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Researching innovation policy in Kazakhstan and Armenia

Final Report Summary - RIPKA (Researching Innovation Policy in Kazakhstan and Armenia)

The overall aim of the RIPKA project was to research and benchmark the innovation capacities and policies of Armenia and Kazakhstan by using the methodologies and indicators used by the Inno Policy TrendChart. Over the course of the project, the Armenian and Kazakh partners systematically collected information about innovation policies in their countries and who is responsible for them. Comprehensive details about 11 Armenian and 10 Kazakh innovation policies can be found on the RIPKA website: http://www.inco-ripka.eu.

Socio-economic data was collected for Armenia and Kazakhstan for the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) indicators. Only 9 of the 25 indicators could be collected for Armenia because the country does not currently collect science, technology and innovation statistical data according to the Oslo and Frascati manuals. By using the 25 indicators available for Kazakhstan, a summary innovation index (SII) was calculated to describe the country's overall national innovation performance. Kazakhstan ranked 36th out of 38 countries, which included Russia (27th), Ukraine (28th), Azerbaijan (38th), as well as the 27 EU Member States.

As part of their training activities, the Armenian and Kazakh consortium partners participated in innovation policy workshops on 'Restructuring of public R&D institutions' and 'Policy Monitoring' held in Kiev in early November 2007. The workshops were held together with the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) BRUIT (031585) and INTAS SCRIPTS (8811) projects, which involved similar innovation research activities in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Over 45 innovation policy-makers and experts attended the event hosted by the Ukrainian organisation STEPS. Prior to the event, the innovation policy experts from the six EECA countries prepared country briefing reports detailing the situation in their own countries concerning restructuring of public R&D institutions and policy monitoring. The two topics were discussed in detail and conclusions and recommendations reported in output reports.

The 2007 Armenia Inno Policy TrendChart country report and EIS indicators were presented during a final dissemination workshop at the National Academy of Sciences in Yerevan in early July 2008. The final dissemination workshop was covered by H2 State Armenian TV and broadcasted on the evening news. An article was published about the event in GITUTYUN (Science) Weekly. Summarising the current overall situation of the Armenian innovation system, Armenian policy-makers have become interested again in science, technology and innovation policy issues since the early 2000s, and after long neglect in the 1990s. This is reflected in several conceptual and legislative acts adopted by the government between 2000-2006. Financing of R&D has stabilised with the implementation of three budget financing mechanisms. But, the level of R&D financing as a proportion of GDP remains extremely low.

Innovation policy measures proposed by the Armenian government need to be reinforced with concrete quantitative targets and adequate effective implementation. Despite only 9 of the 25 EIS indicators being collected for Armenia, it was still possible to draw some conclusions concerning the national innovation performance of Armenia. In general, it can be stated that Armenia has relatively good potential absorptive capacity (i.e. well educated population) but poor knowledge generation capacity (i.e. low public and private expenditure on R&D).

The 2007 Kazakhstan Inno Policy TrendChart country report and EIS indicators were presented during a final dissemination workshop at the Eurasian National University in Astana in late July 2008. Summarising the current overall situation of the Kazakh innovation system, the Kazakh government can be commended for its efforts to create a national innovation strategy and launch a broad range of innovation programmes in a relatively short period of time.

However, a word of caution must be sounded. The innovation programmes have very ambitious goals that will be difficult to achieve despite the large budgets available to them. The country lacks local expertise in innovation management, technology transfer and programme management. And, with so many innovation related programmes running at the same time, there is a real danger that the Kazakh government is 'trying to run before it can walk'.

Analysis of the 2007 EIS indicators for Kazakhstan, and comparison with the EU25 average as well as other NIS countries, reveals that the country has a good potential absorptive capacity but poor knowledge generation capacity and unfavourable industry structure.

The RIPKA consortium has been active in promoting the project's results to government officials, innovation experts and a wider audience. 125+ people attended innovation training and dissemination events organised by the RIPKA project. Furthermore, presentations concerning the project's results have been made during the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme Advanced Training Course in Tbilisi, during a session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council's (UNECE) Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (TOS-ICP) in Geneva; and during the 'Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems 2008' (Globelics) international conference in Mexico.

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