Closing the Ukrainian innovation gap

Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland are innovation leaders according to the 2008 Summary Innovation Index for EU27 countries, while Turkey, Bulgaria, and Latvia lag in innovation.

See UNECE

Ukraine was not part of this study, however, Anatoli Poruchnik and Irina Brykova (Kyiv National Economic University) published a study in 2006 where they calculated the innovation index for Ukrainian regions for the 2003-2004 period based on the EU Regional Innovation Scoreboard methodology.

The final scores are not really actionable; more interesting are the individual components of the scores, as improving on individual factors can better the overall competitiveness.

Factors important for innovation are:

  1. share of population with college-level education
  2. share of population continuing its education
  3. share of population employed in high-technology manufacturing and services
  4. government expenditures on R&D
  5. private expenditures on R&D
  6. number of patents
  7. share of businesses involved in innovative activities
  8. sales of innovative products and services

Using Department of Statistics' data, researchers calculated the indexes for all oblasts (provinces). The city of Kyiv and the Kharkiv oblast were on top of the list, while Zhytomyr, Kyiv oblast, Volyn, and Chernihiv were at the bottom of the rankings. The innovation scores were low even for the leaders. Kyiv's score in 2004 was 0.09, while the country-wide score for Bulgaria in 2008 was 0.22.

The reasons for this lackluster performance were lacking state financing of R&D, low levels of innovative products and services, infrequent patent registrations, and low employment in high-tech sectors. Although many Ukrainians gain college degrees, they often lack the skills demanded by modern innovative businesses.

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