Russia needs to invest and innovate: study
Russia needs to step up investment in research and development to drive the innovation needed to reduce its economic reliance on natural resource exploitation, a study released Monday said.
The OECD's review of innovation policy, conducted in collaboration with Russian authorities, found that Russia had considerable scientific and engineering talent in its public research institutes but that there were weak links with production firms.
"The review concludes that the primary goal of Russia's innovation policy should be to shift the national innovation system's 'centre of gravity' away from the publicly-owned R&D system and towards production firms, whether public or private," an overview of the report said.
The system, a legacy of the Soviet era, left firms with little capacity to innovate and many had little incentive to do so as they had secure markets, the report added.
It also found that overall, Russia spent far too little on research and development. In 2008, it spent only 1.03 percent of gross domestic product on research and development, down from 1.28 percent in 2003.
This compares to an average of 2.33 percent in the 34 advanced nations that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Weak regulation and infrastructure, as well as corruption also frustrate innovation, said the report, while too much funding is going to high-tech.
Russia's government has undertaken measures to promote innovation and modernisation, including the construction of a high-tech hub near Moscow that would focus on developing nuclear energy, IT and telecoms.
In January, President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Russian state conglomerates and other companies to increase their spending on research and development, threatening to sack managers who fail to support innovation.
© 2011 AFP