Manchester Institute of Innovation Research Innovation Co-Lab

  • 23 November 2017
  • 11.30 - 13.00
  • Citylabs 1.0


SEMINAR: Uncovering the roots of “technological optimism”: paradoxes of attitudes towards technologies in Russia compared to other European nations

Alexey Gusev (Russian Venture Company) and Victor Vakhstein (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences)

This seminar focuses on the results of a sociological study of attitudes towards science, technologies and innovations recently conducted in Russia. The research was a part of the Eurobarometer series and provides results that are comparable with other European.

We find that Russians (along with some other Eastern European nations) generally have more positive attitudes towards science and new technologies despite a lack of respective infrastructure and policy measures in their countries. Yet, according to the survey, attitudes to specific “disruptive” innovations like driverless cars and AI are more conservative.

Social, regional and cultural preconditions of this phenomenon will be discussed, as well as policy implications relevant not only for Russia and Eastern Europe but also other countries. The research also sheds light on attitudes towards technologies and economic behaviour, including entrepreneurial behaviour.

Alexey Gusev (PhD in Sociology) is Director for Ecosystem Development at the Russian Venture Company (RVC). RVC is the largest venture fund in Russia and one of the key players in Russian innovation ecosystem development. RVC is responsible for private-public programs to develop high tech sectors of the Russian economy, including the National Technology Initiative to supporting fast-growing companies in unmanned transportation, neurotechnologies, digital healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and other high technologies. RVC’s Department of Ecosystem Development is responsible for collaboration with universities, research organizations and regional institutions supporting innovations. 

Dr Gusev is a board member several venture capital funds in Russian regions and is deputy chair of the department of hi-tech entrepreneurship at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technologies. He has authored multiple articles on higher education and the role of universities in innovation ecosystem.

Victor Vakhstein (PhD in Sociology) is the Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, head of the Center for Sociological Research at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and honorary fellow at the University of Manchester (2013-2016).

His research interests include science and technology studies, urban sociology, sociology of education, and social epistemology. Professor Vakhstein has participated in research projects commissioned by the World Bank, the OECD, the OSCE, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and a number of European universities. He is the current head of the long-term monitoring project “Russian Barometer” (2012-2017).