Intersectoral mobility of researchers in Russia: trends and policy measures

in Triple Helix

This article is devoted to analysis of researchers’ internal mobility in Russia related to their movement between academic institutes or universities and industry - the so-called intersectoral mobility. Intersectoral mobility may acquire different forms: permanent, when a researcher moves from one organization to another for a full-time job, or temporary, as a part-time research work or consulting. Studies of internal mobility show a positive relationship between the level of intersectoral mobility and research productivity, which is the reason for a growing number of countries to introduce measures stimulating such movement of the research workforce.

In Russia, internal mobility of researchers is low and the government thus far has not paid much attention to this characteristic of labor resources. Mobility, as a knowledge transfer, is seen by the government mostly in terms of development of the science base in the government sector (research institutes and universities) but not as an instrument for fostering commercialization of research results. Such low mobility is rooted in Soviet legacy, including traditions as inbreeding, when universities persistently hire their own graduates.

An empirical part of the article describes results of the case studies conducted at an academic institute, a university, and state and private companies in order to assess the scale of and obstacles for intersectoral mobility in Russia and formulate potential government measures for stimulating this process.

Case studies confirmed the low level of intersectoral mobility but revealed that part-time research jobs are a commonplace. However, a typical form of such part-time occupation is for a professor to be employed by yet another research institute or university, which does not constitute intersectoral mobility. Suggestions of respondents were focused on measures aimed to promote mobility through strengthening linkages between industry and universities (research institutes). The proposed measures included joint work at shared research facilities and joint supervision of graduate and undergraduate students.

JEL classification: O31, O32, O38

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