The modernization of Russian higher education сan help attract modern technologies and production, says Ernst & Young’s survey
Moscow, 22 October 2010 ― Russia should invest substantially in bringing education up to modern standards to achieve ambitious plans to modernize its economy, according to the latest Ernst & Young survey, “The next generation of innovative thinkers in Russia.”
In September 2010, exclusively for the USRBC (The U.S.-Russia Business Council, www.usrbc.org), Ernst & Young interviewed twenty-seven global leaders in various sectors doing business in Russia. The total global turnover of these companies in 2009 was about 1,300,000 million USD. These companies had up to 2.7 million employees. The survey participants were asked about their recent collaboration with institutions of higher education and the strengths and weaknesses of modern Russian higher education.
According to the survey, only three of the twenty-seven companies questioned are currently working with Russian business incubators, and only seven are working with Russian institutions of higher education in the areas of technology transfer, licensing and commercialization. This is less than half of the figure in the USA and the EU.
Survey participants are convinced that the recipe for success has already been found. Russian universities need to implement international best practice together with support from the state and be more proactive in their relations with the business community.
The key to modernizing Russian higher education for global companies is real globalization. This process should be linked to current international realities and involve as many of the best Western schools and personalities as possible. It’s time to be more open to trans-border best practices. Projects like Skolkovo should be the first good examples.
“Globalization and new opportunities for cross-border information exchange make it possible for any country to build its own innovative economy,” says Karl Johansson, CIS Managing Partner. “It’s important to leverage strong areas and work on less developed ones. Russia has an outstanding financial and engineering base, but there is still much to do in developing real entrepreneurship in the technology sector. Such projects as Skolkovo can become a real magnet for innovative thinkers of the new era. High technologies brought in by leading international companies and possibilities to interact and network will allow Russian innovative SMEs to come up to modern standards. It’s important in this environment that Russian scientists think like businesspeople. Government support and guarantees plus foreign investments should help them monetize this.”
According to the survey respondents, the modernization of Russian higher education is an ambitious challenge for the near future. It can help Russia become the most attractive country for modern technologies and production. Today only fourteen companies out of twenty-seven are satisfied with the level of graduates and say that graduates meet their staffing requirements.
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About the USRBC
The USRBC (www.usrbc.org) is a Washington-based association representing approximately 250 companies, among them some of the leading firms in the U.S., Russia and Europe. Founded in 1993, its primary mission is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Russia.