Technology transfer into Russia’s agricultural sector — Can public funding replace ailing business engagement?
The Russian government plans to lift the country’s agriculture and food productions and aims to become the biggest global supplier of healthy, high-quality, and ecologically ‘clean’ foods. Although innovative activities in the field have been rising over the last decade, the intensity still remains far below both other Russian economic activities as well as other competitor nations. Policymakers focus on Russia’s Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) as a channel to transfer new technologies to agricultural and food producers. As demand for new technologies is low, public funds are invested into RTOs to increase the quality of their basic research activities. Instead of converting these additional funds into better technology transfer, agricultural RTOs specialize in government-funded basic research and reduce further their role as applied research organizations. Thereby, RTOs do not seek to increase their competitive position but instead maximize their benefits from public support. This article questions the leverage effect that public support measures have for technology transfer activities in the present case, and suggests that a more holistic approach including both supply and demand is needed.