The program based approach is not the best possible one to be applied when new organizations are being created, or when there is a need to provide financing for the material base of research (e. g., centers for shared use of equipment – SSU). It would be more feasible, at least at the initial stage, to finance such projects by way of subventions, and not on the basis of contracts for research and development.
The second point is that developers have limited opportunities for attracting off budget funding; there were some instances when the requirements for co Approved by the Government’s Decree No. 613 of 17 October 2006.
Section Social Sphere financing were not complied with, or the funding was attracted in volumes much smaller than those promised. This may in part be explained by the fact that financ ing was allocated to works in which the private sector had no interest. Accordingly, there has emerged the problem arising from the need for more precisely defined procedures and criteria for experts’ selection of projects. Another possible reason may be that the terms of a state order are too vague, and thereby the State secures the right to diminish the volume of allocated funding in an event of a diminished budget financing allocated to the said purposes, which, in its turn, represents an obstacle from the point of view of a private co investor, for whom it would be diffi cult to plan the development works under such conditions. And finally, the third reason is the poorly determined rights to the results of those research and devel opment works to which state support has been allocated. The State, as a rule, in cludes in its contracts a clause whereby it may transfer intellectual property to third parties for its own needs. On the whole, everything that had to do with intellectual property was determined in the FTSTP rather vaguely. Besides, no funding was earmarked in those projects for the search of patents and the protection of intellec tual property.
The third point is that no mechanism for interdepartmental interaction was elaborated. Foreign experiences have shown that, under contemporary conditions, the implementation of large scale programs of the FTSTP’s scope requires the si multaneous participation of different departments “responsible” for different as pects of a program. In this latter case, a program’s goals (educational and com mercial, in addition to scientific proper) can be achieved with the highest degree of efficiency. This, if the Rosobrazovanie, the Fund for Promoting the Development of Small Size Forms of Enterprises in the Sphere of Science and Technology, as well as other departments, join their efforts within the framework of the FTSTP, a com bined effect may be produced as a result. The Rosobrazovanie will be in charge of the adjustment of the public education standards in some selected areas, while small size enterprises will become involved in the implementation of projects and in the first stages of their commercialization through the Fund. Branch departments may issue certificates for the development of selected critical technologies. This will make it possible to find comprehensive solutions to certain problems associ ated with research, personnel and innovations.
Last year, certain results of the implementation of major innovational projects of state importance (the so called mega projects) were summarized, these pro jects having been financed through target programs within the framework of the FTSTP. In 2006, 6 mega projects supported by the Ministry of Public Education and Science were to be completed. So far, no generalized data concerning the re sults achieved in course of their implementation have been published. Perhaps the reason for this is inadequate monitoring procedures, because no funding was allo cated to such purposes in the Program’s budget.
The principal and, in fact, the only criterion of the successful outcome of mega projects was the standard requiring that the volume of sales should be five times higher than the volume of allocated budget funding. As far as this index is RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks concerned, the results of the projects vary considerably. Thus, the aggregate ex cess achieved in all the completed projects is less than threefold (the State in vested 3.68 bn roubles, and the sales of new products amounted to 9 bn roubles49), while in one project the excess of sales volume over the volume of allocated budget funding was eightfold.
The available information concerning some of the most successful mega projects has made it possible to summarize the achievements, as well as to point to certain problems that had emerged during their implementation. By way of exam ple, the following successful mega projects can be mentioned here:
• “The development of technologies and serial production of a new generation of sealing and fire proof materials for general industrial use”, within the framework of which the appropriate technology was developed and the serial production of sealing and fire proof materials of a new generation, designed for general in dustrial use, was launched. These materials are applied in nuclear and thermal power engineering, in railway transport, in transport machine – building, in aerospace industry, in the oil and gas sector, in chemical industry, and in the housing and utilities complex.
• “The development of technologies and the launching of the production of appli ances and equipment for nanotechnologies”, the result of which was the pro duction of appliances and equipment for nanotechnologies in accordance with a new technology and its supply to the enterprises and organizations working in the fields of biotechnologies, nanodispersion materials, new pharmaceuticals, and to centers for nanotechnologies and microscopic probing. Besides, this new equipment is purchased by the EU member states, the countries of South East Asia and the USA.
• “The creation of technologies and the launching of the industrial production of metal materials with twofold improvement of their most important exploitation properties”, under which new compoundings of high quality steels and welding materials were developed for purposes of import substitution, designed for floating and stationary rigs for oil and gas extraction under the extreme condi tions of the northern seas’ shelves, high pressure underwater pipelines, arctic icebreaker tankers, and construction structures. These technologies are de signed for dual purposes50.
The achievements of these projects are represented by personnel reestima tions that occurred during their implementation. Complex teams were formed, ca pable of finding solutions to large scale and complicated problems. As a result, several new projects have been launched in partnership with some big businesses.
Summary of the report by A. Fursenko addressing the issue “Improvement of mechanisms for de veloping and implementing the most important innovation projects of national significance”, 7 De cember 2006. See http://www.mon.gov.ru/news/announce/3231/.
Cit. from the report by A. Fursenko addressing the issue “Improvement of mechanisms for devel oping and implementing the most important innovation projects of national significance”, 7 Decem ber 2006. See http://www.mon.gov.ru/news/announce/3231/.
Section Social Sphere In some of the mega projects, a new administrative approach was applied – the outsourcing of the managerial and monitoring functions, which yielded good results. External management makes it possible to follow up development works being implemented under projects with a higher degree of objectivity and speed, and to make appropriate adjustments wherever necessary.
The problems encountered in course of the implementation of mega projects were associated both with the existing normative and legal restrictions and with the shortcomings inherent in the instrument of a mega project proper. The problems of normative legal regulation relate to aspects like the mechanism for accepting intellectual property on an account, the organization and effectuation of govern ment procurement, and disposal of property in the form of special equipment nec essary for research and development. The main gap in the system has occurred because the existing system of contracts does not take into account the peculiar features of the implementation of partnership projects where the State and private businesses act as co investors.
The drawback of the instrument of mega projects is that the financing for re search and development comes from the budget only, while private companies al locate no funds to these purposes. Besides, research and development is carried out, as a rule, only by research organizations, while industrial companies are re sponsible for organizing production and sales. This scheme only slightly differs from the traditional Soviet system of “vnedrenie” [implementation]. From the point of view of promoting private investments in research and development, more pro gressive is the approach when research organizations and businesses co finance research and development. In this case, the research and development activity will be mainly aimed at providing solutions to the problems faced by Russian industry, while at the same time this approach may promote the development of new small and medium sized science intensive enterprises.
In addition to mega projects, special priority in 2006 was given to the program oriented to the development of nanotechnologies. In August, the Ordinance of the RF Government concerning the coordination of works in the sphere of nanotech nologies was issued51. The critical degree of obsolescence of specialized equip ment for research was recognized as the principal problem faced by this sphere.
Therefore, in the 2007 budget, a substantial growth in expenditures on the devel opment of research and technological infrastructure for nanoindustry was envis aged. The draft programs, beside the upgrading of the material base and equip ment for research, envisage the creation of a system for information exchange in this sphere, personnel training for research and development and for practical ap plication of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, the formation of research and education complexes, centers for collective education, etc. Resulting from this multitude of goals, the project became eclectic and failed to receive the approval by the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade. As of the end of January 2007, the draft program for the development of nanotechnologies had not yet been Ordinance of the RF Government “On the program for coordinating the activities in the sphere of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the Russian Federation”, No. 1188 r of 25 August 2006.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks coordinated between the departments. Meanwhile, under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Education and Science, the Interdepartmental Task Force for issues relat ing to the coordination of activities in the spheres of nanotechnologies and nanoin dustry was created. Its task was to submit to the government quarterly reports on the state of affairs in the said spheres. Besides, the Rosnauka announced a tender for obtaining the status of a head organization under the program in the sphere of nanotechnologies. This organization is to become the first national laboratory.
4.5.3. The Personnel Policy of the State In late 2006, the personnel policy, and more particularly, the issues relating to the attraction of young people into the sphere of science, once again became the focus of the government’s attention. In November, a special interdepartmental task force was created for dealing with the issue of reproduction of manpower in the sphere of research and education. The purpose of that task force was to coordi nate the state measures designed to support the personnel employed in the gov ernment sector of science and in higher education52 and to find appropriate solu tions to the problem of reproduction of manpower in the academic sphere. The interdepartmental task force must develop yet another program – this time with the status of a federal target program, with the working title “Scientific and scientific educational cadres of innovational Russia for the years 2008–2012”. The Ministry of Public Education and Science set the goal of attracting to the sphere of science, through the implementation of various initiatives, no less than 3,000 young scien tists. So far, approximately 1,500 young researchers have become involved in gov ernment programs, and not all of them do, indeed, stay in the sphere of science for a lengthy period of time. Among the commission’s members, there are scientists, administrators of research institutes, rectors of higher educational establishments, as well as government officials. No representatives of businesses have been in cluded in the commission, although the business community is becoming more and more actively involved in the training and retraining of personnel, including for the research and development departments of commercial companies. Their partici pation could have been beneficial and could have resulted in new approaches to resolving the existing cadre problems being generated.
Almost simultaneously the government’s initiative in respect to cadres was augmented by the participation of state scientific funds, which organized new tar geted competitions in order to support young researches. In November, the Rus sian Humanitarian Scientific Fund (RHSF) announced a targeted competition in support of young scientists to be held in the year 2007, and in December the Fund in support of the development of small size forms of enterprises in the sphere of science and technologies, backed by the Rosnauka and the Rosobrazovanie, launched the program “Participant in youth scientific – innovational competition” (or “U.M.N.I.K.”). The RHSF will be providing targeted support to the young, by Ordinance of the RF Government of 16 September 2006, No. 1303 r, “On the interdepartmental task force for resolving the issues of manpower reproduction in the sphere of science and technolo gies”.