Why Russia launched New Technology Initiative

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
RIA Novosti/Maksim Blinov
Rapid technological progress in the 21st century promotes global transformations and, among other things, shapes a new world order where leadership belongs to countries that pursue an active scientific, technological and industrial policy.

Russia is no exception here. President Vladimir Putin has set the task to elaborate an action plan to create radically new markets and set the stage for Russia’s global and technological leadership by 2035. It is key to solving such economic problems as stagnant productivity and demand.

Implementation of the National Technology Initiative (NTI) will permit to identify challenges to be faced by Russia in 10 to 15 years based on long-term forecasts and find systemic solutions enabling to determine key areas of scientific and technological development. The purpose of the NTI is to ensure technological parity between Russia and the world’s leading nations in technology, which is vital for competitiveness in the radically new environment.

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Russia needs a comprehensive solution to a number of problems. Firstly, to ensure technological independence – a task partly resolved under the Import Substitution Program. Secondly, to re-industrialise the economy by translating the latest scientific advances into fundamentally new products. In the long term, transition to a new technological paradigm will follow. It is especially important to distinguish key markets that are predicted to arise in the next 20 years. Industries the size of at least USD 100bn by the year 2035 will qualify.

So far Russian experts have identified nine industrial markets that might potentially benefit national economic development: food and aerospace industries, neurotechnology, industrial production, healthcare, energy, shipbuilding, digital and additive technology, university clusters for scientific and technological research.

In the short-term Russian scientists aim to focus on neurotechnology, advanced industrial technology, as well as quantum technology and photonics. This large-scale projects have been joined by leading scientific centers and universities. In 2014, over 5 billion rubles (US$88 million) was spent on these areas of scientific research, with budgetary contribution less than half of that.

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Road maps are being worked out for search of other promising technological markets. These might include the market for driver-less cars integrated into an intelligent transport system and digital medicine.

Today no one can predict with confidence what the world will look like even in 20 years. However, it is a strategic task for Russia to be among nations shaping a new world.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.