Some of the earlier interacademy efforts were documented in two published National Academies reports, Technology Commercialization: Russian Challenges, American Lessons and Successes and Difficulties of Small Innovative Firms in Russian Nuclear Cities.2 Additional observations gained from these activities have been included in presentations by participants at conferences.

In view of this base of experience, the office of the Department of Energy responsible for the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) awarded a grant to the NRC in 2003 to organize and conduct an interacademy workshop in Yekaterinburg on industrial innovation in the Urals region of Russia. The emphasis was to be on improving linkages between Russian industrial companies and Russian research organizations. Discussion of the concept of “market pull” was to be an important aspect of the workshop. Linkages between Russian researchers and international companies and foreign research centers are also important, and they were also to be considered. However, the focus was to be primarily on Russian-Russian linkages, which had previously received less attention by the NCI program.

The workshop was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in October 2004 (for agenda of plenary sessions, see Appendix A). Many aspects of the innovation process from basic research through successful marketing of new or improved products or services were considered. Experiences of many Russian organizations, together with relevant experiences of Western companies, research organizations, and universities were also presented. Successes of focused programs designed to improve existing products and production capacities, and experiences with technology incubators and related approaches were specifically addressed by Russian and American participants.3

As indicated in Appendix B, the NCI program assists in the creation of sustainable jobs in the nuclear cities of Russia for specialists who had been engaged in defense-related activities. The emphasis of the program has been on jobs which produce new and improved goods and services for the civilian market thereby drawing on the technical skills of former defense scientists. Often the creation of these jobs requires a closer link between the scientific-research com-

2  

NRC. 1998. Technology Commercialization: Russian Challenges, American Lessons. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; NRC. 2002. Successes and Difficulties of Small Innovative Firms in Russian Nuclear Cities. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

3  

For a detailed discussion of the innovation process as viewed in the West, see Howard, William G., Jr., and Bruce R. Guile, editors. 1992. Profiting from Innovation, The Report of the Three-year Study from the National Academy of Engineering. The Free Press, New York. Some of the most difficult technology transfer problems in Russia are discussed in Nikolay Rogalev. 1998. Technology Commercialization in Russia: Challenges and Barriers. Austin: IC2 Institute, University of Texas at Austin. The following report is also useful in framing the issues: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2001. Bridging the Innovation Gap in Russia.



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