RVC with the assistance of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian federation has released the second open expert analytical report "Russia - Course on Innovation" on the implementation of the Strategy of Innovative Development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020. The research was prepared in joint effort with development institutions, expert community, and market participants. The intelligent partner in preparing the report was the international consulting company Frost & Sullivan.
The document, integrated by RVC for the second time in a row, contains analyses of the results that have been achieved in the implementation of the activities under the Strategy in 2013 made by leading experts and market participants and defines problem areas and areas most favourable to innovation in each of the 7 Strategy areas.
The research included over 90 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and investors, representatives of development institutions, and heads of leading technology companies. As in the previous year, one of the most important research tools was a public opinion poll, which was attended by more than 170 participants of the market of innovation and technological entrepreneurship.
Igor Agamirzyan, CEO and Chairman of the Board, RVC JSC, noted - 'Over the short time that has passed since the start of the Strategy of Innovation Development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020, we've managed to do a lot. We've created the basic, most essential elements of the ecosystem. In accordance with the provisions of the Strategy, the relevant industry and federal programs are adopted and put into action. Development institutions have formed and are actively using a variety of tools to support innovation. The activity of private capital has increased. There is a major reform of the education and science system implemented in the country. Some market mechanisms, such as venture capital investment industry and its supporting infrastructure are already working effectively.'
The report also contains discussion and analysis of the activities implemented in key areas of the Strategy:
- Formation of competencies in innovation and human resource development.
- Facilitation of innovation activities of enterprises, including small and medium-sized businesses, and involvement of market participants in development of a common innovation policy.
- Promotion of research commercialization through improving the efficiency of science, supporting the most successful research teams, and improving the mechanisms of commercialization of research.
- Creation by the state of favourable conditions for doing business, and identification of technology priorities for economic development.
- Creation of the innovative infrastructure, construction of an "innovation elevator" for coordination between different subjects and objects of the existing system, and raising awareness about the business opportunities and support channels available.
- Russia's integration into the world community through creation of a system based on network cooperation ("open innovation"), support for export-oriented domestic producers, and facilitation of technology transfer.
- Development of innovative capacity of regions through creation of regional clusters and other elements of the innovation ecosystem and development institutions in the field.
The report showed that part of the tasks set has been implemented over the period from 2011 to 2013 (the first stage of the Strategy implementation). In particular, basic infrastructure mechanisms has been established, financing mechanisms has been practised, significant progress has been made in terms of promotion of innovative entrepreneurship and creation of special education programs. Today we can speak of the progressive development of the innovation ecosystem.
Russia has gradually established the trend of technological entrepreneurship development. Experts note the significant increase in the number of young people involved in innovation processes. Still it should be noted that there is a gap between the needs of businesses and the existing supply in the education system. Young scientists often seek to realize their potential abroad, and the number of startups that are based on Russian "new wave" development is still small. To solve these problems, the experts polled in preparation of the report proposed to focus on the development of business infrastructure in universities, establishment of programs for the return of scientists who have left the country, building university-business relationship, and adjustment of educational programs to the needs of the real economy.
The implementation of state-funded programs for innovative development (PID) of large companies, launched three years ago, continued in the reporting period. These are PIDs that are now seen as an important source of demand for innovation. During the implementation of the programs, the practice of "open innovation" is increasingly used, which implies an active cooperation with foreign technology companies and teams. Unfortunately, this is hampered by inadequate legal mechanisms governing intellectual property issues in relation to technology transfer. A positive result of the first stage of the Strategy implementation was the tax treatment improvement for a significant number of the innovation market participants and alignment of the system of grant and loan financing.
In 2013 we continued to optimize the generated "Innovation Elevator" - a system created by the state development institutions supporting innovative projects in various stages. During this period, RVC focused on the most important areas - creation of seed investment funds and sector funds in priority areas. The fund MIC Civil Technology was created in 2013. It is focused on technology transfer between the civilian and defence sectors. In addition, we have launched the project of Ramenskoye technology park, the core of which will be an engineering centre of precision instruments and intelligent embedded systems.
In general, 40% of the experts polled believe that the environment for the emergence and commercialization of innovations in Russia has become more favourable. However, the effectiveness of tax incentives and benefits for innovators is still low, only 13% of the experts gave a positive assessment of these factors. According to the experts, improvement of legislation aimed at increasing the volume of public procurement containing innovative components would solve the backlog of problems in this area.
The role of universities is becoming increasingly important for commercialization of intellectual property. In 2011-2013, Russian universities invested 6.8 billion rubles from their equities in implementation of programs for development of innovation infrastructure. Over this period, 5223 organizations have been established to support innovation. In addition, there were created technology transfer centres (TTC) - today there are 120 of them nationwide. In Russia, there were established new kinds of educational centres, such as national research universities of Russia (NRU), the main task of which is to integrate educational and scientific processes into single world-level complexes. The NRU status has been assigned to 29 universities across the country.
In addition, there have been introduced competitive funding mechanisms of fundamental and applied research. As a result, Russia maintains the volume of R&D expenditure at the level of at least 1.5% of GDP. According to experts, administrative barriers and the quality of research and development have ceased to be the main obstacles to commercialize inventions. Most of the experts polled (59.9%) has called the low demand for innovation of the real sector enterprises as the main factor preventing the commercialization. Experts say that increased incentives for implementation of innovation by the real sector of the economy and improved system of preferences in the implementation of domestic innovation would make it possible to solve a number of problems that have accumulated by now.
An important outcome of the first stage of the Strategy was the launch of the project to create innovative regional clusters (IRC) designed to ensure the integrated development of innovation ecosystems and promotion of advanced projects in regions. In this case, the market participants see the need to ensure a stable demand for innovation, as well as the elimination of disparities and imbalances in the innovative development of the regions as main the problems to be solved. In addition, the experts have indicated other areas that require attention. In particular, it is necessary to provide access to the "long money" in industries where the creation of the product and its bringing to the market takes at least 5 to 7 years. Respondents also point to the importance of continuing the reform of Russian science.
In 2014, it was the first time the report included a thematic tab devoted to the analysis of innovation potential and strategies of globalization of Russian IT companies. The report's authors note that during 2013, the Russian IT market was stagnating after a brief post-crisis growth. In 2013, its volume reached $ 33 billion in terms of value with a negative growth rate in comparison with the previous year (-1%), while the export of software products and software development services has increased compared with the previous year by 15% - to $ 5.2 billion. Thus the export of products and services of domestic software companies have already exceeded 0.9% of Russia's total exports, while the share of Russian software companies in the world market was about 2.5%.
The authors of the report together with the expert community have selected 19 success stories of local companies focused on the advanced technology and market trends - software development (Artezio, Luxoft, and ASCON), mobile applications (SOFTKEY), e-commerce (Qiwi), data management (Acronis), integration and engineering (Neolant), cloud services (Taxcom), products and services in the field of linguistics and translation (ABBYY), development and production of LTE-equipment (Yota Devices), and others.
According to the Roman Kosyachkov, Deputy CEO and Managing Director of RVC, today 'the importance of the innovation sector as the main "driver" of sustainable economic development is recognized in most countries. This is why many of them are implementing increasingly active innovation policies and deploying programs of state support that has already resulted in a significant increase in international competition in the technology market. At the same time, the emergence of technologies that can be called a "breakthrough" occurs less often. The increasingly resource-consuming "breakthrough technologies" do not give any long-term advantages to their owners, and are globalized almost immediately. In the short term, it is important for Russia to not only seek and develop these technologies, but also pay attention to the deep modernization of basic technologies and reasonable import substitution."
The full text (148 pages) of the Report in Russian and English can be found at the RVC's web site in the section "Analysis and Research."