Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

EFP Brief No. 208: Forecasting of Long-term Innovation Development in Russian Economic Sectors: Results, Lessons and Policy Conclusions

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

The exercise presented includes scenarios of key Russian economic sectors and determines necessary technologies in accordance with such scenarios. As key sectors, the foresight team investigated the energy, iron and nonferrous-metals industry, agriculture, the chemical industry and pharmaceutics, the aircraft industry, commercial shipbuilding and the information sector.

Intensifying Foresight Efforts to Modernise the Russian Economy

Over the last years, we have seen increasing activity of federal and regional authorities in innovation and industrial policy in Russia. This activity has led to a series of documents and commissions concerned with the long-term development of the Russian economy. Among them are industry strategies (in more than 15 sectors), a conception of long-term socio-economic development for the Russian Federation (RF), priority directions for the development of science and technologies, and the Commission for Modernization and Technological Development of Russia’s Economy under the RF’s President.

The year 2006 marked the first “Concept for Long-Term Russian S&T Forecast till 2025” in the country’s modern history. This was developed and approved in cooperation with key ministries and science and business representatives. In 2006, practical steps toward implementing some of the foresight and forecast projects were launched (by 2012 we will have more than 50 key projects at different levels, including the national, regional and corporate level).

The first serious attempt to organise a foresight project at the national level was conducted more than 30 years ago within the Complex Program of S&T Development for the USSR. It aimed at S&T forecasting for a period of 20 years and can be considered a project of the first foresight generation (according to the definition by Georghiou et al., 2008). For the next 10-15 years, there was an absence of foresight and forecast exercises. In recent years, a number of initiatives have been launched to overcome this deficiency (for more information, see Sokolov & Poznyak, 2011).

Modern foresight projects in Russia today are very much in line with the current fifth generation of foresight exercises in developed countries, which includes a focus on social context and a strong policy-advisory orientation. Thus, we can say that Russian foresight development has taken a shortcut in these years and “leapfrogged” directly to what is currently considered the state of the art in foresight methodology.

The main challenges that these projects address are:

  • the need for diversification and a decreasing energy-output ratio of national GDP,
  • the increasing role of modernisation,
  • the transition to the innovation path proposed by the government,
  • threats from emerging countries (China, India) to Russia’s traditional markets,
  • changes in the global value chain, and the need to find new niches and markets,
  • opportunities to cooperate with foreign countries.

The key objectives of these projects are to:

  • identify key drivers and trends for the Russian economy,
  • identify the most critical technologies,
  • elaborate scenarios for key sectors and S&T fields,
  • develop policy recommendations at the federal and regional levels,
  • identify research priorities,
  • build expert networks around research organisations,
  • create pilot technology roadmaps for S&T fields and key sectors.

Methodology and Database for Foresight of Russian Economic Sectors

To achieve our aim, the database was based on two pillars. The first included information and relevant data from foreign and Russian forecasts, foresights at the country, industry and corporate level, and key Russian documents on S&T and industry development. The second pillar comprised data from various industry experts, representatives of key industries and consulting companies.

To construct various sector scenarios, we used elaborated qualitative models, which included sector analysis (characteristics of the technological base, organisation structure, role in exports, etc.), the identification of basic strategic alternatives for future sector development (e.g. technological and institutional), the construction of models of sector development, future visions, and the identification of priorities for S&T development in the sector in question for each vision.

This resulted in four to eight prospective scenarios for each key sector. To discuss the preliminary visions and present a final set of scenarios, we held a series of round tables and conferences. We also formed a multi-level pool of experts: the core included so-called “system experts” – high level professionals who were able to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the vision for the sector in question (2-3 persons for each sector); the next level included sector analysts who could contribute in-depth knowledge of different aspects relevant to the particular scenario (e.g., on markets and technologies; 7-12 persons for each sector); the last level was public relations experts and experts familiar with governmental and administrative processes and included representatives of industry journals, key federal and regional authorities (about 10-15 persons for each sector). We conducted focus groups, in-depth interviews and surveys to gain information from the experts participating in the project.

The beneficiaries of the project results are business (large, small and medium enterprises, business associations, industry institutions), government (state institutes for innovation development, federal and regional authorities), science (the system of Russian academies, research institutes), universities (leading institutes and labs in the Russian higher education system), and experts in the fields under consideration.

Project Results: Sectoral Models and Critical Paths

Some of the main sectoral results indicated that key sector development scenarios took institutional and technologic alternatives into account while identifying the main technologies necessary for implementing the scenarios. The results for the various sectors were highly diverse due to different sectoral structures and the number of sectors (ten). The table and illustration below briefly show some results for two sectors.

Medical Equipment and Pharmaceutics

After the sector analysis, we elaborated seven alternative paths of development for the pharmaceutics and medical equipment sector based on a literature review along the criteria mode of regulation, position in value-added chain, degree of modernisation and management. Then we verified alternatives by consulting industry experts and developed the five most probable models.

Information and Communication Technology

In case of the ICT sector, most experts agreed that a transition to the most preferable scenarios (“niche leader” or “technological leader”) cannot be accomplished directly. The only way to achieve them is to establish bridgeheads and use the competitive advantages gained to further advance toward the goal. Each scenario in Figure 1 contains a description of a future vision, possible barriers and risks, pros and cons, and recommendations for a shift in policy.

The exercise led to the following three policy-oriented results: (1) alternative “preferable” visions for the development of key sectors that are not limited only to the simple dichotomy of “bad” or “good” as in major government S&T documents; (2) recommendations for integrating long-term S&T forecasting as a basic instrument for strategic policymaking; (3) formation of a multi-level expert pool to serve as a communication network for discussing and constructing Russian S&T policy.

Foresight Culture Still Underdeveloped in Russia

We believe that the lessons and experience obtained during this project are representative of the whole field of foresight and forecast initiatives in modern Russian history. One of the key success factors in foresight is participation of key stakeholders and experts involved in shaping the future. In the case of Russia (at least 3-4 years ago), a lack of foresight culture has resulted in an “a priori”, indiscriminately negative perception of foresight initiatives. This can be explained historically by the fact that there have been some serious gaps between science and business and, as a result, in the supply of and demand for innovation. Mutual complaints are voiced to that effect. Business shows little interest in projects oriented toward long-term outcomes, lacks receptivity to innovations and displays low levels of global competition. We can say that the key actors (government and business) responsible for shaping the future are not fully up to the task. They have lost the “habit” of planning for a time span of more than 2-3 years.

One of the repercussions of the Soviet heritage is a lack of experts capable of acting as so-called “integrators”: experts able to devise strategies based on combining market pull with technological push. As a result, we have to first nurture a new generation of experts, typically to be recruited from representatives from the “technology” side, with the skills required to adopt a more comprehensive perspective of the sector as a whole.

Apart from qualification, a lack of expert commitment poses another problem in that experts show low interest in collaborative work and are more intent on lobbying and pushing their own individual interests.

Another serious drawback in foresight culture in Russia is an insufficient commitment to the processes required to formulate visions and scenarios on part of federal and regional authorities: they usually want to see “ready-to-use” results instead of participating in the process from the beginning.

We believe that a serious obstacle to the development of foresight culture in Russia is the lack of actually working, sustainable, systematic communication platforms for discussing different foresight results. Only in the past 2-3 years have they grown in number, particularly platforms launched by national research universities, technology platforms, etc. (for further information see Simachev, 2011).

Development of a common “cure” for deficiencies in foresight culture in Russia is complicated by the fact that Russian economic sectors are of a multi-structural nature, technologically and institutionally: some basic technologies are 100-150 years old and modernisation processes have not yet been completed in most industries. As a result, we observe a low level of innovation receptivity among Russian companies. Taking this into account, government policy should switch from “one-size-fits-all” instruments towards an innovation policy tailored to the specific situation in each sector or sub-sector.

Authors: Alexander Chulok, National Research University Higher School of Economics                                                       achulok@hse.ru
Sponsors: Ministry of Education and Science (Russian Federation)
Type: National foresight exercise
Organizer: Interdepartmental Analytical Center (www.iacenter.ru), Alexander Chulok, achulok@hse.ru
Duration: 2009-2010 Budget: N/A Time Horizon: 2030 Date of Brief: July 2011  

 

EFP Brief No. 208_Forecasting Innovation in Russian Economic Sectors

Sources and References

Georghiou, L., Cassingena Harper, J., Keenan, M.; Miles, I. & Pooper, R. (eds.) (2008): The Handbook of Technology Foresight: Concepts and Practice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Sokolov A. & Poznyak A. (2011): Building Foresight Capacities for the Modernisation of the Russian Economy, EFP Brief No. 193, available for download at http://www.foresight-platform.eu.

Simachev Y. (2011): Technology Platforms as a New Instrument of the Russian Innovation Policy. available for download at http://www.iacenter.ru/publication-files/157/133.pdf

EFP Brief No. 193: Building Foresight Capacities for the Modernisation of the Russian Economy

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The efficiency of the national innovation system in Russia is the key issue in the transition from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. The President’s programme of technological modernisation of industries announced in 2010 envisages a set of systemic policy measures aimed at bridging the gaps between key stakeholders, i.e. business, R&D institutions, universities and government. S&T foresight is considered as one of the key instruments to identify national S&T priorities and formulate a long-term perspective for S&T development and innovation in Russia.

Russian Innovation System Needs Boost

The Russian national innovation system (NIS) has been facing problems hampering the transfer of R&D results to the real economy. Despite increasing public R&D funding, the output measured in the number of international publications and their citation, the innovation activities of industrial enterprises and the technology balance of payment have been deteriorating. The share of non-budgetary R&D funding in Russia is much less compared to more developed countries, network communications between major NIS stakeholders are underdeveloped and business participation in the formulation of the national R&D agenda is very limited. All this results in a rather low level of R&D investment performance.

In recent years, the Russian government has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at increasing NIS efficiency, and foresight methods are considered as one of the key tools for orienting the technological modernisation of the national economy.

The crisis of 2008-2009 has sensitised the Russian business community to issues concerning the longer-term prospects of the future development. In this environment, the broad discussion of foresight results has triggered a burst of interest in forward-looking activities in Russia – both at the government level and in many large companies. Government and business representatives have started to perceive foresight exercises as a practical instrument for setting strategic goals and discovering alternative pathways to achieve them.

Among the latest major steps to enhance productivity of Russian enterprises are several government initiatives:

  • Creation of a system of technology platforms
  • Innovation programmes for the largest Russian companies fully or partly owned by the state
  • Plans to establish a world-class innovation cluster in Skolkovo (Moscow suburban area)
  • Promotion of development institutes (Russian Venture Corporation, Rusnano and others)

All of the above-mentioned initiatives to a greater or lesser extent are based on the results of previous nation-wide foresight exercises, including the two cycles of selecting national S&T priorities and critical technologies in 2006 and 2011 as well as the large-scale S&T foresight projects covering all major areas of research, including a national S&T Delphi survey and the recent study of prospective S&T clusters promising the highest social and economic return.

The post-crisis realities highlighted a need for more detailed analyses of prospective S&T studies with particular attention to be paid to the practical orientation of the national S&T system and bridging the gap between the major components of the Russian triple helix: S&T, business and the government (Figure 1).

Identifying Future Demand for Goods & Services

Completed Foresight Activities

Technological modernisation is one of the most important issues on the political agenda in Russia today. That is why the federal authorities responsible for innovation development have initiated a system of activities to facilitate innovation processes in industries and bridge the gaps between research institutions, universities and businesses. The key actors in this process are the Government Commission on High-Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

In 2006, the Russian president approved two lists of eight S&T priorities and 34 critical technologies, respectively, based on which R&D funding was distributed among the government’s major S&T related programmes. In 2009, the Ministry of Education and Science initiated a process of revising national critical technologies, as part of the regular revision of the national S&T priorities, employing the methodological approaches developed in 2008. Compared to the 2006 lists, the revised ones could draw on a much broader basis: the National S&T Delphi allowed to identify the future demand for goods and services to be supported by technological development.

In addition, experts analysed the national system of social and economic goals, which were formulated in the Concept of the National Socio-economic Development 2020 as well as in a number of other major strategic documents of the Russian Federation. The major government bodies, state academies of sciences and largest state-owned corporations submitted their proposals for revising the national S&T priorities and critical technologies, which were analysed in expert groups composed of leading Russian researchers, industrialists and government officials.

Based on the results of the surveys and discussions, the expert panel drew up a list of prospective innovative goods and services involving new technologies. The technology areas promising the most innovative potential were identified and compiled in revised lists of S&T priorities and critical technologies that were approved by the Russian president in July 2011. Altogether six S&T priorities in the civil sector were formulated:

  1. Nanoindustry
  2. Information and communication
  3. Life sciences
  4. Rational use of nature
  5. Energy
  6. Transportation and aerospace

The revised list of critical technologies consists of 25 items. A detailed “passport” was developed for each one containing a brief description of the particular technology, the subject area, the areas of practical application, level of development in Russia compared with the world leaders in the field, production capacities, and an assessment of the global and national markets for innovative products and services related to the technology in question.

The main instrument for the practical implementation of the S&T priorities and critical technologies is the Federal Goal-oriented Programme “R&D in Priority Fields of the S&T Complex of Russia (2007-2013)”, which is complemented by other federal programmes of this kind, such as the “Federal Space Programme in Russia (2006-2015)”, “Programme for Civil Aviation (2002-2015)”, “National Technological Base (2007-2011)” as well as by a number of sectoral and regional programmes.

New Round of Foresight Exercises

The revised S&T priorities and critical technologies provided the starting point for another national S&T foresight exercise with a horizon of 2030, which concentrated on the most promising technology areas while drawing on a number of sector-specific studies. Several hundred experts for every area identified prospective technological clusters with the highest expected social and economic return. The clusters were studied in terms of the following issues:

  • R&D in Russia compared to the world best in the field
  • Major impact
  • Resources required to achieve competitive status in particular clusters, including personnel, R&D expenditure, fixed assets etc.
  • Feasibility of implementing major innovative projects in the next 15 years
  • Potential market size

The main output of the S&T foresight study was to identify the most important trends of S&T development by 2030 as well as emerging and rapidly growing S&T areas. Analysis of the future prospects of the most promising innovative clusters allowed pinpointing those segments of the high-technology markets where Russia can expect to successfully strengthen its competitive advantages.

The participants developed pilot technology roadmaps for two of those clusters (“Catalysts for socially oriented applications” and “Tissue engineering and bioartificial organs”). The roadmaps included demonstration procedures for building a long-term vision and identifying alternative trajectories to achieve the roadmap objectives.

Public-Private Partnership for Innovation Projects

The foresight results led to proposing a number of large-scale innovation projects to be funded as part of public-private partnership programmes, allowed identifying key areas of research to be financed by the Federal Goal-oriented Programme “R&D in Priority Fields of the S&T Complex of Russia (2007-2013)”, provided a basis for formulating measures to build S&T capacities (funding, human resources, etc.) and for analysing potential S&T policy instruments to be introduced.

In the key areas singled out, S&T policy intervention focused on restructuring the public R&D sector, introducing mechanisms to evaluate research, monitoring and evaluating S&T and innovation policy implementation, elaborating efficient, result-oriented mechanisms of R&D funding, including planning of basic research, and building institutions to support R&D and innovation.

Building a Complex National System of S&T Foresight

Based on the results of the last five years, the Ministry of Education and Science has developed a framework for the next round of S&T foresight to be implemented in 2011-2013. This cycle will cover a wide range of activities aimed at increasing innovation activities in Russia and concentrating resources on the most promising S&T areas with respect to particular market segments and innovative products and services. The foresight will cover all areas of S&T and a number of sectors where new technologies can be expected to have the greatest effect (Figure 2).

The major principles of the emerging foresight system include integrating foresight into the S&T policy agenda and equipping policy-makers with practical instruments to facilitate innovation development in Russia. In other words, the new system should follow the fully-fledged foresight approach.

The foresight programme contains several major components:

  • Foresight of key areas of future basic research
  • Macroeconomic scenarios and modelling of principal macroeconomic indicators
  • Development of complex models to forecast indicators of S&T, innovation and educational development
  • Foresight of future demand for S&T related competences and a skilled workforce in S&T and high-tech sectors
  • Development of a series of roadmaps for key sectors of the economy and the most promising groups of products and services
  • Development of a complex S&T and innovation foresight system

The methodological basis for the above-mentioned activities will include a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods: horizon scanning, bibliometric and patent analysis, statistical models, expert surveys, literature reviews and many others.

It will be important not only to identify the key challenges facing the Russian national innovation system but also to assess global trends of S&T development and, if necessary, to revise the national S&T and innovation capacities to promote the technological modernisation of the Russian economy.

Encouraging Businesses to Innovate

The foresight activities will also cover the two principal instruments initiated by the Government Commission on High-Technology and Innovation: creation of technology platforms and elaboration of “compulsory” programmes for innovation in large companies fully or partly owned by the state. The main goal of these initiatives is encouraging business to innovate and bridge the gaps between industrial enterprises, research units and universities. It is supposed that facilitating the dialog between S&T and businesses will lead to closer cooperation and the formulation of a national research agenda better tailored to the real needs of the economy.

Each technology platform is required to develop a set of strategic documents, including a technology roadmap and a research agenda, and is expected to incorporate foresight results in the process. These strategic documents will provide the basis for adjusting the national R&D effort to the needs of businesses and will be used for identifying promising research projects, which are to be funded through federal programmes and supported through innovation-oriented public procurement practices.

The list of 28 technology platforms has been approved by the Governmental Commission on High-Technology and Innovation.

The innovation programmes that the largest state-owned companies are required to develop also envisage foresight-related activities. The companies’ programmes are supposed to represent a corporate vision of innovation activities with a ten-year horizon. The ambitious goal is to increase competitiveness in local and global markets and improve economic performance according to key indicators within this time frame by means of technological modernisation and radically increasing R&D efforts (e.g., via closer collaboration with universities and other R&D organisations in particular).

Foresight Elements Disseminate into All Levels of Innovation Activities

The newly designed S&T and innovation policy instruments in Russia include foresight tools as an integral part of their approach. The largest state-owned companies are required to include foresight activities into their programmes of innovation. Every technology platform has to develop a vision and a roadmap indicating the main technology-related milestones, barriers and risks. The Skolkovo Foundation has initiated foresight studies aimed at identifying key technology areas to be supported.

Leading Russian technical universities have established a network of foresight centres to build new capacities. This process is supported through the federal programme for the development of universities’ innovation infrastructure. The network will also monitor technology trends in particular areas and support a more systemic involvement of private businesses in foresight studies, thus bridging the gap between key NIS stakeholders.

Authors: Alexander Sokolov                          sokolov@hse.ru

Anna Poznyak                                 apoznyak@hse.ru

Sponsors: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
Type: National exercise
Organiser: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, www.mon.gov.ru
Duration: 2011-2013 Budget: N/A Time Horizon: 2030 Date of Brief: June 2011

 

Download EFP Brief No. 193_Building Foresight in Russia

 

EFP Brief No. 189: Foresight for EU-Russia R&D and Innovation Cooperation

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

R&D and innovation cooperation between the EU, its member states (MS), the countries associated (AC) to the FP7 and Russia is developing dynamically at the multilateral as well as bilateral levels. In this context and within the framework of the EU-FP7 funded ERA.Net RUS project, a foresight exercise is being implemented. Structural and thematic scenarios for a sustainable R&D and innovation cooperation between the countries involved will be developed with the time horizon of 2020. The foresight results will lay the groundwork for a joint R&D and innovation funding programme and will be fed into the policy making process on R&D and innovation cooperation between the EU, the EU MS/AC and Russia.

Russia: Priority on Innovation

Support for innovation has come high on the policy agenda both in the European Union (e.g., Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union) and in Russia (e.g., Skolkovo Innovation Project). While the EU strives to further strengthen its innovative capacities, Russia needs to catch up on innovation and acquire related know-how. At the same time, cooperation in R&D and innovation has been developing dynamically over the past years between Russia, the EU, its member states (MS)[1] and the countries associated (AC)[2] to the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for RTD (FP7). Cooperation is ongoing on a broad scale both multilaterally and bilaterally.

EU-Russia R&D and Innovation Cooperation

At the multilateral EU level, the EU’s Framework Programme for RTD and the EURATOM Framework Programme are the main cooperation forums. Russia has consistently been one of the most active participants in the Framework Programmes (FPs) among all countries not being EU member states or countries associated to the FPs. Through joint calls for RTD projects launched by the EU and Russia within the FPs (“coordinated calls”) in various scientific fields (e.g., aeronautics, nanotechnology, energy, fission, etc.), cooperation has been intensified. Russia has funded its teams participating in these projects using its own national resources. This has strengthened ownership and perceptions of cooperation on a par, a fact especially important for Russia.

The EU and its Member States: Main Partners for Russian R&D

A next step in rapprochement with the EU would be an association of Russia to the Framework Programmes. Russia expressed its interest in becoming associated in 2008, which was inspired by the fact that the EU countries are Russia’s main cooperation partners and is underscored by a policy to internationalise and increase competition within the Russian R&D and innovation system. However, association to the FPs is discussed controversially both in Russia and the EU. Consequently, negotiations have advanced only slowly so far. Meanwhile new cooperation tools are in the process of being established through ERA.Net RUS, a European Research Area Network project (ERA-NET) funded by the EU within the FP7. ERA.Net RUS aims at coordinating bilateral funding programmes and has resulted in calls for R&D as well as innovation projects, which were launched in February and March 2011. These calls are jointly funded and managed by funding bodies of the EU MS/AC and Russia.

In the innovation sphere, the joint EU-Russian initiative of a “modernisation partnership” was agreed upon in spring 2010 between the European Commission President Barroso and the Russian President Medvedev. The partnership’s priority is on facilitating trade and investment and intensifying economic relations. But it also includes innovation, research and development, and space as priority areas.

Bilateral Cooperations with EU Countries

At the bilateral level, Russia has established several joint R&D and innovation funding programmes with European partners. Russia has concluded bilateral science and technology agreements with a broad range of EU member states and countries associated to the FP. According to the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Federation has active agreements in place with thirteen out of the twenty-seven EU member states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom) and with four countries associated to FP7 (Israel, FYR of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey).[3] Similarly, agreements have been established between research funding institutions, for instance, between the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and its European counterparts. At the level of research organisations, especially the Russian Academy of Sciences has a dense network of cooperation agreements with academies in the EU MS/AC. However, not all of these agreements have resulted in substantial cooperation in the form of joint funding of R&D projects or more comprehensive joint funding programmes.

Opening-up of Russian R&D and Innovation

On the Russian side, we observe a trend towards international cooperation, which is stimulated through various recently introduced programmes. In the field of innovation, President Medvedev’s key project “Skolkovo” will be established with international partners. In the Skolkovo innovation zone, specific privileges for research and business cooperation will be granted to facilitate the development of high-tech businesses. In recent years, Russia has not only started to attract emigrated Russian scientists to work with research groups back in their former home country but is now also actively reaching out to foreign scientists. In June 2010, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science launched the programme “Attracting leading scientists to Russian universities”, which aims at stimulating and internationalising research activities. This scheme comes with solid funding of approximately € 3.5 million per project. The Russian technology platforms represent another recent initiative open for international participation aimed at bridging the gap between academia, industries and government, inspired to a large extent by the European experience.

Inhibitors and Uncertainties of Cooperation

There are, however, serious barriers that hamper cooperation. Bureaucratic procedures, uncertainty about protection of property and intellectual property rights (IPR) together with the unreliability of the judicial system limit the expansion of R&D and especially innovation cooperation. Exchange of scientific material and equipment with Russia is complicated and may be costly because of taxation and customs duties. Lack of funding for joint projects, housing problems and harsh living conditions in Russia are additional factors. Another relevant issue concerns the fact that changes in R&D and innovation are mainly driven by the state. Private business takes only limited initiative in this field on its own. The share of the state budget distributed on a competitive basis (е.g., by R&D financing agencies such as the Russian Foundation for Basic Research) is also stagnating.

The further development of the cooperation process is fraught with uncertainty. While there are positive signals indicating a dynamic development of cooperation, such as new funding schemes within the ERA.Net RUS project, the strengthening of bilateral cooperation and the trend of Russia opening up to cooperation, we also observe some signs of stagnation. This concerns, for example, a lengthy negotiation process about the possible association of Russia to the FP. Moreover, uncertainties surrounding politics in the EU and Russia as well as in the international arena always have the potential for disrupting a further rapprochement.

Foresight to Provide Analytical Basis for Further Cooperation

In this context of developing EU-Russia R&D and innovation relationships, a foresight exercise running from 2010-2012 is being implemented as part of the ERA.Net RUS project. The foresight activities will provide an analytical basis for a future sustainable cooperation policy in R&D and innovation between the EU MS/AC and Russia. At the core of the foresight process is the preparation of structural and thematic scenarios for R&D and innovation cooperation with a time horizon of 2020. The development of this cooperation will be supported through foresight and directed towards addressing social and economic challenges that the EU and Russia both must face in the future.

The ERA.Net RUS project consortium is composed of funding agencies interested in joint support schemes for R&D and innovation between the EU MS/AC and Russia. Moreover, the consortium includes research organisations experienced in foresight research as well as in research on EU S&T policy and on the Russian and international S&T systems. The ERA.Net RUS foresight task is coordinated by the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) in Austria. Institutions collaborating on this foresight exercise are the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre – Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), located in Spain, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow and the International Centre for Innovations in Science, Technology and Education (ICISTE) in Russia.

In the first phase of the ERA.Net RUS project from 2009-2010, the project consortium performed substantial analytical work. A broad range of reports was prepared, dealing with the Russian S&T system and its funding, with Russian participation in ERA.Nets and with bilateral cooperation. The analyses were supported by a focus group meeting with scientists, which assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian S&T funding system. In addition, a comprehensive survey was conducted among all relevant European and Russian funding organisations to take stock of the bilateral R&D and innovation funding instruments that are already in place. (Links to the documents are provided in the section Sources and References below.)

Search for Promising Fields and Institutional Solutions

This preparatory work provided solid foundations and valuable input for the foresight exercise. A planning workshop was held in September 2010 with the partner institutions involved. The planning had to take into account the two-pronged approach to be applied in the ERA.Net RUS foresight: On the one hand, a structural scenario was to be elaborated, focusing on institutional solutions and instruments for strengthening the cooperation. The scenario was to suggest options for a sustainable joint funding programme between the EU MS/AC and Russia to support R&D and innovation. On the other hand, a thematic foresight was to be conducted to single out promising thematic fields for cooperative efforts to advance science and innovation.

The next step of the exercise was a “creativity workshop” held at IPTS in December 2010 to give room to discuss the critical variables and define the dimensions of the structural scenarios of cooperation. A joint scenario grid was established and scenarios located in the grid. On this basis, five small expert groups developed different scenarios and sketched out first scenario descriptions.

The structural scenario development will be continued by elaborating four selected scenarios in more detail. The foresight partners will outline one optimistic, one pessimistic and two intermediate scenarios through storytelling. Expert workshops with policy makers, representatives of funding organisations and researchers will then be conducted to validate the scenarios and flesh them out in more detail. The workshops will be linked to expert group meetings on international S&T cooperation at the EU level and to a meeting of funding agencies involved in the ERA.Net RUS calls (“The Group of ERA.Net RUS Funding Parties”).

In addition, expert interviews with policy makers will support the scenario development process. The interviews will be relevant, in particular, for the structural set-up of cooperation.

The scenario workshops will provide discursive spaces for policy makers, experts and researchers in R&D and innovation cooperation and thus promote building partnerships among the stakeholders involved by facilitating the exchange of information and the identification of converging and diverging views on the structural set-up and thematic orientation of R&D and innovation cooperation. The ERA.Net RUS project setting greatly facilitates access to these experts: policy makers as well as relevant experts of the funding organisations are participating in the project and are therefore committed to supporting the foresight exercise. In the analytical phase of the project, all relevant funding organisations involved in R&D and innovation cooperation between the regions were questioned on their bilateral cooperation. These experts have been made aware of the project and will also be involved in the foresight-related surveys.

In parallel to the structural scenario development, thematic priorities relevant for both the EU MS/AC and Russia will be singled out through a meta-analysis of thematic foresight studies conducted for the EU, in selected EU member states and in Russia. An online survey will be implemented subsequently, which will address European and Russian scientists to validate and refine the thematic priorities for future EU-Russia R&D and innovation cooperation. First results indicate that there is wide agreement on the relevance of such broad topics as energy, transport, health and nanotechnologies.

The elaborated structural and thematic scenarios will then be tested employing a Delphi survey. Delphi expert questioning will be applied to assess the probability and desirability of the resulting scenarios as well as their relevance for value creation, policy development and R&D advancement. Finally, both the structural scenarios and thematic priorities identified will be tested again by involving relevant stakeholder groups.

Expected Advice for Future Policy Making

The foresight results will be fed into the policy making process on R&D and innovation cooperation between EU member states, the countries associated to FP7 and Russia. The results will provide the basis for developing a joint R&D and innovation funding programme and for coordinating R&D and innovation efforts to more successfully face the common social and economic challenges of tomorrow. This can be expected to provide highly relevant input for ERA.Net RUS follow-up activities once the calls and projects funded within this framework will have been implemented and the project will be nearing its end at the beginning of 2013. In this context, the new EU funding programme Horizon 2020 and the new Russian major public funding programme scheduled for 2013/14 must be considered critical factors affecting the scenarios. The opportunities they offer for EU-Russia R&D and innovation cooperation and for Russia to become associated to parts of the EU funding programme will influence the scenarios of cooperation and funding.

The scenarios will be presented in a report, and a conference will serve to disseminate them to policy-makers and other stakeholders. An action plan to establish a joint programme will offer concrete options for implementation.

[1] Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom

[2] Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Faroe Islands, FYR of Macedonaia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey

[3] See www.mon.gov.ru, last accessed 1 April 2011. Previously existing active agreements with Austria, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland are currently in the process of renewal.

Authors: Manfred Spiesberger                          spiesberger@zsi.at

Klaus Schuch                                    schuch@zsi.at

Vicente Carabias-Barcelo                  vicente.carabias-barcelo@ec.europa.eu

Karel Haegeman                                karel-herman.haegeman@ec.europa.eu

Alexander Sokolov                             sokolov@hse.ru

Sponsors: European Union, Seventh Framework Programme for RTD (FP7) – ERA.Net RUS project
Type: International FTA exercise
Organizer: Centre for Social Innovation, Manfred Spiesberger, spiesberger@zsi.at – ERA.Net RUS foresight task coordinator
Duration: 2010-2012 Budget: ~€ 400k Time Horizon: 2020 Date of Brief: June 2011  

 

Download EFP Brief No 189_EU-Russia RD Cooperation

Sources and References

ERA.Net RUS analytical reports (accessible at the project website www.eranet-rus.eu):

  • The Russian S&T system (2010)
  • The Russian S&T funding system from the perspective of international cooperation (2010)
  • State of the art and perspectives of bilateral S&T programmes between EU MS/AC and Russia (2010)
  • Experiences from Russian participation in ERA-NETs and from ongoing international ERA-NETs (2010)

EFP Brief No. 167: The World in 2025

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

DG Research’s Directorate for Science, Economy and Society in collaboration with the Bureau of European Policy Advisers launched a foresight exercise on “The World in 2025”, which resulted in a report published in January 2009.

The World to Come – Global Trends & Disruptions

The report “The World in 2025” highlights the main trends up to 2025 (demography, urbanisation, macro-economic projections, education, science and culture) and underlines the pressures on natural resources and the new production-consumption patterns while attempting to identify the so-called “wild cards”. The role for European foresight and forward-looking activities are presented focussing on a multi-polar world and beyond technological innovation. The report has benefited from the discussions of the group of experts set up by the European Commission in 2008 (see box below).

It has taken stock of the most recent publications in the field of foresight and forward-looking activities and includes most of the reflections of different Commission Directorates-General.

Group of Experts & Scenario Process

DG Research’s Directorate for Science, Economy and Society in collaboration with the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) launched a foresight expert group on “The World in 2025”, which met on five occasions in 2008 and 2009.

The objectives of this group were, first, to assess and measure global trends over recent decades to serve as a basis for forward projections while distinguishing the different major economies and regions, including the European Union, and identifying the main economic, geopolitical, environmental and societal relationships and interconnections.

Secondly, the group was asked to generate and analyse alternative (even disruptive) scenarios of world trends up to 2025 based on specified assumptions about economic, political, social, environmental and technological developments in order to assess their consequences for the EU and to examine which policy responses could be appropriate.

“The World in 2025” group was composed of experts with a profound understanding of global challenges and developments as well as a solid knowledge of foresight in specific countries or regions. Group members included representatives from think tanks, universities, industry, the European Commission and governmental bodies. Meeting five times in 2008 and 2009, the group produced two publications: one collects the experts’ individual contributions and the other called ‘The World in 2025 – Rising Asia and Socio-ecological Transition’ highlights the conclusions.

The experts identified principal trends, tensions and transitions while highlighting strategies that may help policy stakeholders make informed decisions. They also say that competition for natural resources and shifts in wealth, industrial production and populations may lead to tensions over natural resources (food, energy, water and minerals), migration and urbanisation.

Each expert produced an individual contribution to the discussions and, collectively, they generated a set of indicative scenarios for the world in 2025. The experts covered a wide range of issues, including demography, migration, urbanisation, cohesion, macro-economics and trade, employment, services, environment and climate change, energy, access to resources, education, research, technology, innovation, economic governance, defence, security and intercultural dialogue.

The key messages concern the main challenges to be faced in the next fifteen years, the main drivers that could impact on the future, the main strengths and weaknesses of Europe by 2025 and finally the wild cards that may radically change the different situations that are foreseen.

Europe to Face Marginalization

The report “The World in 2025” underlines the major future trends: geopolitical transformations in terms of population, economic development, international trade and poverty. It elucidates the tensions – natural resources (food, energy, water and minerals), migration and urbanisation – and draws transitional pathways towards a new production and consumption model, new rural-urban dynamics and a new gender and intergenerational balance.

Shift towards Asia

By the year 2025, the centres of gravity, wealth and industrial production may shift towards Asia, and the United States and Europe could likewise lose their scientific and technological edge over Asia. India and China could account for approximately 20% of the world’s research and development (R&D), that is more than double their current share.

Within 16 years, the world population will reach eight billion, the experts in the report say. Some 97% of world population growth will occur in developing countries. The analysis of demographic growth for 2025 indicates that the European population will only constitute 6.5% of the world population.

Scarcity of Natural Resources

Increased population, according to the expert group, may lead to greater scarcity of natural resources and impact the environment. This can result in tension and shifts in production and consumption patterns and the availability of natural resources.

From these demographic and resource challenges, the report sees a new ‘socio-ecological’ production and consumption model arising. New technologies (renewable energy sources, capture and storage of CO2, nuclear power, hydrogen and fuel cells) as well as changes in social behaviour, supported by economic incentives, will contribute to a reduction in energy consumption (better house insulation, replacement of environmentally damaging cars with greener options, and increased use of public transport).

The report says that while numerous scientific and technological advances will give rise to controversies in society, Europe, with its wealth of various debate and participative governance experiences, is well equipped to manage them and involve civil society in research. Global access to knowledge, though, together with the development of joint global standards and the rapid worldwide diffusion of new technologies will have a great impact on Europe’s future welfare.

It is assumed that by 2025 Europe will be specialized in exporting high-tech products. Although the specific products are currently still unknown, they can be expected to benefit from the rapid growth in Asia whose growth will probably be accompanied by an increasing inequality in the purchasing power of the population. “The increase of the population is already a good indication of the future opportunities of the market, of the consumer aspirations that have not been covered, better than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Potential Conflicts, Threats and Wild Cards

The report also points to the possibility of future social conflicts emerging in Europe around scientific and technological advancements in areas like cognitive sciences, nanotechnology, security technologies, genetic manipulation, synthetic biology and others.

Among the unforeseeable turbulences that could shape the next two decades, the report identifies seven “wild cards”:

  1. Persistence of the financial and economic crisis beyond 2010.
  2. A major war (for the years 2010-2020 of strong turbulence).
  3. A technological disaster that could influence the choices of priorities of governments (e.g. a nuclear accident like Chernobyl blocking the nuclear option for many years).
  4. Pandemics with devastating effects.
  5. The collapse of a major urban area in a developing country.
  6. The blocking of the European Union as a result of the difficulties of establishing new economic governance and political decision mechanisms;
  7. A breakthrough in the field of renewable energy production;
  8. A new wave of technological innovations and a new rapid growth cycle driven by emerging countries;
  9. Sudden or even brutal acceleration of the (nonlinear) impacts of climate change;
  10. Progress in the adoption of a world governance system due to the extent of the problems to be dealt with and to the pressure of public opinion.

What Experts Recommend to EU Policy Makers

Key RTD Areas

The EU should struggle for maintaining its leadership in key RTD areas, such as technologies of energy saving, research into sustainable development and climate change, health and the containment of diseases, food safety and security in general.

Europe Must Not Fall Behind in R&D

Experts suggest that Europe become a model based on emphasizing quality of life, which might involve maintaining global access to knowledge and guaranteeing or contributing to establishing international standards in science and technology. “To ensure access to knowledge through the global networks also means to be attractive for the researchers and the investment that comes from the outside”, the report points out.

From ‘Brain-drain’ to ‘Brain-circulation’

There will be a switch from ‘brain drain’ to ‘brain circulation’, and young researchers will be moving to various regions of the world, which will become educational and scientific centres. It is estimated that in 2025 there will be 645,000 Chinese students and 300,000 Indian students outside their countries. In turn, the number of European students that transfer to these two countries can also be expected to grow.

Effective Governance

Europe needs good policy in order to retain its traditionally strong position in developing cutting-edge innovation that goes beyond incremental improvements of existing technology. It will be essential that some key governance issues are solved. For instance:

  1. Set a new 3% target. One in which the EU member states commit themselves to spending 1% of GDP from public funds for research and 2% for higher education by 2020. Its implementation will be under the full control of the national governments.
  2. Consider the “Grand Challenges” – a term denoting major social problems that cannot be solved in a reasonable time, under acceptable social conditions, without a strong coordinated input requiring both technological and non-technological innovation and, at times, advances in scientific understanding. In a way, the central issue is the other side of the coin of the previous one. Can resources, not just in terms of research but also procurement and other investments, be shifted across European stakeholders to more productive “societal uses” to influence not only the pace but also the direction of technical change and innovation?
  3. Create a strong coordination between research and innovation policies in order to orient innovative activities towards the needs of society. A stage gate approach is suggested, including adequate provision for innovative procurement and pre-commercial procurement practices.
  4. Discuss European versus national research policy approaches. The global financial crisis represents a window of opportunity for more radical reflections on the relationship between Community and national research policies. As fiscal pressures mount in each member state, the question of increasing the efficiency of national research funding agencies and of higher education and public research funding is likely to be raised in coming months and years in many countries.

The opportunities for further deployment of new Community instruments will only be realized if they can demonstrate their particular value for Europe in terms of administrative flexibility and best practice governance. Only then will they play a central role in structuring a new, post-crisis augmented European Research Area (ERA).

Will the Looming Crisis Be Averted in Time?

If issues of effective governance at EU level are not addressed as ones of absolute priority, the crisis shock might actually go the other way: increasingly questioning the value of Community research and leading to a future ERA that is much more based on the member states’ national efforts at attracting research talent within their own borders.

Outlook: Socio-economics & Humanities Re-considered

The stimulating contributions and discussions of this expert group have paved the way for a broad debate at European and world level. This prospective analysis contributes to understanding, anticipating and better shaping future policy and strategy developments in the European Union.

Forward-looking approaches help in building shared visions of the future European challenges and evaluating the impacts of alternative policies. A qualitative and participatory method (‘foresight’) combined with quantitative and operational methods (‘forecast’) allows better long-term policies to develop, like the post-2010 European strategy and the European research and innovation policies. Through its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with its ‘socio-economic sciences and humanities’ theme, the European Union is funding forward-looking activities with around EUR 30 million.

Authors: Anette Braun                 braun_a@vdi.de

Axel Zweck                   zweck@vdi.de

            Sponsors: European Commission – DG Research – Directorate L – Science, Economy and Society Unit L2 – Research in the Economic, Social Sciences and Humanities – Prospective
Type: European/international – covering issues from a European or even global perspective
Organizer: European Commission – DG Research – Directorate L  – Science, Economy and Society Unit L2 – Research in the Economic, Social Sciences and Humanities – Prospective
Duration: 2008 Budget: N/A Time Horizon: 2025 Date of Brief: Dec. 2009

 

Download EFP Brief No. 167_The World in 2025

Sources and References

Based on the report ‘The World in 2025 – Rising Asia and socio-ecological transition’ (Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2009) and information from the European Commission.

‘The World in 2025 – Rising Asia and socio-ecological transition’ report is available at

http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/report-the-world-in-2025_en.pdf and

http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/the-world-in-2025-report_en.pdf

EFP Brief No. 97: Long-term Innovation Priorities for Bashkortostan

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation started systemic foresight activities aimed at different issues related to science, technology and innovation. Following development of national S&T priorities (see [1]), it launched a study to identify pri-ority areas for innovation development for a pilot region – the Republic of Bashkortostan. The methodologies and design of the pro-ject are to be used as a pattern for other regions, whereas the results obtained contribute to the development of the regional programme of social and economic development.

EFMN Brief No. 97 – Bashkortostan

EFP Brief No. 79: Russian Critical Technologies 2015

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation conducted a foresight exercise aimed at identifying national S&T priorities and developing the list of critical technologies. The study was organized on a new methodological basis compared to the two previous exercises undertaken in 1996 and 2002. The results obtained were used as a background for the Federal Science and Technology Programme.

EFMN Brief No. 79 – Russian Critical Technologies 2015

EFP Brief No. 75: Russian Nanotechnology 2020

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The overall goal of the project was to develop a methodology for the NNFP or National Nanotechnology Foresight Program and to outline the global and national trends in nano-science and nanotechnology. Analytical studies were designed to feed the development of the Russian Nanotech Initiative and to provide inputs to Delphi-survey and scenario development processes.

EFMN Brief No. 75 – Russian Nanotechnology 2020