resources are invested in the development of nonoil sectors of the economy and in promotion of sustainable, broad-based economic growth. The country needs to make the transition from producing and exporting primarily unprocessed raw materials to producing and exporting more knowledge-intensive, value-added goods and services, but this transition will take many years. Upgraded S&T capabilities in both the public and the private sectors are essential in moving forward in this regard. However, during the next few years, Kazakhstan has no choice but to rely heavily on foreign technologies to operate and modernize its industrial base and to serve the requirements of its population.
The government must balance the urgent need to strengthen its industrial base through the use of imported technologies with a comparable need to support the rapid development of a capability to generate its own technologies. Thus, the government should support through financial, tax, regulatory, procurement, and other mechanisms the educational and S&T infrastructures necessary for the development in Kazakhstan of technology-intensive goods and services for the Kazakhstani and world markets.
At the present time, however, few industrial companies show interest in the products of local R&D activities. Thus, the future technological needs of companies do not usually play a role in determining the focus of research programs, particularly within public-sector institutions. In the absence of the development of greater “market pull” for technological innovations, the likely success of most technology transfer programs will remain low. Governmental policies such as those noted above that encourage companies to invest in innovation, either in their own laboratories or through outsourcing tasks to R&D institutions, are essential.
MES, other ministries, and many S&T institutions have documented these and other problems that inhibit effective development and application of S&T. Of critical importance, all reports that have been available to the committee underscore the fact that the number of talented and well-trained students who pursue S&T careers in Kazakhstan following completion of their studies is inadequate. This loss of S&T-oriented talent is due in large measure to low salaries, poor laboratory facilities, and housing difficulties that inhibit mobility, along with the attractions of working abroad or entering private business in Kazakhstan. At the same time, many well-established researchers must cope with outmoded laboratory equipment and limitations on financial support that inhibit their personal growth and their contributions to national development.
Unfortunately, the coupling of research with education is often weak. For example, universities are not able to take full advantage of the research capabilities of the 25 independent research institutes that had formerly been under the management of the National Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan. This is due to a variety of factors, including (1) the long history of organizational separation; (2) higher levels of scientific development in most of the institutes and the lack of interest of their scientists in a university environment; and (3) competition