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Working paper

Modernization through large S&T projects: Assessing Russia’s Drive for Innovation-Led Development via Skolkovo Innovation Centre

Economics and Business Working Paper. WP. UCL SSEES Centre for Comparative Economics, 2014. No. 131.
Radosevic, S., Wade, I.
‘Skolkovo’ innovation city near Moscow is Russia’s latest high-profile manifestation of a policy shift towards diversification and innovation based growth. This paper aims to understand the institutional, historical and comparative contexts at an early stage when implementation in Skolkovo has just begun. It also aims to analyse the opportunities and challenges offered by Skolkovo in a comparative perspective by using a framework that evaluates Skolkovo’s early developments in terms of the extent it can contribute to a Russian system of innovation. We aim to demonstrate the value of academic discourse in policy issues, arguably an indispensable input into the ex-ante evaluation of state modernization projects. Our argument is that Skolkovo is meant to be a de facto ‘mission oriented innovation eco-system’ which is quite a new type of challenge for Russia. We outline the broad systemic obstacles facing Skolkovo as well as the opportunities for its growth.