Falling Student Numbers and Declining R&D Result From Lack of Funds

emerging europe belarus outlook ebrd

Read the Outlook on Belarus special report

.

Andrei Yeliseyeu

About Andrei Yeliseyeu

Andrei Yeliseyeu is an analytical journalist at the Belarusian business portal BEL.BIZ. Previously he was a research fellow at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies. He received a B.A. in International Relations and four Master’s degrees in the fields of European and International Law, Political Science, History and Management from Belarus’ and the Baltic States’ universities.

The National Statistical Committee’s recent data on science and innovation in Belarus is rather disappointing. The number of applications for patents fell from 1933 in 2010 to a mere 691 in 2015. 

Additionally, in recent years the share of high-tech and knowledge-intensive industries in the country’s GDP has remained unchanged: 35.3 per cent in 2010 and 35 per cent in 2014. The knowledge-based GDP even dropped, from 0.69 per cent in 2010 to 0.52 per cent in 2015. In the total volume of goods, the share of exports of high-level medium technology goods fell by more than 2.5 percentage points. 

When they are asked what hinders innovation, Belarusian companies say that it is because of production factors such as a lack of skilled personnel or a lack of information about new technologies. The main, and decisive, factor is that industrial organisations are evaluated as anti-innovation — through their own lack of their funds. As expected, the economy is not in a very good state and the fact that credit is inaccessible inevitably hampers the development of innovation.

The Minsk and Vitebsk regions have the highest shares of innovative companies, 34 per cent and 28.1 per cent respectively, and are way ahead of the other regions. As a comparison, in the Brest region there are 15.7 per cent innovative companies, 16.6 per cent in Mogilev and 12.7 per cent in Gomel. However, interestingly, there are some shining spots on the country’s map: In Verkhnedvinsk (Vitebsk region), Krupki (Minsk region) and Krichev (Mogilev region), the share of innovative products and services exceeds 50 per cent.

Another disturbing trend is the dramatically falling number of students enrolled in universities. In 2010, there were over 100,500 students, but in 2015, the number dropped to 3,100. It is worth mentioning that more foreign students are now studying in Belarus; mainly from other post-Soviet republics. In 2010, there were 9,357 foreigners studying in the country. In 2015, the number grew to 14,594

In general, and due to the demographic situation, the number of students has now dropped for the seventh year in a row and this trend is expected to continue for roughly another seven years if we take into account the number of people aged between 10 and 19. 

Research and development (R&D) is also facing challenges. In total, some 26,000 scientists are engaged in R&D activities — 5,500 fewer than in 2010. One of the reasons for that might be the relatively low wages. In 2015, the average salary was BYN 885, just slightly higher than the country’s average.

Another important factor is that the Belarusian economic model offers quite a low differentiation in wages. Specialists in different professions, with greater work experience and higher qualifications do not receive much more than their counterparts who have more modest achievements. Inevitably, this pushes the leading specialists to emigrate in search of a better life.

But a lower number of students and, as a result, graduates as well as growing emigration means fewer people are engaged in R&D activities, in developing patents and in increasing the level of the country’s innovativeness.

_______________

The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.

RELATED ARTICLES

Bringing Belarus’ Cultural Past to Life for Belarusians and the World

World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

Belarusian Tech Companies Lead a Global Technological Advance in Outsourcing and Product Development

Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally

EY: Belarus’ IT Scene Is Thriving

High tech park minsk

Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy

Belarusian Economy on a Diet to Change its Financial Outlook

Emerging Europe Makes Some Progress on Closing Gender Gap

world economic forum gender gap report

Belarusian Journalists Still Face Huge Problems

Smart, reliable and promising

Will European Business and Institutions Bolster the New Trends That Have Appeared in Belarus?

Belarus Has To Make an Extra Effort To Change Investors’ Perceptions

‘No’ To a Monetary Union With Russia

A Strategic Asset for Regional Growth and Development in the EU

Pier bridge crane and cargo handling cargo trains transported away.

Why Is Belarus Tech Booming?

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

The essence of the Customs Union is protectionism

Despite Public Anxieties, Migration is Playing a Key Role in ECA Growth

Bratislava city aerial panoramic view. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.

Mobilising Private Sector Investment in Belarus, Moldova & Ukraine

IFC

Invest in Belarus: looking beyond politics to the future

Belarus: MOST Builds a Bridge to the Future

Under Promise, Over Deliver: Prospects for the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2018

Eastern partnership

Feel the Vibe of the City of Minsk

Trinity suburb in Minsk (Nemiga) Belarus on 20 May 2017

The EU’s Benign Neglect of Eastern Europe

Using Words to Paint a Picture – Belarus’ Nobel Prize Winning Novelist

Belarus is the most creative EEU country

Lukashenka seeks to avoid commitment to Russia’s geostrategic goals

Putin Urges Belarus to End Oil Transit Through Lithuania

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

Belarus Serves up Some Recipes for Success

Business in Belarus Recipe Book

UK Shores: the New Frontier, a View on a Series of Fortunate Events

Czechs Hold Emerging Europe’s Most Powerful Passport

Belarus Is Making the First Steps onto the International Finance Floor

Is the CEE Region About to Steal the Outsourcing Crown From India?

Amazing view on the Taj Mahal in sunset light with reflection in water. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river. Agra Uttar Pradesh India.

The Shopping Experience Is Set To Go Global in Belarus from 2017 Onwards

Brexit Makes Waves Across the European Union and Beyond

The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

Long-time Neighbours Need to Share Awareness, Plus Trade & Investment

Belarus Refinery Boss Upbeat Despite Challenges

oil refinery

Italy and Belarus: A Relationship Based on Complementarities and History

Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?

The Eurasian Economic Union Fails to Bring Belarus Closer to Big Brother

Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

The UK and Belarus: A Partnership to Introduce the Real Belarus to Europe

Belarus: The Importance Of Diversification

Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to

Belarus Is Where the New Silk Road Heads For Europe

From Denmark to Belarus — A Personal Experience of Business

Breaking trade barriers with CIS has never been easier

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

Central And Eastern Europe At the World Property Market

One Belt One Road: a Big Task for Europe

Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow

The Next Four Months Crucial For the Belarus-EU Relations

PandaDoc — Rolling Sales Procedures Together So Everyone Succeeds

Business Opportunities in Belarus Encourage Outside Interest

The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges

Germany Is Not Letting Belarus’ Small Downturns Put it off Looking for Investment Opportunities

The Country Shows Promise but Needs Some Reforms

Foreigners choose Minsk and Gomel as Belarus’ most attractive FDI destinations

OECD: Belarus Has to Find Its Own Belarusian Model to Emerge

Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Great Stone

Office Space Vacancy is Currently Low but Building Standards Cause Concern

Minsk Belarus - March 23 2017 modern architecture business center Pokrovsky on Pobediteley Avenue editorial

While the EU Makes Plans for CEE China Makes Investments

Nuclear Security Summit In Washington, 2016

The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union

Belarus US Business Relations Thrive as Conditions Improve

Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Donald Trump

Belarus: On the Way to a Market Economy?

Foreign Investors: Belarus Offers Opportunities But Further Improvements Are Needed

FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards

Belarus and the EBRD:
Working to Expand the Country’s Strengths and Success

EBRD Transition Report Highlights Financial Sector Resilience

Baku

Belarus Steps Up Liberalisation of Business

belarus

Winds of Change for Belarus’ Reinsurance Industry?

The Great Stone Industrial Park — Making Doing Business Easy in Minsk

Belarus Is Ready to Begin With Venture Capital Investments

“e-Belarus”: Embracing the Internet and its Possibilities

EBRD Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus 2016

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

HTP: Belarus’ Engineers Are Leading a Cool Revolution

Rolling Sales Procedures Together so Everyone Succeeds

Coworkers

The Reality Is More Interesting Than the Misconceptions

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Or My Personal Experience of Doing Business in Belarus

Belarus Is One of the Top Outsourcing Destinations of 2016

Belarus Introduces New Business-Friendly Auditing Procedures

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 15, 2016: Aerial view of the southwestern part of the Minsk with Palace of Sport and old and new other buildings. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.

Belarusian Economic Recovery May Downgrade Intended Reforms for Competitiveness

The Belarusian real estate market is on the up

Minsk International Airport Widens its International Reach

Belavia

A New Modern Mall Hopes to Draw Belarusians Back to the Home Market

RRY Capital

Slowly, Tech Brand Belarus Emerges

belarus tech

Encouraging SME’s Development Will Help Build Belarusian Economy

The Belarusian Financial Sector: An Industry in the Process of Restructuring

Business Mentors Helping to Solve Business Development Problems First

Portrait of confident business people interacting in the office

Belarus: Changing Old Ideas And Mixing With the New in Belarus’ Export Market

The Proof of a Country’s Readiness to Attract Foreign Investors Lies in the Development of the Insurance Market

New investors interested in Belarus’ Great Stone Industrial Park

IMF Believes State-Owned Enterprises Must Be Reformed

Image of the banknotes of new Belarusian banknotes five rubles put into circulation July 1 2016

Belarus: Navigating the geopolitical storm

Join our networking seminar in London on November 30

The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation

Belarus’ Economy Is Slowly Recovering From Past Declines

More EU Help for Belarus SMEs

GRODNO BELARUS - DECEMBER 13 2013: Seamstress in textile factory sewing with a industrial sewing machine .

Brexit Is a Great Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investors to Belarus

Belarus-Turkey Investment Forum to increase investment and trade between the two countries

High-Tech Park in Minsk is growing rapidly

21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

Innovation Brings Great Opportunities to the Belarusian Economy

Georgia Leads Emerging Europe in Ease of Doing Business Report

Serbia, Belarus and Ukraine Ranked Lowly by Wharton Business School

Kyiv Ukraine - April 172017: The postal square in Kiev on Podol the Dnipro river. view of the square from the river panorama

Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners

Young Well-Paid IT Specialists Are Making Belarus Known Internationally

Emerging Europe and the EBRD host the Outlook on Belarus conference in London

Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success

Emerging Europe to Record Positive Growth Across the Board in 2018

coins growth

Emerging Europe Live: CEE — The Outsourcing Destination

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *