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Innovation Activity in Russian Higher Education

Sergei A.Mitrofanov, A.A.Kharin, I.L.Kolensky *

Higher Education Technopark and Elion Experimental Development Plant, Russian Federation Ministry for Higher Education

ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM

The scientific-technical sphere in Russia is today experiencing times that are not the best. Despite the presence of significant scientific developments, the high level of education of personnel in the scientific-technical sector, the potential need of industry to modernize its production facilities, significant capital assets in the production and research spheres, and the presence of much accumulated capital in the country, innovation activity is developing poorly. The basic reasons for this situation go beyond the lack of coordination of the efforts of federal agencies, the insufficiency of investment resources, and the shortage of budgetary funds to finance scientific-technical programs that have been adopted. They also lie in the poorly developed nature of the domestic market for scientific-technical knowledge, the as yet undeveloped system for commercializing scientific developments and technologies, and the inconsistency of levels of development of the infrastructure for innovation activities at both the federal and regional levels.

Various branches of industry are seeing a curtailment of production of science-intensive products that set the engineering and technical standards. Innovation activities are being cut because of the impact of the low payment capabilities of customers for scientific-technical products in both the state and nonstate sectors of the economy. Under conditions characterized by severe demand limitations, enterprises are primarily reducing

* Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.



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Page 24 Innovation Activity in Russian Higher Education Sergei A.Mitrofanov, A.A.Kharin, I.L.Kolensky * Higher Education Technopark and Elion Experimental Development Plant, Russian Federation Ministry for Higher Education ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM The scientific-technical sphere in Russia is today experiencing times that are not the best. Despite the presence of significant scientific developments, the high level of education of personnel in the scientific-technical sector, the potential need of industry to modernize its production facilities, significant capital assets in the production and research spheres, and the presence of much accumulated capital in the country, innovation activity is developing poorly. The basic reasons for this situation go beyond the lack of coordination of the efforts of federal agencies, the insufficiency of investment resources, and the shortage of budgetary funds to finance scientific-technical programs that have been adopted. They also lie in the poorly developed nature of the domestic market for scientific-technical knowledge, the as yet undeveloped system for commercializing scientific developments and technologies, and the inconsistency of levels of development of the infrastructure for innovation activities at both the federal and regional levels. Various branches of industry are seeing a curtailment of production of science-intensive products that set the engineering and technical standards. Innovation activities are being cut because of the impact of the low payment capabilities of customers for scientific-technical products in both the state and nonstate sectors of the economy. Under conditions characterized by severe demand limitations, enterprises are primarily reducing * Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.

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Page 25 output volumes for science-intensive products, in part replacing them with technically simpler and cheaper goods. Innovation policy is a powerful tool, with the help of which it is possible to overcome the economic downturn, ensure economic restructuring, and fill the market with a variety of competitive products. Today, with the current sharp deficit of investments, the country needs constructive platforms and action programs. A way out of the current situation that will ensure a broad-scale, dynamic, and stable flow of innovative processes may be found by implementing a powerful state innovation policy aimed at concentrating financial resources and state participation in the development of a regional infrastructure for innovation activity. Other key points include creating a system for providing information through all stages of the innovation cycle, conditions for close cooperation between science and industry and industry and the market, a legal system and environment for technology commercialization with the requisite protection for domestic scientific-technical developments, and conditions for attracting private investments to innovation activity. Implemented with the help of state innovation programs, the concentration of funds on infrastructure creation in the scientific-technical spheres will, with the help of the newly created mechanism, promote an effective solution for the problem of intensifying innovation activity. Instead of the rather ineffective process of saving Russia's scientific-technical potential, a strategy must be found to activate scientific-technical resources and develop science-intensive innovation activity on a massive scale. It is infrastructural support that allows small enterprises to gain access to production facilities, which is essential in adequately meeting the fundamental objectives involved in producing innovative goods. An analysis of the economic situation in Russia, taking into account existing world experience, indicates that economic recovery and the restoration of production facilities can be expected as a result of increasing the number and volume of small high-tech firms based on commercializing the newest achievements of science and engineering. This sphere of entrepreneurial innovation activity is extremely poorly developed in Russia today. One of the basic reasons for the insufficiently quick and effective development of innovation activity in the scientific-technical sphere lies in the problem of personnel training and retraining. A critically important internal precondition for the enhancement of existing scientific-technical potential is the development in Russia of small innovative firms and venture capital-oriented science-intensive structures based on various forms of property ownership. Also important are such qualitatively new economic structures as business innovation centers, business incubators, research and technology parks, engineering centers,

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Page 26 consulting firms, and others, which serve the interests of innovative firms and are primarily based at higher educational institutions. Higher educational institutions possess powerful intellectual potential, which will help in forming collectives of specialists who are highly qualified in a wide range of fields of innovation activity, including the production and marketing of new inventions throughout the entire innovation process cycle attracting the necessary material-technical base using already accumulated experience in the creation and operation of new economic forms of innovative and commercial activity, including experience in international cooperation forming an effectively operating system for commercializing technologies and other scientific-technical results obtained in higher educational institutions, which will help these institutions earn money forming an additional new educational environment founded on the innovation-oriented path for developing the world community, which will help higher educational institutions train and retrain personnel capable of converting intellectual property to salable goods under market conditions stimulating the development of top-priority fields of scientific-technical research maintaining and developing research collectives in higher education under conditions marked by inflation and the destruction of the system for production and sales of scientific-technical output preserving jobs and creating new ones for the staff members of higher educational institutions creating the necessary methodological support for innovation activity (to exert influence on other industries in the country as on scientific-technical policy in the regions) creating, developing, and testing under the new economic conditions the new infrastructure for innovation activity and new economic structures (technoparks, centers, foundations, firms, etc.) ensuring civilized means for commercializing technologies and bringing intellectual property to the market creating the foundations for training personnel for involvement in innovation activity beginning work on the formation of regional innovation centers based on bilateral agreements with regional administrations The Russian higher education system currently employs more than 180,000 staff members with the kandidat degree (equivalent to the U.S. doctorate) and more than 18,500 with the higher doctor of sciences degree. In addition, there are almost 3,000 people working toward the doc-

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Page 27 tor of sciences degree and more than 60,000 graduate students working toward the kandidat. To facilitate achievement of the above-listed work objectives for higher education, more than 70 technoparks have been created under the auspices of Russia's leading higher educational institutions. At these parks, efforts are also under way to create innovation technology centers and complexes. In addition, more than 10 regional innovation centers have been created, along with 16 regional centers for training specialists in innovation entrepreneurship, 12 regional information-analytical centers, and 12 regional centers for promoting the development of scientific-technical entrepreneurship. Furthermore, more than 1,300 small innovative enterprises producing and marketing science-intensive products have been created and are operating within the Russian Ministry of Education system. Thus, a fairly serious infrastructure for innovation activity has been formed to promote the successful completion of innovation projects for 2001–2002, and this infrastructure requires state support in the form of the innovation program. The development of innovation activity and the implementation of innovation projects in the higher education system are among the top priorities in the educational system of the Russian Federation. Approved by the Scientific-Technical Council and the Board of the Russian Ministry of Education, adopted at a meeting of scientific personnel from the education system, and confirmed by Decree 1705 of the Russian Ministry of Education dated June 6, 2000, the concept for scientific, scientific-technical, and innovation policy in the education system for 2001–2005 instructs higher educational institutions not to limit themselves to developing basic, experimental, and applied research and engineering design projects. Instead, they should develop innovation activity, ensure the commercialization of research and development results, and facilitate the transfer of innovative technologies to the real sector of the economy. THE INNOVATION PROGRAM OF HIGHER EDUCATION (GOALS, OBJECTIVES, EXPECTED RESULTS) The basic goal of the program is to facilitate the realization of innovation potential at higher educational institutions by developing the infrastructure of the innovation complex of the educational system, forming training-oriented scientific-innovation complexes at such institutions, creating a system for commercializing the results of scientific research, and getting scientists, instructors, specialists, undergraduates, and graduate students involved in innovation activity. The results of such activity should be used to improve the quality of education of young people and training and retraining of specialists under the new economic conditions

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Page 28 as well as to enhance the role of higher educational institutions as centers for the growth of innovation activity in Russia's regions. To achieve this fundamental goal, plans call for the following actions: increasing the effectiveness of instruments and mechanisms of innovation activity associated with market research, expert review, information support, personnel training and retraining in scientific-technical entrepreneurship and management of scientific-technical and innovation projects, discovery and protection of intellectual property rights, formation of nonmaterial assets as an important financial factor in the stable development of innovation projects by higher educational institutions, certification of finished scientific-technical products, leasing of equipment, and regulatory, legal, and methodological support during implementation of innovation projects monitoring, analyzing, and studying innovation potential and innovation activity at higher educational institutions and determining future directions for the development of their innovation complexes improving the educational process conducted by higher educational institutions and enhancing the quality of education by introducing the results of innovation activity and strengthening the material-technical base at higher educational institutions; applying modern instructional technologies, including technologies for distance learning; developing up-to-date educational equipment; and creating new textbooks and instructional aids creating conditions for the coordination and integration of higher educational institutions with enterprises through the formation of educational-scientific-innovation complexes attracting nonbudgetary funding sources for the innovation activity of higher educational institutions developing scientific, methodological, regulatory, and legal support for innovative activity in the scientific-technical and educational spheres increasing the effectiveness of activity and strengthening linkages among all elements of the innovation complex at higher educational institutions and the educational system to promote the generation, dissemination, and commercialization of new knowledge and technologies created at these institutions enhancing the competitiveness of higher educational institutions in the scientific-technical and educational services spheres on both the domestic and foreign markets creating conditions for honest competition and entrepreneurship in the sphere of science and scientific support services, as well as providing incentives and support for innovation activity at higher educational institutions

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Page 29 forming comprehensive interdisciplinary innovation projects involving two or more higher educational institutions to ensure the resolution of major problems facing a region, industry, or group of industries developing mechanisms for selecting innovation projects, which must stipulate the applied technology aspect of scientific research to be conducted The program is aimed at not only obtaining new scientific knowledge (conceptual solutions to scientific problems as a result of basic research), and not only developing new technologies, goods, and materials (technical solutions as a result of scientific research and experimental design work), but also creating and mass producing new technologies, goods, materials, and services using funds provided by outside investors. Hence, it follows that an innovation project is a project that ends not with the development of a mock-up or demonstration model of an item but with the production of finished goods using outside funding sources that have been attracted. That is, the project must include all procedures associated with commercializing the results of scientific research and developments by scientists working at higher educational institutions and their research and design units. If at the stage of conceptual resolution of a scientific problem (basic research), the fundamental task of the research manager lies in obtaining financing for basic scientific research, forming a collective, and obtaining new scientific knowledge—or if at the technical resolution stage (engineering research and experimental design work), the chief designer also must obtain financing, create or take charge of a collective of developers (designers, technologists, engineers), and arrive at a new technical solution (new technologies, new goods, new materials) —then at the innovative design stage, the chief project manager must furthermore resolve the problem of assessing the probability of commercializing the developments (technical solutions), conduct market research, promote the future innovation, get the product certified, attract investors, and organize production of the finished product. In other words, he or she must ensure that the needs of citizens, enterprises, industries, or regions for this product are met. Therefore, the innovation design stage differs substantially from the stages of conceptual solution of a scientific problem and technical solution of the entire innovation cycle. At the innovation design stage, one sees to a lesser extent the resolution of the problem of, for example, how to obtain various characteristics or parameters in the new product, technology, or material. Such problems are largely dealt with during the preceding stages of the innovation cycle. Here, to a larger extent, is where other problems are resolved—how to attract investors, how to organize production of the finished product, and how to

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Page 30 manufacture it in large volume and market it to the broadest possible spectrum of consumers. Innovation projects submitted to competitions must, for the most part, be carried out by innovation structure at higher educational institutions and by technoparks or innovation-technology centers, as these structures were specially created for such purposes. In view of the points made above, an innovation project must be headed by a chief manager who is professionally trained to administer and carry out innovation projects. He or she must have professional mastery of mechanisms for commercializing the results of scientific research and development work, as well as experience in transferring technologies from science to production and the social sphere. The most appropriate personnel to serve as chief managers of innovation projects are mainly directors of university technoparks or specialists who have been trained in innovation management and who work in the innovation structures of higher educational institutions. This will make it possible to define more clearly the roles and place of higher educational institutions and their innovation structures, especially technoparks and innovation-technology centers, in resolving the problem of the innovation activity of higher education. It will also help in increasing the effectiveness of innovation activity in the educational system, especially at the interagency level. Implementation of the program will promote the following: attracting university-based scientists, specialists, and students to innovation activity and using the results of this activity to improve the quality of training provided to specialists, including applying innovative educational technologies strengthening the role of higher educational institutions in the country's economy as regional centers for developing innovation activity in the scientific-technical and educational spheres creating effective instruments and mechanisms for carrying out innovation projects associated with market research, expert review, information support, and personnel training and retraining creating conditions for the coordination and integration of higher educational institutions with the real economic sector by forming educational-scientific-innovation complexes THE RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY OF INNOVATION TECHNOLOGIES AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP (RSUITE) Introduction The advantages of the innovation-oriented path to development are widely employed in the leading countries of the world. These advantages

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Page 31 make it possible to overcome crisis tendencies, diversify production, provide top-priority support for competitive products, commercialize new technologies and create new markets for them, and improve technology management practices. As the Russian economy is being restructured and the country is making the transition to innovation-oriented development as proclaimed by the President of Russia, the training of specialists for innovation activity in the scientific-technical sphere takes on special significance. These specialists must be capable of bringing scientific ideas to the finished product stage as well as promoting the profitable sales of such products on the domestic and foreign markets. According to the results of an expert analysis, there is a need for about 40,000 people at minimum to be trained as specialists in various spheres of innovation activity, including information systems support, financial and strategic management, investment analysis, design and advertising, marketing, international business, and legal support. To meet the labor resources need for specialists in innovation activity, it is essential first of all to organize a system for personnel training. The need for creating such a system is recognized by the state, as reflected in a number of federal programs. Support for the educational aspect of innovation activity in Russia is also provided through various international organizations and programs, including the Tacis Program of the European Union, the Peace Corps, the SABIT (Special American Business Internship Training) Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the World Bank, the British Know-How Fund, the UNIDO (United National Industrial Development Program) Industrial Partnership Program, and the International Labor Organization. The Current State of Affairs Up to now, many of the country's higher educational institutions (especially technical universities) have taken measures to create within their structures nonstandard faculties, departments, institutes, and such for the training, continuing education, and retraining of specialists (mainly on a commercial basis) in such fields as management, marketing, accounting, design, and advertising. However, the basic goal of higher educational institutions in creating these units was to attract additional funds to maintain their fundamental types of activities and preserve their research and teaching staffs. The main point of reference was the existing condition of the labor market. In this regard, it is completely natural that efforts by higher educational institutions to resolve their economic problems quickly were not aimed at the objective demands of society and the state. The domestic system for training personnel in innovation activity in the scientific-technical spheres is not yet formed; therefore, an objective

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Page 32 need has arisen to create a higher educational institution such as a federal-level training and methodological center oriented toward the training of highly qualified specialists for work in the innovation sphere, conducting research to identify trends inherent in this sphere, and developing a scientific-methodological base for innovation activity. Such an institution must become the nucleus of the entire system for innovation activity in Russian higher education and the guide for innovation policy of the Russian Ministry of Education. Brief Characterization of the Basic Goals, Tasks, and Differentiating Features of the University The Russian State University of Innovation Technologies and Business was founded in accordance with Order 2173-r of the Government of the Russian Federation, which was signed by V.V.Putin on December 31, 1999. One fundamental characteristic of the university is that its founders include the Russian Ministry of Industry, Science, and Technology and the Russian Ministry of Economics. These ministries have a great interest in the university's activities inasmuch as they are responsible for forming and implementing innovation policy in Russia. Thus, the activities of the university even at its formative stage are aimed at responding to the needs of society and the state in this sphere. The university is oriented toward creating and implementing a unified system for training and retraining both specialists in innovation and the development of new innovative technologies and instructors in the corresponding fields. It is called upon to coordinate the efforts of higher educational institutions, industry- and Academy-based research institutes, and regional government agencies to promote economic restructuring and aid in meeting the demands of the current labor market in Russia. Another important characteristic of the university is that its activities will be carried out in a number of regions of Russia through its branch campuses and offices. Thanks to the use of distance education, the university will be open to the maximum possible number of people wishing to participate. The regional structure of the university will also promote the geographic reach of the country's higher education system into remote and less-populated regions. It will also help resolve economic and social problems in the regions and attract funds from local budgets to the educational process. In this regard, the use of telecommunications technologies will provide the basis for the efficient dissemination, integration, and replication of training and methodological support. The university is founded on the basis of the State Scientific Institution-Center for Promoting the Development of Scientific-Technical Enterpreneurship in Higher Education, which operates under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Education. This center has amassed significant experi

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Page 33 ence in facilitating innovation activity and has 12 branches under the auspices of leading regional universities in various economic regions of Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Voronezh, Novgorod, Ivanovo, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Khabarovsk). It also has a broadly developed network of regional scientific-training centers for innovative business as well as a corporate information network linking a large number of Russian universities. In this way, the creation of the university is based on the unification of structures already existing within the Russian Ministry of Education system to facilitate innovation activity in higher education. Such an approach has indisputable economic advantages. Considering the orientation toward using existing classroom space at already operating universities and requiring only a minimal amount of new space (for the necessary infrastructure of the new university), these higher educational institutions and branches of the Center for Promoting the Development of Scientific-Technical Enterpreneurship in Higher Education possess a highly qualified staff of instructors and the necessary material-technical base for the education process (primarily computer equipment). Furthermore, the principle of cofoundership followed in the creation of the university also presupposes the principle of cofinancing of the university's activities by the ministries involved. Taking into account the specific interests of these ministries, one may predict that that their financial contributions will be allocated to various spheres of activity at the university as follows: Russian Ministry of Education: operation and development of the educational process, material support for the professors, instructors, auxiliary personnel, and students Russian Ministry of Industry, Science, and Technology: scientific and scientific-methodological research in various spheres of innovation activity and development of the material-technical base of the university, especially its information networks The educational process at the university is organized on the basis of using modern educational and information technologies, including distance learning, in the form of basic higher education, postgraduate education, and training and retraining of personnel in short- and long-term programs. The activities of the university are aimed at meeting a wide range of targeted objectives, including exporting education, including to the Russian-speaking population in the Commonwealth of Independent States developing editorial and publishing activities to create and mass produce training methodology literature

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Page 34 developing and implementing effective new teaching technologies, especially distance learning creating a system for regional and industry-based monitoring and forecasting of training needs for personnel to work on innovation activities in education and scientific-technical enterprises creating a unified training methodology database using computer networks of the higher education system and the Russian Academy of Sciences creating and implementing an integrated system for training personnel in scientific-technical entrepreneurship and retraining instructors for the regions The specific goals of educational activity at the university include the following: organizing training for professors, instructors, and specialists from university units and scientific-research institutes; deputy rectors for research, education, and economics; and the heads of scientific organizations in the educational system in the fundamental elements and business principles of commercializing the results of creative activity training a new category of specialists for organizational and methodological leadership in the entire range of issues concerned with evaluating the commercial potential of scientific research and development results, searching for strategic partners, and managing intellectual property resolving problems of providing personnel for the entrepreneurial sector of higher educational institutions, organizing training for specialists from small technology firms and innovation structures (technoparks, innovative technology centers, technology promotion centers), heads of small firms, managers of innovation projects, and specialists in accounting, marketing, financial strategy, intellectual property matters, and so forth training instructors and consultants for educational institutions so that they can train other personnel in problems of innovation management, with the goal being to form professional teams in regional educational institutions who can ensure the necessary quality of education and render effective consultative support on issues of innovation management and technology commercialization training staff members from federal and regional executive-branch agencies in matters concerning innovation management in the educational and scientific sphere so that they can gain the knowledge they need to provide effective assistance in developing innovation activity in the education sphere at the federal and regional levels

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Page 35 BOX1 Sample List of Lecture Courses at the University Economics of the Transition Period Civil Rights in Economic Activity General Questions of Psychology in the Innovation Process Business Management Informational Structure for Continuous Training Marketing Systematic Legal Protection for Intellectual Property Certification and Problems of Quality, Including Educational Quality Fundamentals of Investing and Trading Entrepreneurship and Security Organization of Manufacturing and Services International Cooperation Public Relations The instructional process is organized according to the following methodological, organizational, and economic principles: Methodology multilevel approach to the instruction of various categories of specialists modular structure for instructional system unified methodology for instruction at all levels continual updating of the educational process to reflect the changing market situation and the appearance of new technologies instruction designed within the framework of carrying out specific innovation projects Instructional Organization provision of an open educational space combination of group and individual forms of training broad utilization of outside information sources

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Page 36 use of distance learning technologies and provision of consultative guidance to students at all stages of training Economic Relations multiple channels of financing flexible price policy ensuring economic accessibility of training (in the commercial component of the educational process) development and implementation of new economic mechanisms to attract additional funds for tuition payments ability to adapt and to use flexible structures while keeping attuned to dynamically changing conditions in the external environment in order to maintain maximum efficiency In addition to its educational endeavors, the university's basic areas of activity also include research and commerce. The university's research unit, which is closely linked through various instructional mechanisms with the educational unit, aims to address the following key objectives: conducting research and providing scientific-methodological guidance regarding processes of economic growth-oriented production restructuring, personnel training (for managers, etc.), questions of product and service certification, protection of intellectual property, and the organization and conduct of information technology upgrades and expert quality reviews of scientific-technical and financial-economic matters systematically analyzing and modeling aspects involved in business management carrying out basic functions to ensure practical mastery and consolidation of knowledge gained by students performing development work to provide the necessary support for the educational process and ensure continual improvements in the qualifications of instructors at the university The commercial unit is not only oriented to attracting additional financing for the university's fundamental types of activity. It also serves as a sort of test facility for the practical implementation of the results of educational and scientific discoveries made by university staff members. Thus, all three interrelated units function in close interaction, harmoniously augmenting and stimulating each other's development. The following departments and institutes are currently operating at the university: Department of Information Systems

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Page 37 Department of Applied Informatics Department of Quality Management Department of Innovation Activity in Small Business and Entrepreneurship Department of Economics of Innovations Institute of Technology Commercialization Institute of Legal Problems of Innovation Processes and Entrepreneurship Consideration is being given to the possibility of opening an Institute of Training and Retraining for specialists in the aerospace industry, as well as new branches of the university in the cities of St. Petersburg, Kazan, Togliatti, Perm, and others. In January 2001 the first group of students was admitted to the university as a result of transfers from other higher educational institutions. Beginning with their second semester at the university, these 25 students will be trained in the specialty of Quality Management. In July 2001 the first regular incoming class (250 students) was selected for training in the following specialties:

Moscow (Including the Zelenograd Campus) • Applied Informatics (in Economics) 50 students • Information Systems and Technologies 25 students • Quality Management 25 students Penza Campus • Applied Informatics (in Economics) 25 students • Applied Informatics (in Services) 25 students • Information Systems and Technologies 25 students • Service 25 students Northern Campus (Novgorod) • Quality Management 25 students • Personnel Management 25 students On the whole, creation of the Russian State University of Innovation Technologies and Business represents a necessary stage in dealing with a major national economic issue that affects all industries, namely the formation in Russia of a

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Page 38 multilevel system for training managers for innovation activity in the scientific-technical and industrial spheres makes it possible to concentrate and more effectively use federal budget funds managed by the founding ministries for personnel training, development of innovation activity, and implementation of top-priority elements of socioeconomic policy.