Russia’s Technological Specialisation
The HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge presents an analysis of the country’s technological specialisation made on the basis of analysing Russian patent applicants’ activities in 2007–2016 in 35 technology areas (in line with the World Intellectual Property Organisation classification), and how it compares with the overall global structure.
In the past decade Russia consistently specialised in the following technological areas: biomaterials analysis; surface treatment and coating; materials and metallurgy; microstructural technology and nanotechnology; environment protection technologies; engines, pumps, turbines. However, the country’s Technological Specialisation Index (TSI)* during this period decreased in almost all of the above areas, which indicates at some point in the future they might leave the country’s specialisation sphere altogether. The reason is insufficient growth of Russian applicants’ patent activity compared with the world’s average indicators.
* Technological specialisation is traditionally measured on the basis of patenting activity. The key indicator is the Technological Specialisation Index (TSI) calculated by comparing the structure of a country’s patent applications with the global one. The country’s specialisation is defined by areas where TSI values are higher than 1.
Microstructural technology and nanotechnology are the exceptions: the number of relevant Russian patent applications grew almost 7 times, while the relevant figure for the world has only doubled. Accordingly, the country has moved up to the 5th place in this area, though its overall (averaged out) ranking in all technology areas is only the 10th place.
During the period in question a few new areas became Russia’s technological specialisations, such as general telephone communication technologies, measurement technologies, medical technologies, pharmaceutics, food chemistry, chemical engineering, civil construction, mechanical elements, and other special-purpose machinery (a general group comprising agricultural machinery and equipment, production of food and beverages, etc.). Notably, most such areas belong in the 'low tech' group. In terms of quantitative indicators Russian developers were most successful in food chemistry, but the record-breaking patenting activity here (the 2nd place in the world) was due to just a few hyperactive individual applicants.
A number of important areas such as information technology in management, fine and organic chemistry, high molecular compounds chemistry, polymers, materials chemistry, machines for production of paper and textile, thermal processes and heating devices, furniture and games no longer define Russia’s technological specialisation. These changes were due to gradual reduction, or even stagnation of Russian applicants’ patenting activity in all of the above areas, though the global number of relevant patent application is gradually growing.
No noticeable progress was made in development of information and communication technologies. Despite the gradual growth of Russian applicants’ activity in audio-visual technologies, telecommunications, digital communications, and computer technologies all these areas still have low TSI values, and cannot be considered as parts of Russia’s technological specialisation sphere. In each of these fields the country is only in the second ten in terms of the number of patented inventions.
Sources: HSE ISSEK calculations, based on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) data; the results of the project 'Expert evaluation of certain research and education policy areas by analysing international experience and empirical studies’ data'.
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