• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
  • HSE University
  • Research projects
  • Monitoring behavior of innovation actors: innovation activity of knowledge-intensive business services firms; innovation patterns of highly qualified R&D personnel

Monitoring behavior of innovation actors: innovation activity of knowledge-intensive business services firms; innovation patterns of highly qualified R&D personnel

Priority areas of development: economics, sociology
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Research objectives

Research objectives include the collection and further analysis of empirical data regarding innovation activity of (1) knowledge-intensive business services firms and (2) highly qualified R&D personnel.


Research methodology is developed in line with the principles and methodological standards of international surveys on innovation activity. To collect the data about innovation activity of knowledge-intensive business service firms under the pressure of digitalization and transformation of business models a new questionnaire was created. Survey questions are consistent with methodological recommendations of Community Innovation Survey (CIS) and the fourth edition of Oslo Manual. The methodology and questionnaire used for the analysis of innovation patterns of highly qualified R&D personnel correspond to the survey toolkits of international project “Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH)” (OECD, Eurostat, UNESCO Institute for Statistics). The questionnaire includes some specific sets of questions regarding employability, mobility, and research practices of highly qualified R&D personnel.

Empirical research base

Information about innovation activity of knowledge-intensive business services firms was gathered during survey of top managers of companies with at least 10 employees engaged in relevant activities (according to the national classification of industries) operating in the largest Russian cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, etc). The total number of responses achieves 313 companies representing all three types of knowledge-intensive business services (professional, technological and creative ones respectively).

The survey of R&D personnel is based on multistage stratified sample with quota representation by a number of characteristics: region (federal district); type of host organization; gender and age of respondents; academic degree, research specialization. The sample size is 1742 respondents with academic degrees/


  • Theoretical framework of the study is based upon the systemizing of modern approaches to the analysis of innovation activity of both knowledge-intensive business services firms and highly qualified R&D personnel. The questionnaire for the knowledge-intensive business services firms’ was adjusted to the last findings in this filed regarding the processes of digitalization and coproduction. To analyze the contribution of R&D personnel to the innovation activity of companies’ the main factors that determine the successful patterns of innovation activity were identified.  
  • The methodologies for analyzing of innovation activity of both knowledge-intensive business services firms and highly qualified R&D personnel were significantly improved. A new questionnaire was developed to evaluate the innovation activity of knowledge-intensive business services firms in the context of digitalization; refined tools were proposed to evaluate the customization level of knowledge-intensive business services and the intensity of their co-production. Specific tools for the assessment of human capital were also updated. Finally, the requirements for sampling and data collection were revised.
  • New empirical results are enabled to update the unique database on the activities of knowledge-intensive business services in Russia developed since 2006. The new data provide insights of the sector development after 2014-2015 economic crisis.

According to the results, 49% of the surveyed companies introduced new innovative products or services to the market over the last three years. Moreover, the share of the companies have introduced new digital products of services, such as platforms or digital content, is 1.5 times higher than the share of companies that have developed innovative products or services without a digital component. In turn, business processes innovations were embedded in more than 80% of the surveyed knowledge-intensive business services firms. In both cases, during the observed period companies’ own funds were the key source of financing innovation activities for 84% of companies.

Standard products and services accounted for an average of 44% of the knowledge-intensive business services firm’s revenue, while fully customized knowledge-intensive business services developed either by the producer or jointly with the client 16% and 12% of revenue, respectively. The degree of client involvement into companies’ production processes (coproduction) varies across project stages and client types. The most significant gap is observed at the stage of idea generation, where the level of coproduction with regular clients was 0.42 points higher than that of new clients. It is also worth mentioning that, in addition to e-mail traditionally used by almost all companies for interaction with clients, messengers and video conference calls continue gathering popularity (74% and 67% respectively).

  • The data on innovation patterns of highly qualified R&D personnel obtained in 2019 supplement the unique empirical database on the work conditions and incentives of Russian scientists to build a career collected on a regular basis since 2010.  

The results show that a significant part of Doctorate and PhD holders in Russia (42.7%) has more than one employment place. Almost all of them (87.4%) work full-time for the primary employer and this primary place of employment in most cases (81.9%) is fully consistent with the professional qualification of the scientist. Moreover, 78.6% of the respondents have not changed their job during the last 10 years. Interregional mobility of Russian researchers is generally low: the share of those who have changed their residence due to the job change does not exceed 15%.

Basic digital skills are required for the professional activities of the majority of Doctorate and PhD holders: more than 80% of the respondents are good at using word processing applications, creating presentations and finding necessary data and publications throughout the Internet. However, advanced digital skills are not currently widespread: almost 70% of the scientists do not have even a minimum computer programming proficiency. Those who have high level of advanced digital skills mastered them independently through self-learning.

Research implementation, recommendations for the implementation

  • The practical use of the results is driven by the implementation of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation “On National Goals and Strategic Tasks of the Development of the Russian Federation for the Period until 2024” (No. 204 dated 05.07.2018) in the field of science and education, national projects “Science” and “Education”. These projects provide the assurance of the attractiveness for leading specialists and young researchers of building a career in Russia, as well as the development of an integrated system of training and professional growth for scientific personnel. 
  • The results can be used to assess the progress of federal (for example, “Development of human resources in the field of R&D”) and national (for example, “Education” and “Digital Economy”) projects.
  • The results were also used for the scientific publications in the international journals indexed in Scopus and Web of Science databases, as well as reports at Russian and international scientific conferences. The results are used by external organizations, including Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Ministry of the Economic Development of the Russian Federation, other federal executive bodies, the Presidential Administration of Russia and the Government Office of Russia. At the international level, the project results provide the opportunities for the further cooperation with the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (DSTI OECD) and the European Association for Research on Services (RESER).


Sabirova D., Belousova V., Krayushkina Z., Lonshchikova Y., Nikiforova E., Chichkanov N. The Role of Human Capital in Science, Technology and Innovation // Foresight and STI Governance. 2019. Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 107-119. doi
Katchanov Y. L., Markova Y., Shmatko N. A. Comparing the topological rank of journals in Web of Science and Mendeley // Heliyon. 2019. Vol. 5. No. 7. P. e02089-1-e02089-9. doi
Shmatko N. A., Volkova G. Willingness of Russian Researchers to Digital Transformation: Basic Digital Literacy and Advanced Skills, in: Culture and Education: Social Transformations and Multicultural Communication: Proceedings of the Middle-Term Conference RC04 Sociology of Education International Sociological Association (ISA). M. : RUDN, 2019. doi P. 616-625. doi
Volkova G., Никишин Е. А. Interregional Mobility Of Russian Researchers: Moving For A Promising Job / National Research University Higher School of Economics. Series WP BRP "Basic research program". 2019. No. 103.
Belousova V., Solodkov V. M., Chichkanov N., Nikiforova E. Acceptance of New Technologies by Employees in Financial Industry, in: Handbook of Financial Econometrics, Mathematics, Statistics, and Machine Learning (In 4 Volumes). World Scientific, 2020. Ch. 56. P. 2053-2080. doi