The national objective for Kazakhstan is sustainable and balanced societal and economic development. High employment, productivity, and competitiveness should be key factors.
The government, decision-makers, and blue-chip players need to realize that focused measures to step up research and technological development and the utilization of the results of these activities must play a significant role in achieving the national objective. These activities also have an important place in efforts to respond to the challenges facing cultural development and environment protection.
If decision-makers and executors of government policies do not realize the need for structural development of the research system, research will not support achievement of the national objective in a constantly changing international environment.
At the systems level, at the level of decision making, and within research and higher education institutions, the following considerations are important.
A) The research and scientific system should be developed with a view to continuous improvement of the quality and relevance of research and development.
The ministries should realize that measures are needed to improve the setting of priorities of activities and to enhance the national and international reputations of research organizations. It is very important that at the government level and at the level of the Higher Scientific and Technical Commission the decision-makers and other participants realize that a crucial challenge for Kazakhstan is to develop world-class R&D in fields most relevant to the national economy, to societal development, and to the well-being of citizens. Also, the effectiveness of implementation of measures to promote national development must always be assessed fairly.
B) State and public research funding organizations need to expand collaboration among themselves and with private and foreign funders in order to develop, strengthen, and then increase knowledge clusters of the highest standard. It is important that the Ministry of Education and Science, funding organizations, development institutions and mission-oriented ministries realize that the core funding of research organizations and competitive funding should complement each other in a balanced way. Further, it is quite important that measures be developed and implemented to increase the number of joint projects of higher education institutions, research institutes, and companies and to expand other forms of cooperation with a view to improving operation of the research system and promoting research-based social and technological innovation.
C) The Ministry of Education and Science (together with other ministries) needs to pay greater attention to the internationalization of education, research, and innovation as a central development goal for the research system as a whole. International communication about cooperation opportunities associated with domestic science and technology achievements should be significantly improved. Internationalization of activities involving Kazakhstan also should be promoted by legislative means. In particular, mechanisms should be established to enhance the capabilities of all participants in the research system to receive foreign researchers and other specialists.
D) The links between advice on science, technology, and innovation policy and political decision-making within the government must be strengthened significantly. In particular, the role of science, technology, and innovation policy should be significantly strengthened in the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, especially with a view to developing cooperation within and between the ministries concerning administrative matters.
E) Development institutions and funding organizations need to be proactive in developing their joint financing and other forms of cooperation in order to improve the impact of R&D and innovation financing and to support establishment of operational entities larger than the current ones. Development institutions and funding organizations need to review on a continuing basis existing procedures and financing instruments and, when necessary, develop new ap-
proaches, particularly with a view to promoting inter-disciplinary and inter-technological research and attracting foreign world-class experts to Kazakhstan.
F) Research institutes should seek more external research funding in order to increase its share in supporting their research and development activities. The ministries and the research institutes must improve the management of their research funding and the standardization of cost calculations in order to ensure that the real costs of their activities can be appropriately monitored and accurately calculated in assessing financial needs.
G) Universities need to improve their international competitiveness by improving the focus of their activities and by investing in improving the quality of research, expanding inter-disciplinary activities, and recruiting research personnel who can perform at an international level.
The Committee on Science within the Ministry of Education and Science has recently been established.