RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT REFORM: THE CASE OF KAZAKHSTAN AND UZBEKISTAN
AbstractResearch and Development (R&D) is of high importance for economic growth because it drives technological progress in a society. The governments, therefore, stimulate both government expenditure and private business expenditure on R&D. Despite government measures to catalyse R&D initiatives throughout the globe, the pace of research and development considerably lags behind in Central Asia. We use evidence from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and show that despite having higher R&D capacity in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstani scientists are significantly ahead in the number and quality of publications and patents. We argue that the low productivity of researchers, low incentives for R&D, lack of private R&D investments and inefficiency of research processes has led to low quality innovation, less global impact and unsustainable R&D culture in Uzbekistan relative to Kazakhstan. We propose three policy options to produce high-quality R&D impact: [i] stimulate public- private and international partnerships (i.e. WIUT-UoW partnership, Nazarbayev University and hosting universities) to enable autonomy, internationalisation, mobility and knowledge exchange between industry, government and universities; [ii] carry out business/research process re-engineering in state-owned institutions, including national universities involved in R&D to optimise efficiency and productivity; and [iii] provide tax and financial incentives to stimulate business and academic R&D investments.
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