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Working paper

Gatekeepers in Russian High-Tech: a Study of Heads of Leading Research Centers

The paper proposes one of the first attempts to conceptualize the “human capital” in science and technology gatekeeping in Russia, based on obtaining sociological data on real active subjects. The study strives to provide analytical information on the specific characteristics and stances of individuals making a decisive contribution to the development of strategic areas in science and technology. In Russia, the most perceptible impact on changing the situation of new scientific knowledge production and, in particular, high-tech development comes from heads of “advanced” research laboratories. Capable of forming and carrying out their own research programmes, in the majority of instances they act as “gatekeepers” of the high-tech sector. In the first stage a quantitative questionnaire survey was carried out by means of a formalized interview (312 respondents). In the second stage qualitative information was collected using in-depth semi-structured individual interviews with the managers of leading laboratories in their field (31 interviews). The information on the gatekeeping strategies in the six science and technology priority areas was obtained. Research on the expert community associated with high-tech projects logically fits into the “cluster” of foresight studies, supplementing it with “human capital”.