and training on entrepreneurship and start-ups.

First of all, it was necessary to evaluate how entrepreneurship could be useful for Ukraine. This was started by professor Tsybulov, who began to write textbooks on international patenting and entrepreneurial education based on a model of American universities and government laboratories. He has also done significant work on the implementation of Ukrainian laws based on the American law of Bay-Doll, which changed the nature of American innovation in the 1980's.

The American law of Bai-Doll has led to a transformation of the way in which American universities work with their scientific inventions. The Bay-Doll law states that although the government of United States of America will continue to fund research projects at universities, since 1980 they have been following such rules as:

1) universities and government laboratories themselves become owners of scientific inventions and patents that were created during the implementation of these projects;

2) universities have a responsibility for commercialization of these scientific inventions and patents through licenses or start-ups;

3) universities must share profits from licenses and start-ups with their professors-inventors.

Based on this law, all technical universities have set up Technology Transfer Offices that are responsible for accepting these new rules in American universities. So, USA’s universities are commercializing their scientific inventions through licenses and start-ups that create new high-tech working places in the United States. Such measures are what is needed for the development of the country's economy and for the prosperity of the nation. These same measures are also needed here, in Ukraine.

You are the nation of the Korolov, Sikorsky, Paton and many other innovators. Recently, you were a high-tech country. Such brains exist in Ukraine today. This is an inexhaustible natural source of human intelligence, which is still extremely evident in your scientists and engineers. Actually, you can continue to be a high-tech country. I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN IT!

For seven years, the Start-up School at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute with true devotion have been making enormous efforts to an event we know as the festival “Sikorsky Challenge”. This week we saw significant results of their active work. You should also keep I mind that start-up schools are not only in Kyiv. The constant efforts of the Faculty and staff of the Start-up School at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute have led to the fact that such schools extend throughout Ukraine, in other universities and even in eastern Ukraine where fighting still going on.  

I congratulate the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on a great progress.

Our wise poet Shevchenko advises us: “Learn and read, learn from others and don't shun your own”. And although these words are often and occasionally repeated by Ukrainians, their meaning never fades, it will not diminish. These are eternal words that concern not only us, but all of mankind.

Consciously or not, you pay attention to Shevchenko. I feel and believe that you intentionally and consciously expand your horizons. It's not easy. It requires courage and discipline, and you are ready for it. The new one will add value to the old one and give you the opportunity to maneuver the world.

I'm proud to be here with you today and this week. Our international jury will listen to your pitches. And investors will listen and then choose those projects that they consider to be the best for commercialization.

We have important and high goals ahead of us.

At the beginning of my speech I said: “Today we have gathered here to continue to explore the enormous potential of Ukrainian technology and science. Our competition “Sikorsky Challenge” encourages the technological and scientific creativity of our innovators to improve in this way not only the lives of our people, but the whole world.”

Let’s believe in our strength, devotion, ability and determination to achieve the goal.

I am glad to welcome all of you here!

Thank you for attention.


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