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Regular version of the site

Article

Researchers’ competencies in the coming decade: attitudes towards and expectations of the Russian innovation system

Foresight. 2016. Vol. 18. No. 3. P. 340-354.

This paper aims to analyse the necessity and sufficiency of researchers’ and engineers’ competencies in the area of science and technology, given oncoming technological changes. Five key questions are addressed concerning the skills and abilities of PhD holders: What competencies do researchers have at present? What competencies are currently used? How valuable are they at the present time? Will they be in demand in 10-15 years? And how relevant are these competencies for working on projects in priority areas of science and technology development? Design/methodology/approach: The analysis was based on data collected by two empirical studies conducted in 2010-2013. A survey of researchers and engineers described the issues with competencies related to the areas of science, technology and innovation. Study among 1,884 PhD holders employed in research institutes, universities and enterprises was carried out. In addition, 30 in-depth interviews were also conducted with experts representing the most promising areas of science and technology development in Russia – nanotechnology, biotechnology and the power engineering sectors. Findings: The results from quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that general competencies such as fundamental theoretical knowledge, ability to work on projects, teamwork and creativity will be in demand in 10-15 years, rather than highly specialized skills. Employers tend to develop needed skills of researchers involved in innovations directly on the workplace, during the realization of a project. Originality/value: This is the first paper to use solid broad statistical evidence to outline a clear idea of the technological and scientific research competencies that would be required in the future.