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The Monitoring of the Population's Innovative Behaviour

Priority areas of development: economics
2012
Head: Shuvalova, Olga R., Leonard, Carol Scott, Ilina, Irina N.

This project has been implemented within the framework of the HSE's Basic Research Programme since 2009. The initial aim of the project was to collect and analyse data on the dissemination of innovative practices in households as well as the perception of innovation, innovation skills, attitudes, and other factors which may influence the innovation behaviour of the Russian population. The monitoring is implemented in a regime of three-year cycles. The first cycle covered the period of 2009-2011: 2009 – a study of innovative perception; 2010 – an analysis of the dissemination of innovation practices within households; and 2011 – detecting the skills for innovation. The second cycle began in 2012. The 2012 report presents results of the research on the perception of innovation.

Research Object:
The Russian population's perception of innovation.

Research Purpose:
To study changes in the Russian adult population's perception of innovation during the period of 2009-2012; the specific features of Russia, compared with other countries; and the factors affecting the perception of innovation.

Empirical Base of the Research:
Two datasets of representative surveys of the Russian population ("Innovative Climate" surveyed 1,703 people aged 16 years and older, and "The perception of innovation" interviewed 1,600 people aged 18 years and older) conducted by the Yuri Levada Analytical Center in November 2011 and December 2011, as well as the time series data of similar surveys conducted in 2009 (the first cycle of the monitoring), and of earlier surveys (1995-1997), and results of similar studies in other countries, published in Special Eurobarometers and recent reports made by the U.S. National Science Foundation in Science & Engineering Indicators.

Research Results: The study has confirmed some of the emerging trends of the previous monitoring cycle. Negative assessments of the national science and education system are growing, ie the basic (fundamental) areas for the national innovation system. The prestige of professional scientific activities remains low (the ratio of positive and negative attitudes in the academic careers of their children – 42 to 43%, and among young people 35% to 48%). The prestige of  the teaching profession is very low, although it remains in an upward trend (if in 2003 only 19% of the respondents had positive attitudes, in 2006 the percentage was 21%, in 2009 – 29%, in 2011 – 31%). The prestige of the occupation of programmer (the proportion of positive and negative responses has held steady at the same level since 2003, and in 2011 it was 60 to 25%) and of engineer (53 to 33%) are much higher. The measurement was conducted for the first time in 2011.

In the cognitive aspect, Russians had low interest in scientific and technical topics, and a low level of scientific literacy. In this case, there is an increasing loyalty to the development of many controversial scientific fields, which is contrary to European tendencies, when more than a competent understanding of science is accompanied by a more watchful eye on its distribution. To proceed to the European attitude to science and technology, it is necessary to increase the scientific literacy of Russians.

In the behavioural aspect, Russians continue to be conservative – the time series observations fix low attractiveness to innovative products, especially new foods.

In 2012, the phenomenon of "home innovators" was studied for the first time. In Russia, these individuals may be characterized as "bike reinventors". They represent the well-educated population of the Russian heartland; they are well-informed on new products of science and technology, but in an underdeveloped market (a weak offering of innovative products and their high cost), they opt to make products themselves or to customize them to suit their needs. Although this group is extremely small (less than 4% of the population), it has a high potential for innovation and allows existing problems of "industrial" science to be filled.

Implementation of the Research Results:
Monitoring results are regularly published in statistical databooks (Indicators for the Information Society and Information Society Outlook – topics about ICT usage by individuals; Science and Technology Indicators – public attitudes toward science, technology and innovation; Indicators of Education in the Russian Federation – participation of the population in lifelong learning and Education in Figures – public attitudes toward education, etc). Monitoring results were analyzed in articles devoted to problems of Russian innovation development (“Attentive Public for Science and Technology: 'New' Stakeholders or 'Last' Technocrats?” (Sociology of Science and Technology, 2012, No. 3 – in Russian); "Empirical Evidence on User-Oriented Innovation in Russia" – a draft of the HSE electronic preprint in English; and “Awareness of New Technologies as a Measure of Risk Perception: Sketches of a Cross-country Analysis” – an article being prepared in English). Monitoring results of the 2011 study "Skills for Innovation" were presented at the IV Russian Congress of Sociology in Ufa and at the second forum of the International Sociological Association in Buenos Aires.

International Partner:

Dr. John E. Jankowski, PhD, Director of the Research and Development Statistics Program, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics , U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF); http://www.nsf.gov/staff/staff_bio.jsp?lan=jjankows&org=NCSE&from_org=NCSE