the institute offered testing services to be carried out in accordance with the scientific programs of these foreign firms. Since the beginning in 1993, the offering of testing services and of scientific projects for joint continuation have enabled the institute to carry out $300,000 to $500,000 of work per year on a contract basis—at least one quarter of its annual volume of work.
In just the past four years, the institute has initiated long-term contracts with such firms as 3M (U.S.), Dow Chemical (U.S.), Borealis, Neste Chemical (Finland), Akzo-Nobel and D M (Holland), and RSD (Austria). These contracts have enabled the institute, at least in part, to finance and maintain its scientific potential and to replenish its supply of instruments and equipment for research and technological work. In many cases, the terms of the contracts made it possible for the institute to retain the possibility of using the technologies it develops for other firms in its own enterprise.
In recent years the institute has been able to license sales of fully developed technologies. It perfected several technologies by improving certain domestically invented stages in plastics production processes. For example, as a result of skillful selection of efficient new initiating systems at many plants, the institute has been able to increase the quality and assortment of thin polyethylene while simultaneously enhancing the economic efficiency of production. The institute also has begun to improve the technology for olefin polymerization by using new catalytic systems based on metallocenes.
In addition to taking steps to secure contracts with foreign firms and profit from licensing sales, the institute has made other efforts to bolster its scientific potential. It has maintained the scientific council for granting academic degrees and its institute for training personnel at the graduate level. This effort to produce highly-skilled scientific workers also will enhance the institute's long-term viability.
Together, these steps suggest that the institute will be able to overcome the crisis situation, positively influence the activities of the factories in its industrial sector, and ensure the competitiveness of domestically-manufactured products on the free market.
What basic lessons have we drawn from the transition to a market system? First, industrial institutes should proceed with only those technological developments for which there likely will be a demand under market conditions. Second, they must carry out research and development work in a timely manner. If the time frame from project planning to commercialization is too long, a technological development can lose its novelty and, consequently, the interest of the market.