From Master's and PhD to a startup: a journey with Skoltech
Evgeny Shilov, 2016 MSc and 2020 PhD graduate in Petroleum Engineering

LABADVANCE, Co-Founder and CTO
Meet Evgeny Shilov, expert in Petroleum Engineering with a Master's and PhD from Skoltech. Set on a mission to create something for his industry while at Skoltech, Evgeny partnered up with his research advisor and founded LABADVANCE — a petroleum service provider that optimizes oil recovery methods. Enjoy Evgeny's story!
experience at Skoltech
Before joining Skoltech, I had a vision and firm belief that I can create something new for the petroleum industry with the help of Skoltech. Its brilliant scientific community, students, employers, and unique laboratory resources are exceptional in Russia. So, after finishing my Bachelor's studies in 2014, I joined Skoltech as a Masters student in Petroleum Engineering.

In 2016 I decided to seize the opportunities presented by Skoltech and the Skolkovo community by continuing my studies as a PhD student. My thesis concerned methods of enhancing the gas recovery of unconventional reservoirs and researching core samples. I was lucky to take part in several industry projects run by the center in association with such companies as Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and Zarubezhneft.

During my studies in Petroleum Engineering, I was responsible for launching experimental equipment, conducting experiments, and administering industrial contracts with major petroleum companies. I would say that this unique set of hard and soft skills made it possible for me to see that technological opportunity and start a company. Skoltech is a unique source of different opportunities and resources. But there are no doubts that my particular technology and company would not be possible to develop anywhere except the Skoltech in Russia today.

PETROLEUM ENGINEERING MASTER'S PROGRAM
trains a new generation of scientists and engineers capable of dealing with the key challenges of the oil and gas sector, and creating innovative solutions for enhanced oil recovery from the existing sources and development of unconventional and hard-to-recover reserves. The program combines high-level engineering training with teaching of mathematical modeling and data analysis and gaining field experience through research and industry projects.
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startup journey
During my PhD studies, I was disappointed by the inaccuracy of conventional laboratory experiments for the petroleum industry. So, I started to look around for an idea that can significantly enhance the quality of experimental data, decrease the necessary costs and time. My research led to the foundation of a new area of research at our center – microfluidic research for the oil industry.

Fortunately for me, Skoltech provided me enough resources to push the idea into a real company. We developed a unique hardware device based on Microfluidic Technology. This approach is ten times faster, cheaper, and more accurate than traditional experimental studies. This allows us to solve the problem of the scarcity of core samples by using microfluidic chips, 2D analogs of real reservoirs.

startup partnership and takeaways
As part of our work on the start-up, my research supervisor Associate Professor Alexey Cheremisin and I were awarded a grant from Skoltech (under the STRIP program) to commercialize microfluidic research technology. Since Alexey focuses on laboratory research, I had many opportunities to become familiar with experimental research in the petroleum industry during the last few years.

One of the hardest things was to combine my research and company development. It was more like an infinite flow of tasks with different weights of priorities. In short, I am working as much as possible. Building a company is a difficult journey, but you don't want to get off this road once you start.

Evgeny with his advisor and business partner Associate Professor Alexey Cheremisin
advice to students and applicants
A very long time ago, I heard an excellent description of Skoltech, and I want to cite it today. «Skoltech is the place where prepared minds meet each other, and based on these meetings, something new, something great can be created.»

Skoltech is not only about receiving, since that I want to ask students and employers to give as well as you take to the Skoltech's community.
and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
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