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Peltola, Kaisa-Kerttu:
Russian innovation system in international comparison - Opportunities and challenges for the future of innovation development in Russia
Electronic Publications of Pan-European Institute 11/2008

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Executive summary

This report analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian innovation system reflected in international comparisons conducted by the European Union, OECD and World Bank. By using the comparison with international markets the major problems of the Russian system are identified and also the reasons for the differences from other countries are analysed. Some of the major challenges and opportunities for the future development of the Russian innovation environment and policies are also discussed in the report.

Russia’s innovation potential is greater than that of many other countries at comparable levels of GDP per capita. The country benefits from a substantial science base and a well developed education system in science and technology. Yet indicators of actual innovation activity remain disappointing. There seems to be a clear imbalance between the public resources devoted to knowledge creation and the observed outputs in terms of innovation as well as stimulating greater private-sector involvement in R&D, which remains limited. These issues constitute some of the major challenges for Russian innovation policy.

There is also a wide gap between much Russian R&D and the demands of the market. The policy has tended to focus on supply orientation and neglect demand. Policies should therefore in the future be directed to supporting more market oriented innovation development and commercialisation of innovations, by means of development for instance public-private partnerships, in order to make the innovation process more effective.

One of the positive characteristics which should better utilised in the future is the large potential market and resources for innovative activities provided by Russia. On the other hand the country’s innovation system is still in the phase of transition resulting in problems such as the lack of cooperation and coordination of different organisations in the innovation system and almost nonexistent intermediary system which have had a negative effect for instance on commercialization of innovations. Supporting cooperation on national and international levels should therefore also be emphasised in the innovation policies.

Integration in international markets and attracting more foreign direct investment in technology intensive sectors should also be taken into consideration in the formulation of innovation policy in order to promote technology transfer and accelerate technical progress. In order to improve the overall functioning of the Russian innovation system, the Russian government should adopt a more pro-active innovation policy.

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