Abell Salutes: EURUS

January 1992 / Salutes / Community Development

Turning Russian brain drain into American brain gain.

If you are a Russian emigre, reading any one of several Russian newspapers that are written and published in the United States for its growing Russian population, you are likely to see this classified ad:

Scientists and Engineers. We would like to help you with your invention. At no charge we can evaluate the commercial potential of your invention. We can help you to license it and find a market for it, and help you set up your own company. We speak Russian and confidentiality is assured. To receive more information, contact EURUS 210 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 att: Eva Burdman, Director.

The ad is designed to be step one in mining the rich vein of scientific knowledge that runs through the Russian immigrant community in the United States. In so doing, EURUS helps scientists move ideas from concept through to commercialization, and helps consumers enjoy the benefits of new products and services that might not otherwise, were it not for these Russian scientists, come into use.

Equally important, because EURUS is Maryland-based, the process as it moves along makes its contribution to the economic well being of the state. The process begins when a Russian scientist contacts EURUS, Inc., with an idea. At that point, a team working in the University of Maryland Office of Technology Liaison evaluates the invention. EURUS will, within a 90- day period, decide whether to terminate the arrangement or move forward with it, entering, then, into a contractual relationship with the inventor for ownership and share-of-the profits rights.

Wayne Swann, director of the office, is optimistic on the future role of EURUS in achieving its objectives: “What EURUS does is to make the most of the Soviet brain drain. There are almost 12,000 Soviet scientists living and working in Maryland alone, many of whom are extraordinarily energetic and inventive. Our normal rate of success with technology trans­ fer, taking a product from the labora­tory to the marketplace, is about twenty five percent. All things considered, the talent to be marketed and at the same time the hurdles to get over, I would expect that our rate of success with the Soviet scientists’ initiatives to be close to that.

But that total will meaningfully enrich the economy of Maryland. I think before too long we’ll be able to say that EURUS is helping to make the Soviet’s brain drain America’s brain gain.”