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BRIC - Russia

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 6:59pm
Martin Grueber, Research Leader, Battelle and Tim Studt, Editorial Director, Advantage Business Media
Russia Chart
2013 GDP, billion US$, PPP $2,598
2013 GERD, billion US$, PPP $38.50
R&D/GDP 1.48%
Population, million 142.5
GERD/Person $270
Published Research Papers
1999-2003, Physics 37,800
2004-2008, Physics 34,500
1999-2003, Chemistry 29,500
2004-2008, Chemistry 28,600
Academic Research Share 52%
Institute Research Share 17%
Industry Research Share 14%
Other Research Share 16%
Source: Battelle/R&D Magazine, UNESCO, Thomson Reuters

GFF GlobeGross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD) in the Russian Federation nearly doubled (at constant prices) from 1998 to 2008, one of the highest growth rates at that time. Russia's 2013 R&D is forecast to grow to $38.5 billion, a 4.0% increase over the $37 billion spent in 2012. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of size, but it is unfavorably located in relation to sea lanes and lacks proper soils and climates for agriculture. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its economy is expected to see moderate growth (3.8%) over the next several years, buoyed in part by its energy exports to Europe.

Unfortunately, Russia is plagued with a number of structural and economic imbalances that hinder the effectiveness of its R&D investments. While Russian researcher salaries are higher than those for the general Russian commercial and manufacturing sectors, they are just a fraction of those offered for similar positions in the U.S., Germany, South Korea, and other western countries. As a result of this, corruption allegations, and Vladimir Putin's 13 years of a semi-authoritarian political system, up to a quarter of Russia's well-educated young people have stated that they are considering emigrating to more attractive countries, according to a recent report on National Public Radio (NPR). Those considering emigration cite concerns for their children obtaining sub-par education in Russia, and few expect the political situation in Russia to change any time soon.

Research Equipment Concerns
Additionally, existing research equipment, machinery, and facilities have not been upgraded. According to the latest UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Science Report, a quarter of the machinery and equipment used for R&D in Russia is more than 10 years old and 12.3% is more than 20 years old. The degree of wear and tear on this equipment has been calculated at 55% and installations specifically designed for R&D are available at less than 7% of the R&D organizations and less than 20% of them have their own experimental base. For the former USSR (which had a 1990 R&D budget that was more than twice the current Russian R&D budget), this experimental base was 34%.

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Russian military-based R&D spending, considered at one time to be nearly equal to that of the U.S., has been reduced from 38% of the total R&D budget in 2005 to just 18% in 2012, according to a recent report by RIA Novosti, the Russian International News Agency. Vladimir Pospelov, a member of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, stated that the cuts have hampered the implementation of mid- and long-term R&D projects. A large number of R&D projects have already been terminated since 2009 as they became obsolete, resulting in large (~$86 million) termination costs. Despite these concerns, the Russian government has funded the multi-billion U.S.$ Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry, modeled after the U.S. Dept. of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Russian Ministry of Defense has been aggressively pushing the development of a new class of nuclear aircraft carriers as a means of securing Russian national interests anywhere in the world. These huge defense R&D programs are expensive and spread out over more than 10 years, but deemed essential for guaranteeing the country’s scientific and technological capacity.

Russia’s 2013 forecast $38.5 billion GERD accounts for about 2.6% of the expected global spending. Coincidentally, Russia also produces about 2.6% of the world output of 25,000 indexed research papers per year, according to Thomson Reuters. This overall average includes 7.4% of the total physics research papers, 6.9% of the space science papers, 6.8% of the geosciences papers, 4.9% of the chemistry papers, and 4.6% of the mathematics-based research papers.

Russia's Industrial R&D
Company 2010 R&D mil. U.S. $ R&D, % Revenue
Gazprom 752.3 0.70%
Lukoil 114.1 0.10%
AvtoVAZ 73.1 2.40%
Source: Battelle/R&D Magazine, EU Industrial R&D Scoreboard
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