The creation of territories with a high concentration of innovative, scientific and technological potential is a global practice. The theoretical basis of these initiatives is mainly the concept of "innovation helices", involving close interaction of the state, business and higher education (academic) sectors, as well as civil society. In economically developed countries there is a trend towards the concentration of innovative potential. At the same time, there are states with long-term and permanent territorial leaders (USA, France, Russia), and states for which there is the emergence of new territorial entities, gradually acquiring the status of national "places of growth" (China, Germany). In some countries, the regions-innovative leaders were formed by the efforts of the private sector, in others – the instruments of state stimulation played the dominant role. Such initiatives in Russia are significantly inferior in efficiency to foreign analogues. To assess the validity of the regions, which are going to become scientific and educational centers, the article offers tools for diagnosing the innovative potential of territories. Firstly, the assessment of the ratio of domestic R&D costs to technological innovation costs allows determining the deficit or surplus in demand for R&D results. Secondly, the study of statistics of requests in the service "Yandex words", which was used to construct an Index of innovation interest of the population. As the analysis shows, all three subjects of the Russian Federation, proposed for the creation of scientific and educational centers, in general, have the necessary parameters for the implementation of this measure.