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As many as 48% of Russians believe in the potential of science and technology, the RVC study reveals

23.01.2017
As many as 48% of Russians believe in the potential of science and technology, the RVC study reveals

RVC has published the results of a large study "Social and cultural factors of innovative development of Russia."

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For the first time ever, the study allowed determining the values and behaviours of the population of the Russian Federation, affecting the development of technological entrepreneurship and the formation of an innovative economy. Main conclusion: 48% of Russians believe in the potential of scientific and technological progress. Meanwhile, this attitude towards science and technology in Russia turned out to be an average of 20% more positive than in Europe.

The study of such scale was held in Russia for the first time ever and was implemented by MSSES in partnership with RVC, Moscow State University, Institute of national projects and CSR. During 2016, a survey of 6,000 respondents was conducted in 10 Russian regions. According to its results, a cluster analysis of the data was carried out. The researchers identified groups of population by their views on scientific progress and technological innovation, as well as studied the economic activity, the attitude and willingness of Russians to entrepreneurial activity.

"Technooptimists" and "technophobes"

The results showed that the Russians are the largest "technooptimists" in Europe. The attitude towards science and technology in Russia turned out to be an average of 20% more positive than in Europe. For example, half of Russians agreed with the statement "in the future, science and technology will open all the mysteries of nature" and only 27% of respondents in the EU. "Tehnooptimists" were the most numerous of the three identified in the cluster analysis groups of respondents:

  • Tehnooptimists (48%) — they believe in the potential of science and technology, and they also believe that with the help of science and technology social and economic problems of society can be solved. 
  • Technophobes (24%) — believe that the development of science and technology is a danger to humanity in the long run. 
  • Tehnosceptics (28%) — they do not believe that innovation can solve the problems of people; they are sure that technological advances do not affect their daily lives, and claim that science and technology do not provide fundamentally new knowledge.

"The study revealed a kind of "social base" for state support for the development of science and technology. The optimism of Russians with regards to science and technology in the proper operation of the public opinion is able to become the foundation for change society's attitude towards the ongoing technology policy", said Eugene Kuznetsov, Deputy General Director and Program Director of RVC.

However, despite the high level of "technooptimism", Russian citizens for the most part are not ready for the emergence of specific technical innovations in everyday life (36% in Russia, compared to 51% in the EU). In addition, the level of trust in public institutions among "technooptimists" is almost two times lower than that of "technophobes".

"Potential technological entrepreneurs"

During the analysis of the economic activity of the inhabitants of the Russian Federation, their attitudes towards entrepreneurship and their willingness to become entrepreneurs three groups of people have been revealed:

  • Homo Iners (49%) — those who do not implement innovative strategies in the economic sphere. Rarely put forward ideas to improve the efficiency of work, and they are not engaged in entrepreneurial activity. 
  • Homo Instutius (32%) — they implement innovative strategies within the existing social institutions, they play "by the rules". Most of them offer ideas on how to optimise the work of an organization. In doing so, however, they rarely plan to do business. 
  • Homo Economicus (19%) — are actively implementing innovative strategies and are ready to change the existing rules. They are engaged in entrepreneurial activity, or plan to start a business in the near future. They also demonstrate the highest distrust of institutions. More often they are willing to bypass the formal rules, justifying tax evasion, corrupt transactions, etc.

According to the study, 9% of Russians form a group labelled as "potential technological entrepreneurs." This is an area of intersection of the "technooptimists" cluster and Homo Economicus. The participants of the group are younger than the population of the Russian Federation as a whole: 56% of people under the age of 35 years, two-thirds of them are men. They prefer income to stability; they have the largest number of social ties.

The community of potential technology entrepreneurs can be called the audience of implementation of technology policies. However, it is here the lowest Institutional Confidence indicators among the Russian population are recorded. "Entrepreneurs have faith in scientific and technological progress is correlated with socio-political pessimism, they are the least trusted in the state and its initiatives. This is the most difficult conclusion reached by us. It is necessary to return their trust so that we can work in the same direction", Evgeny Kuznetsov said.

Based on the results of the study, the experts have developed a unique methodology to assess the innovation potential of the regions, which take into account their resources, residents' behavioural strategies, the level of technooptimism and values that determine susceptibility to economic policies.

"We study the impact of actual economic and institutional factors on economic activity a lot, but often forget about the cultural features, those settings that determine the behaviour of individuals. I had to convince different development institutions in the need for such a study for almost ten years, and now, finally, this study was conducted. I really hope that it will allow to adjust the strategy of state support of innovation, taking into account social and cultural factors," said the Dean of the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University, Alexander Auzan, whose hypotheses on the impact of social and cultural factors on the innovative behaviour formed the basis for the study.

"In the future, the received data will be the basis to optimally plan the strategy to popularise the state policy in the sphere of innovations and create mechanisms for the massive involvement of the population in technological entrepreneurship", summed up Alexei Gusev, director of department for the development of innovation ecosystem RVC.

The full results of the study can be found at the following link.



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