Over half of inventions patented in Russia over the last decade have been created only in 11 cities. A study by HSE ISSEK experts calls these tech hubs ‘technograds’. Here is what they are and what they do.
Eleven cities have been identified as leaders (producing over 50% of all patented inventions in total). They are the domains that make the highest contribution in the national development of new technology:
The list has hardly changed over the last decade, the study authors note. The Russian intellectual property market is stable in this regard, and it is not only the country’s biggest cities that are successful there. Voronezh, Ufa, Krasnodar, and Perm, which have consistently ranked among Russia’s tech hubs in 2008–2016, rank only in the 10th to 20th range by population, while Tomsk ranks 28th in population.
The scholars assessed cities’ patent activity and potential in 35 technology areas, from computer development to consumer goods.
This analysis allowed the researchers to, first, identify the fields to which all or almost all ‘technograds’ contribute, and, second, to study each city’s biggest area of innovative output in particular.
It turned out that there are several ‘mutual’ areas: measurement technology, medical technology, pharmaceutics, and construction. For example, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Tomsk specialize in construction. But this industry ranks highly in the output of the other eight cities, as well. In all, Russia ranks 8th in the world for patents in construction, while it ranks 11th globally for patents in general.
In terms of their biggest types of technological output, Russia’s tech cities fall in three groups:
The wider a city’s technology specialization, the easier it is for that city to achieve diversification and deal with technological crises, ISSEK experts say. Moscow and Novosibirsk show the maximum potential in this regard (with patents pending in a wide range of technology areas).
Almost all areas of ICT (about 50% of all patents pending in Russia in 2014-2016 in this field)
Biotechnology (about 50% of all patents pending)
Microstructural and nanotechnology (about one-third of all patents pending)
Over the last decade, fields such as materials chemistry, semi-conductor development, surface treatment, and coating technology have also rapidly developed.
Optics, measurement, medical and biotechnology; almost all fields of electrical engineering (audiovisual, computer technology, telecommunications, etc).
The main achievements have been made in digital communications, which account for 26% of all patents pending in Russia in 2014–2016.
Measurement technology, fine and organic chemistry, pharmaceuticals, microstructural and nanotechnology.
A wide range of chemical technology fields: food chemistry (over one-fourth of all patents pending in this city), materials chemistry, chemical engineering, fine and organic chemistry.
Chemical and mechanical engineering: engines, pumps, turbines; material and metallurgy; paper and textiles production machines; basic materials chemistry, etc.
From 2014 to2016, patent activity grew in fine and organic chemistry, as well as microstructural and nanotechnology.
A wide range of fields, from digital communications to special machines.
11.5% of Russian inventions in food chemistry and 11% in basic communication processes (specific information exchange technology, such as satellite antennas).
Almost 50% of local patented inventions are related to chemistry. First and foremost, thanks to the RAS Institute of Petrochemistry and Catalysis, 14% of Russian patents pending in fine and organic chemistry are made in Ufa.
New semi-conductors and polymers, fine and organic chemistry, basic materials chemistry.
Third place (after Moscow and St. Petersburg) in the tech city ranking by the number of patents pending in biotechnology.
About 9% of Russian inventions in optics.
Several fields in high tech (IT in management, biomaterials analysis, medical technology, and, in the case of Yekaterinburg, audiovisual, microstructural and nanotechnology), and low tech (materials, metallurgy, furniture, and games).