5.4.9. Technological Infrastructure of Innovation Activity The traditional infrastructure of innovation activity, including technoparks, business incubators, technology transfer centers, continued to unfold in 2011. It can even be asserted that these infrastructure elements experience now a new cycle of development whose distinctive features became a regional authorities’ more vigorous contribution thereto, programs of the RF Ministry of Education and Science on support of university infrastructure, and development institutions’ initiatives. That said, the number of technoparks and incubators established, and all the more so - in operation, in Russia remains unknown. By some estimates, there are some 100 technoparks and 120 business incubators in the country. At the onset, many technoparks were created as real estate objects, which is why they used to face the dilemma: either to develop projects, or to make money by leasing out office space. Plus, there was no previous record of development of projects (which can be partly ascribed to the fact that technoparls initially were not tasked to do that). In 2011, the Association of Hi-Tech Technoparks initiated development of a statute on the status of technopark4, which will be awarded basing on strictly defined notions, such as “innovation”, “resident”, and “technopark” per se. This should help identify genuine innovation infrastructure objects. Other lacunas are being filled in, too, including establishment of back offices at technoparks and incubators. Until recently, most operating incubators had not adhere to the classical rules which read that an incubator shall not be a permanent “hotel” for businesses; nor shall they be home to mature companies already selling their products; and local corporate residents should have various kinds of services at hand. Technoparks, too, faced similar challenges, and, in many instances, had loose ties with universities or research organizations, which encouraged their transformation into mere real estate objects.
Presently, new approaches to formation of technoparks have emerged. Thus, a technopark under construction at Novosibirsk Science Campus since August 2010 has thus far been the only one wherein construction of more than a half of objects is funded by private corporate investors which will subsequently reside there. That bolsters their eagerness to have robust logistics and operations on the spot. Inside the technopark, there is an incubator to host 30-firms for the term of up to three years. In summer, the technopark hosts summer schools, with mentors delivering tuition and training students and postgraduates in the art of going into in Authorities are set to establish a center of cluster development in the frame of “INO Tomsk 2020”.
A Skolkovo’s clon: // Poisk, No. 6, 11.02.2011, p. 2.
The consortium of Tomsk universities and research organizations “UniTomsk” was established on 16 November 2011. Source: O. Bulgakova. Precedent//Poisk, No. 47, 25.11.2011, p. 20.
Kolesova O. What is the name//Poisk, No. 5, 3.02.2012, p. 2.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks novation business in particular. For businesses such events form a source of both prospective projects and cadres. Besides, such training sessions enable one to expose challenges facing the current university education system from the businesses’ perspective, which, once agreed upon by the parties concerned, allows incorporation of more down-to-earth elements into the university curricula. The technopark thus contributes to shaping up a “classical” interplay between education, research and business.
Some business incubators can boast success stories. While their overwhelming majority was created as office centers with beneficial rental fees available to fresh entrepreneurs, rarely were companies provided with various kinds of backing, be those counseling or assistance with finding an investor. Hence a very low rate of new businesses survival and hatching and, consequently, development institutions’ laments about the scarcity of innovation projects and companies. The analysis of successful projects highlights the importance of the regional administrations’ stance on the issue and well thought-through operational conditions of infrastructure objects.
The above conclusion can be proved by the record of the Nizhny Novgorod Innovation Business Incubator (NIBI). Founded in 2007 with the federal and regional governments’ support, it offers to its residents a whole lot of services, including, inter alia:
- fully equipped office space (office machines, furniture, telephone and access to the Internet) on easy terms;
- free training and consulting services in the area of management, marketing, law, accounting, and technical consulting;
- assistance with drafting the business plan;
- assistance with promoting the company’s product or service;
- assistance with searching for investment;
- organization of a free participation in exhibitions and conferences at the national and international levels.
Since the business incubator’s onset, out of 18 resident companies initially picked on the basis of competition 7 ones have already hit the commodization stage, while another 6 companies have left the incubator and successfully operates on the market. Most importantly, their products and services enjoy demand both at the regional and federal levels, and some foreign organizations got interested in their technologies1.
So, the new forms of fostering entrepreneurship boast constantly increasing success stories and it is critical to ensure their diffusion and, where necessary, institutionalization. The proper vehicle for this is the Association of the Innovation Regions of Russia (AIRR), which was established in September 2011. The Association unites 8 Russian regions: Republics of Tatarstan and Mordovia, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Kaluga oblasts, and Krasnoyarsk and Perm krais. That Mr. I. Bortnik, the founder of the Fund for Assistance to Development of Small Forms of Enterprises in the Research and Technical Sphere was appointed the CEO of the Association adds much to its positioning.
The Charter of the Association reads that its mission lies in “pursuing an efficient public regional policy which helps promote socio-economic development of Subjects of Russian Federation and Russian Federation on the whole by means of inter-regional cooperation between Subjects of Russian Federation which hold membership in the Association”.
http://www.government-nnov.ru/id=Section Social Sphere The Association began to operate quite vehemently both in its capacity of an expert body, a lobbyist of regional interests, and as an important intermediary in various initiatives. Thus, the Association and Skolkovo Foundation signed a cooperative agreement, in accordance with which the Association promotes projects of the Fund for Assistance’s grantees for their subsequent development at Skolkovo, thus attempting to translate the still eclectic concept of “innovation lift” to practice.
5.4.10. Technological Platforms as a new Mechanism of Creation of New Ties The rise of technological platforms can be interpreted as a new phase of the advancement of the cluster policy under which clusters are shaped up following the territorial, rather than thematic, sign. At the same time, technological platforms form a new element aiming at fostering the ties between main stakeholders to the innovation process - academia, education and business in the first place The instrument was not concocted in Russia – it was borrowed from the European Union, but has already begun exhibiting Russia-specific features.
In compliance with the “Procedure of formation of the list of technological platforms”1, technological platform “is understood as a communication lever aimed at bolstering efforts on creation of promising commercial technologies, new products (services), attraction of additional resources to conduct research and development on the multistakeholder basis (business, academia, government, the civil society), improvement f the normative-legal base in the area of scientific-technological, innovation development” (p. 2 of the “Procedure”).
So, the ultimate objective of formation of technological platforms lies in generation of promising commercial technologies. Plus, technological platforms widen corporations participating in them by:
- granting access to new resources to carry out R&D;
- ensuring their contribution in development of priority avenues of industries’ advancement;
- respective technical regulations and standards (lobbying of corporate interests);
- expanding the planning horizon and ensuring optimization of business planning, as it is both developers and producers of technologies, and their consumers that participate in the platforms;
- bolster efficiency of spending by expanding outsourcing;
- promoting international cooperation;
- addressing the cadres problem for research and business.
That said, the emphasis is put on the technological platform being a “communication lever”. While correct per se, this concept appears somewhat misguiding to potential participants in the platforms, as the tradition of the Russian innovative policy implies that concomitant with the granting a certain status usually come extra budget infusions.
A typical European algorithm of shaping up technological platforms and their operational standards includes three stages. At the first stage, priorities are identified which de facto predefine the clusters’ agenda. The second stage sees development of “roadmaps” for platforms.
At the third stage, there begins projects implementation, including R&D, which are funded out of various sources.
Approved by the decision of the Government Commission on Hi-Tech and Innovation of 3 August 2010.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks When compared with the last year’s processes in Russia, the present arrangement exhibits its “biases from the Western standards” already at its first stage. As of the moment of collection of proposals on formation of platforms, the nation saw the list of priority avenues and respective critical technologies be revised, with the said list having no relation whatsoever to the initiative on shaping up the platform. The list of 8 priority directions and 27 critical technologies was approved by the presidential Decree of 7 July 20111. In parallel with that, there exists yet another priority list – namely, 5 “presidential” “technological breakthrough” avenues identified yet in 20092, in accordance with which, for example, clusters in i-city Skolkovo were formed.
Subjects of the existing 28 technological platforms3 are consistent with the “technological breakthrough” priorities (albeit cannot be reduced to those) and appear partially overlapping with the eight national priorities and a number of critical technologies identified in pursuance of them. Accordingly, technological platforms found themselves beyond main financing mechanisms of financing of priorities implemented via the federal target programs system and FTP “Research and development across priority avenues of development of the scientifictechnological complex of Russia for 2007-2013” in the first place.
Meanwhile, as far as long-term development prospects are concerned, technological platforms draw much attention at the federal level, particularly in the most recent version of the “Strategy of innovation development of Russian Federation for the period of up to 2020” approved by the RF Government on 7 September 2011. The document identifies technological platforms as a key instrument of coordination of the emerging innovation system in the frame of which “science, government, business and consumers will be developing a common vision of prospects of technological advancement of a respective industry or a technological direction, shaping up and implementing a prospective research and development program”. Technological platforms are set to play a special part in the system of fostering the public-private partnership, corporate research, etc.
The second stage, that is, design of “roadmaps” la Russe is linked to innovation development programs of corporations with government participation4. Plus, a distinctive feature of Russian platforms is the obligingness of a universities’ contribution thereto. A series of companies have thus far viewed the requirement as a tie in, while universities, on the contrary, are nearly enthused to contribute to shaping up technological platforms. Thus, a recent survey of 193 academics (laboratory, chair, university research center heads, executives of small-sized investment firms under universities) demonstrated5 that such a kind of activity as creation of Decree of the President of RF of 07.07.2011 “On approval of priority directions of development of science, technologies and technics in Russian Federation and the list of critical technologies Of Russian Federation.
Energy efficiency and energy saving, nuclear technologies, space technologies, medical technologies, strategic information technologies.
Of a total of 203 applications 28 platforms were selected. As of December 2011, yet another 5 applications were considered for inclusion in the list of technological platforms, Source: data of the RF ministry of Economic Development.
According to the Executive Order by the RF President by results of the work of the Commission under the RF President on modernization and technological development of Russia’s economy. (No. PR-22 of 4 January 2010, item 5 “b”), corporations with government participation engaged in innovation development programs shall partake in shaping up technological platforms and their operation.
Klimov A.A., Frumin I.D. An abridged report on studies into best practices in developing the management system by research and innovation activities in Russian tertiary education institutions. Russian Academy of NaSection Social Sphere technological platforms is third most popular one in the list of kinds of cooperation with Russian corporations, trailing behind just such kinds of joint activities as cooperative R&D and research commissioned by the corporate sector. Quite surprisingly, technical platforms proved more popular than training of cadres for corporate partners.