In Quest of Innovative Lift

Russia is on the eve of establishing a “roadmap” of innovative development today. So far, the piecemeal actions of the institutes for development and business do not give a chance to the country to make a technological breakthrough.

One can not allege that the activity of the institutes for development of the innovative components of the Russian economy deserves unsatisfactory appraisal. Nevertheless, the correction of activity thereof is promptly required.

We mean well
7 technological clusters work in Moscow consolidating more than 300 innovative enterprises and 5 thousand people. Sergei Sobyanin, chief of the city administration, promises, “One more technological cluster will begin working in the nearest time together with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. A global project is being deployed close to the Moscow State University for creation of the technological scientific area. It is one of the biggest projects in the world”.
Nevertheless, according to estimation of Moscow Department for Competition Policy the capital occupies the 63th place only as of today among 100 the most innovative cities of the world. However, the overwhelming majority of the Russian cities are not among not only 100 leading innovative sites but beyond 1000 of such places.
It is no coincidence that one of the sessions of the 12th Krasnoyarsk Economical Forum has been devoted to estimating efficiency of the institutes for development that already exist.
Naturally, nobody of the discussion participants adhered to the position as though the established system of institutes is self-sustainable and needs no upgrading. Oleg Fomichev, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade explained that the institutes for development have been every time founded for particular goals: in order to narrow the “gaps” of the state policy in supporting innovations. The official has emphasized, “It has been done without any complex formulation of the fact that a system of innovative development had to be built”.
Accordingly, the system development problems have been enumerated in the framework of the session. These are the discrepancy between the educational product and the innovative development objectives; the absence of motivation of the average companies to advancement to the world markets; excessive budget appetite of the institutes for development; the absence of motivation of the institutes to communication with all the parties concerned, including communication with analogical structures; comprehension of innovations as a R&D process; lack of the state readiness to taking risks related to innovations; and, finally, the absence of institutes stimulating development of innovations in the corporations.
The experts consider the following features to be the most acute: absence of internal demand for innovations and lack of structured innovative lift.
The lack of institutes’ readiness to the current challenges entails, at least, the fact that the incorporation of innovations in the Russian regions as well as dynamics of the innovative development takes place on an extremely irregular basis.

All is not lost
At the same time, the country maintains strong potential in some areas. As reported by Professor Boris Aronzon, Head of laboratory of magnetic nanoelectronics of the Kurchatov Institute during the relevant meeting of the Public Chamber, the technical potential of Russia in the military sphere corresponds to the position of leadership. “In the field of space applications Russia is beginning to fall behind. In the field of computer technology it is almost hopelessly behind. In programming the situation is quite good, on par with the developed countries, but the emigration of the best programmers is a concerning factor. The situation is also not hopeless in the field of nanotechnology, lagging behind the developed countries is not very significant and some effort in this direction can bring Russia to the level of advanced countries,” the expert stated. According to him, Russia has certain advances in technology for regenerative medicine, there is some falling behind, but due to the importance of this area and an insignificant lag, this sector should be developed.
“The achievements of Russian scientists in such areas as the production of plastics and elastomers, some powder and composite materials, biopharmaceuticals, of course, are quite competitive with the results obtained abroad,” noted Tatiana Buslaeva, Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Technology of Rare and Scattered Elements of the Lomonosov Moscow University of Fine Chemical Technology.
However, expert says, the introduction of new developments of Russian scientists is often fraught with difficulties due to the reluctance of management of some companies to change the existing technology if it is cost-effective at this time and in this place. Usually, it takes years before it becomes possible to start a dialogue on the feasibility of testing the proposed technologies on an enlarged laboratory scale, not to mention the later stages of implementation.
Simply put, the issues of institutes for development are no secret to anyone. And in itself a solution to these issues would give impetus to the innovative development of the country.
Which means that innovations need a “roadmap”.

Need for a new market
According to the estimates of Vladimir Lopatin, Director General of the National Scientific Research Institute of Intellectual Property, such a map should include the following five positions.
First, it is necessary to finalize the Strategy for Innovative Development until 2020, with an eye to the rise of the intellectual property market and duplicate these additions to the sectoral and regional policies and development programs. Accordingly, current performance evaluations of effectiveness in the development of budget for R&D (publications, seminars, patents) need to be urgently supplemented by economic indicators (pricing, market capitalization, sale of intellectual property, investment attraction and its use).
Second, there is a need to centralize state regulation in the field of intellectual property. The current situation, where this area is administered by 24 federal departments, is frankly harmful.
Third, a system of common rules and clear procedures for the formation and development of intellectual property market should be created. In other words, all work items in this area should be standardized.
Fourth, the state must provide training to 50 thousand of specialized managers for the intellectual property market.
Fifth, we should not be limited to establishing contacts on innovation and technological cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region only. From this point of view, we should at least pay attention to the BRICS countries.
Vladimir Lopatin reminded that twenty years ago the levels of innovation development of Russia and China were roughly similar. And it was the implementation of these measures that has enabled our eastern neighbor to make a technological breakthrough.

First steps
Some of the listed tasks have already begun to be addressed.
At the February meeting of the Presidential Council for Economic Modernization and Innovative Development of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister, noted that in recent years Russia had developed a modern system of intellectual property protection. For example, on October 1, 2014, the amendments to the Civil Code came into force, providing for the improvement of the rules relating to intellectual property.
It has also been observed that today the regions with high potential for innovation are the most attractive in terms of investment (see Table).
In turn, the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation in collaboration with the Higher School of Economics are currently developing the industrial territorial cluster standards. It is also planned to establish a register of cluster initiatives in all regions of the Russian Federation by the end of the year.
The Russian Venture Company has initiated a creation of the new model of technology transfer, which will be used in Russian universities and research centers.
It bears reminding that technology transfer is the main form of promotion of innovations from the development to commercialization. This concept includes all sorts of ways of turning the idea into a commercial product: transfer of patents, technical documentation, exchange of scientific research results, creation of joint ventures, etc. The updated model should, for example, increase the number of clusters created on the basis of universities. Also, the possibility of cooperation is considered, in which regional universities will delegate the search for potential investors to metropolitan universities with the developed innovation ecosystem.
But once again a reservation should be made that the listed steps are incomplete, while the country's approach to innovation requires systemic changes. And it is these changes that the institutes for development should, above all, be dealing with.

Valentin Boborykin

Our partners