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Innovation Traffic Lights

The Russian Government approved the strategy of innovative development of the Russian Federation by its order for the period up to 2020 about four years ago. What are the interim results of its implementation? A comprehensive answer to this question is contained in the "Russia: a course to innovations" third annual open report prepared by RVC with the assistance of Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

A sociological study, involving 176 participants of the Russian innovation market, including technological entrepreneurs, representatives of investment funds, development institutions, large, medium and small businesses, the education sector, as well as business angels, scientists, engineers, consultants, was conducted during the preparing of the report.

What do we have as a plus? Russia has significantly improved the positions in a number of international rankings on indicators assessing the level of innovation development over the past years: on global innovation coefficient (Bloomberg), a global index of innovativeness (INSEAD, WIPO), ranking of the ease of doing business (World Bank), the global competitiveness index (World Economic Forum). More than 2/3 of respondents have been asked believe that the places which Russia occupy in these ratings adequately reflect the level of innovation development of the country.

42% of the respondents evaluated the state influence on the processes of innovation development rather positively. At the same time the same percentage of survey participants recognize the lack of state support. 64% of experts believe that, despite the difficult economic and geopolitical situation, the state of the environment necessary for the emergence and commercialization of innovations remained unchanged or improved in the reporting period.

What's wrong? Innovation market participants are skeptical about the possibility of increasing the share of innovative products in the economy from 9.2% in 2013 to the strategy target of 15% by 2020. It is proposed to increase the effectiveness of incentive mechanisms, including taxation, to increase the access of small and medium businesses to the state order in the sphere of high technologies, to increase the innovation activity of companies and corporations to increase this share.

Special attention is given to corporations as an important element of the innovation ecosystem capable of generating significant demand for high technologies in the report.

60 state-owned companies that implement innovative development programs have increased the volume of investments in research and development by more than 2 times (up to a level comparable with foreign corporations) and were able to increase productivity by 23% over the last three years.

It is noteworthy that 63% of the experts surveyed indicated low demand for scientific researches from the real sector of the economy as the main barrier to the commercialization.

Despite the fact that there was a general decline in the volume of the Russian venture capital because of the difficult economic and geopolitical situation, a positive dynamics of a number of indicators is recorded at the end of 2014. The most significant growth (69% to the 2013) was observed in the average deal size in the early stages, as well as the total amount of seed investment (30% to 2013). Increasing of the number of "outputs" of investors for 1.5 times (30 transactions in 2014 compared to 21 transactions in 2013) is a positive signal.

According to experts, we need an adjustment of public and private R & D funding system.

Funding of fundamental research in Russia increased 14-fold over the last 10 years, and the applied research –34-fold.

More than 350 billion rubles were allocated in the budget for support of the science only in 2015. However, Russia occupies 26th place in the world on the share of R & D expenditure in GDP with an index of 1.5%, being far behind the leaders – Israel (4.38% of GDP) and Japan (3.9% of GDP).

Not everything is all right about the commercialization of researches also. According to the data given in the report of the RAS Institute of Social and Political Researches, less than 5% of them come to practical implementation in the industry; most of the work is completed with the publications and presentations at the conferences.

To realize the potential in the field of advanced technologies, the country needs at least 200 thousand professionals in the field of technology management and innovations. This requires improving the system of higher education and the development of training programs for graduates, the report said.

It is equally important to form a globally competitive innovation system. Some positive developments in this regard are given in the report: the share of high-tech products (aviation industry, electronics, pharmaceuticals, instrumentation, mechanical engineering) increased from 8% in 2011 to 10% in 2013 in the structure of Russian exports, but it is considerably below the indexes of the most developed countries.

Regional innovation ecosystems are considered as important elements of the innovation mechanism, and the government provides them with financial support. So, grants amounting to 1.3 billion rubles were allocated for the implementation of development programs of pilot innovative regional clusters through the Russian Ministry of Economic Development in 2013.

The amount of state support has been increased up to 2.5 billion rubles in 2014, due to the increase in the number of clusters up to 25.

The positive dynamics of the innovation development of the regions is marked particularly in the Kaluga Region, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Tatarstan. Administrative barriers and insufficiently comfortable environment for the business are recognized the most acute problems that hinder the innovative development of regions.

Recommendations on amendments and additions to the strategy of innovative development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020 were formulated on the basis of proposals of members of the Russian innovation market in the report. In particular, it is proposed to replace the "catch up" paradigm with a model of development in the most promising scientific and technological fields in which Russian companies have the potential to be leaders in the world.


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