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Article

Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) in the primary sector: Providing innovation to Russia's mines and corn fields

European Journal of Innovation Management. 2014. Vol. 17. No. 3. P. 292-310.

Given the immense gains in productivity in agriculture and mining over the last decades, the purpose of this paper is to study knowledge transfer from Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) into primary sector producers. The authors inquire which of these RTOs are successfully competing for public funding, and how these funds are used. Also, the authors study what makes an RTO more (financially) successful in technology transfer than their peers and which RTOs transferred technology that was new to the Russian market. This research is based on 62 RTOs which reported technology transfer to enterprises with main economic activities classified by NACE rev 1 as “A – agriculture, hunting and forestry” and “B – fishing” and “C – mining and quarrying,” including oil and gas extraction. The authors found remarkable differences between the Russian RTOs and their OECD peers, but also differences between agriculture and mining. Interestingly, competitive funding plays a different role in both industries. In agriculture, a more conservative funding paradigm prevails, and competitive funding is less important and more reliance on classical annually revolving funds is given. Competitive funding here is more used to strengthen basic R&D and to generate patentable knowledge, while in mining, these funds support technology transfer. This is, to the knowledge, the first detailed study on Russian RTOs servicing her primary sector. The authors believe that studying these RTOs is of great value as RTOs are broadly under-researched and various scholars have called for more fine-grained analyses to better understand their role in the innovation system.