Research and Development

  • Insufficient laboratory equipment and limitations on financial support for research and development (R&D) from the government inhibit realization of the full potential of the existing R&D workforce. In addition, customs duties often inhibit imports of modern laboratory equipment.

  • Limited access to the Internet, limited availability of international journals, and lack of opportunities to participate in international conferences prevent researchers from taking advantage of many international S&T achievements.

  • Improved evaluations of past research results and future plans should serve as the basis for decisions on research grant proposals.

Technology Transfer

  • Existing legislation does not provide an adequate basis for transforming research results into commercial products. For example, it does not (1) provide tax exemptions to motivate entrepreneurs to invest in the development of new technologies, (2) limit through taxation imports of technologies even if the same technologies could be developed in Kazakhstan, or (3) provide financial incentives for commercial enterprises to use the results of R&D carried out in the country.

  • The commercial sector has little interest in the activities of research institutions due to poor marketing capabilities on the part of the institutions and lack of information in the commercial sector regarding the institutions’ achievements. Marketing departments and technology transfer centers at the institutions would help.

  • Governmental mechanisms are needed to link public-sector research institutes with public-sector enterprises that are heavily dependent on effective technologies.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

As noted throughout this report, Kazakhstan has an unusual opportunity to develop and use S&T for increasing its global economic competitiveness while enhancing the economic and social well-being of its population. The strong commitment of the nation’s leaders to rapid development of S&T capabilities and the increasing availability of financial resources to support the S&T infrastructure are strong pillars for the ambitious programs that have been developed.

However, the views of the representatives of the education and research communities noted above and comments by other S&T leaders of the country have underscored many of the impediments to rapid progress. High on the list is the limited interest of local and international companies and service organizations in investing their resources in R&D activities with uncertain payoffs. Most



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