It was 25 years ago that Dr Serguei Beloussov first had the idea of creating, what he calls, a deeply fundamental university. The vision was one that would be a scientific research centre university which will be able to produce business applications or applied technology. He discussed this idea with friends when in the United States, but the belief was it would take billions of dollars to ever realise this dream.
Dr Beloussov is a very smart and well–educated individual with degrees and PhDs in Computer Science, Physics and Electrical Engineering and Physics – two of them cum laude.
He has, throughout life, been a technology entrepreneur and investor and has more than two decades experience of building and growing tech companies across the globe. Today he is the CEO and chair of the board of directors Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, which he founded in 2003 and now has more than 5.5m customers worldwide. The success of the company, has enabled Dr Beloussov the opportunity to realise his dream and create the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT).
In an intriguing one-on-one interview, which included mentions of Einstein, wine production and even the role of Premier League football managers, MV Pro, got to discover more about his views on SIT and the impact it will have.
MVPro: Why is SIT important to you?
Serguei Beloussov (SB): I try to do things which are fun and good business and it fits. When people ask me this question 15 years ago or 10 years ago I used to answer ‘I have no choice’ but I don’t answer this way now because people find it funny. I mean why not? When I was building schools for example in different countries with Acronis people kept asking ‘Why are you building schools?’ and I’d answer, ‘Why not? It’s a good thing to do, it’s good business because it is a good way of engaging partners, customers and employees. Everybody is very happy and it’s fun, so why not do it’. That is the way I think because I am an entrepreneur. I do what I can do. The university I can do. It is something I want to do, I have to do and it fits my aims but it starts from ‘I can do it’.
MVPro: What impact do you think SIT will have?
SB: You have to be very subtle about impact because it’s not possible to predict human creativity, but I think there are three levels of impact.
The first basic impact is we will provide the highest quality knowledge through science to a large number of people who will then go on and do some good science and good business.
The second thing we can impact is that we can potentially provide an example to others. Perhaps, once we provide that example we won’t be the number one but we will set the example such that other places, like other Swiss universities or global universities, will adapt some of our practices.
Then the third impact is, if we are successful, then we possibly solve some of the problems or move closer to solving those problems faced by mankind. In every field of human science there are problems which are not clear how to solve right now and require more scientific research. If you solve them, you can directly impact all those areas.
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