The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
to do so, and institutes that have remained fully functional should, of course, be encouraged to continue with their work.
We learned that the Russian government is undertaking a program to certify institutes as legitimate research establishments. Such efforts undoubtedly will result in some dislocations of personnel, and programs must be developed to aid such persons. However, using some institutes merely as mechanisms for delivering partial financial support and social services to scientists is pointless and a serious waste of resources. Even direct financial aid to unemployed scientists, channeled perhaps through the Russian Academy, would be preferable because a clear distinction could be made between funds that are supporting actual research and funds that are providing social services.
The government must provide an environment in which well-managed institutes and start-up companies can flourish. The most difficult challenge may be to explicitly relax control of the institutes and the production facilities. The institutes, after all, were home to some of the Soviet Union's most closely guarded secrets. In modern Russia, the institutes are highly visible to the government and obvious targets for taxes and controls. Legislation that could affect new start-ups, particularly tax and import/export controls, should be specifically evaluated for its impact on investment, business development, and entrepreneurship in Russia.
As noted above, many of the institutes that we visited consider current Russian intellectual property laws adequate, but they add that the Russian legal system as a whole cannot be used to effectively protect intellectual property rights. The challenge is to develop a legal system that is accessible to individuals and small private entities and that can be seen to operate at least honestly if not predictably. This problem, which goes well beyond the scope of the committee's study of technology commercialization, should be considered well worth a separate study.
International contracting practices, business development, entrepreneurship, and standardization pose less serious problems. Facility in these areas can be taught. The solution, in one sense, is as simple as identifying appropriate people at the institutes to receive training and ensuring that they receive proper training. Because many scientists are not sure how they are expected to operate in the new environment and some, at least, hope for a return to the more structured environment of the past, the real challenge is to reorient and restructure the institutional leadership so that entrepreneurial personalities can rise to the top and lead their organizations into the future.