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Eröcal, Deniz & Igor Yegorov 2021 Countries in the Black Sea basin - UNESCO Sience Report 2021



A review of science, technology and innovation conditions, policies and outcomes in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Turkey, conducted mainly in 2019. Published by UNESCO on 11 June 2021. For the full report, see:
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 323
Chapter 12
Innovation systems not yet driving growth
The countries covered by the present chapter are pursuing
outward-looking economic strategies. Their ratio of exports
to GDP is on a par with the average for middle-income
economies, or higher. In the past four years, however, their
economies have been bueted by protectionist crosswinds
emanating from some of the historically most committed
advocates of globalization. The global recession triggered
by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has injected further
uncertainty into the region’s economic outlook.
In parallel, the principal geopolitical and territorial frictions
that were hampering intraregional co-operation five years
ago persist (Eröcal and Yegorov, 2015).
Despite this, most of the Black Sea countries’, as we shall call
them, recorded some economic growth up to 2019 (Figure 12.1),
even if declining global prices for raw materials had penalized
oil-dependent Azerbaijan directly and Belarus indirectly, owing
to the latter’s high level of economic integration with the Russian
Federation (see chapter 13). In Ukraine, meanwhile, the economy
has gradually picked up since 2015, after contracting sharply
following the deterioration in political and economic relations
with the Russian Federation in 2014.
To generate innovation-driven growth, any economy
needs to get broad framework conditions right, such as
macroeconomic stability, a competitive business environment
and a skilled workforce, in addition to implementing specific
science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. So far, the
modest economic growth of Black Sea countries has been
driven largely by oil (Azerbaijan) and agricultural or low-
and medium-tech exports. Countries are still struggling to
incentivize experimentation, dynamism and the creation of
new knowledge in the economy and wider society.
They can count on a relatively educated workforce but still
need to develop a competitive environment for business in
both national and international markets and an appropriate
policy framework for reaching their Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs).
A lack of preparedness for Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the lack of preparedness for
an emergency on this scale by most national health care systems.
The Black Sea Basin is no exception. With international demand
high, most governments have been competing for imports of
medical supplies to make up for the shortfall at home.
Turkey has, nevertheless, managed to accelerate the
domestic production of masks, medical supplies, drugs and
diagnostic tests. The Turkish Scientific and Technological
Research Council (TÜBITAK) and Ministry of Health are
jointly co-ordinating the nationwide eort by centralizing
the information flow on new research and producers of
essential supplies.
In Ukraine, the epidemiological service was abolished
several years ago; although Ukrainian scientists from the
Institute of Molecular Biology were quick to develop tests, at
the time of writing in April 2020, the government has, so far,
been unable to finance the large-scale production of these.1
Ocially, the level of infection in the region is much lower
than in the USA or Western Europe but it is hard to tell, since
the amount of testing being done is much lower than in other
European countries. In Ukraine, for instance, testing rates were
20 times lower than in Italy in April 2020.2
Governments have adopted dierent coping strategies.
Belarus has barely imposed any travel restrictions at all,
whereas Turkey has blocked nearly all international travel and
imposed a curfew in its most populous regions.
Some assistance has been promised from abroad. For
instance, the European Union (EU) announced a 140 million
package of financial support for its ‘eastern partner’ countries
– Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of
Moldova and Ukraine – in late March 2020.
Sustainable development a daunting agenda?
Although the 17 SDGs may seem a daunting agenda, the
international monitoring framework put in place by the
United Nations could help Black Sea countries ensure that
their policies target their most pressing development
challenges. This monitoring framework is composed of a
range of regular reports, including the present volume, as
well as the United Nations’ High-Level Political Forum on
Sustainable Development, which meets in July each year to
monitor the status of implementation. So far, six Black Sea
countries have produced one or more Voluntary National
Reviews for this forum: Armenia (2018), Azerbaijan (2017
and 2019), Belarus (2017), Georgia (2016), Turkey (2016 and
2019) and Ukraine (2020).
Armenia’s establishment of a National Sustainable
Development Goals Innovation Lab in November 2017,
creating ‘a space for experimentation, collaboration, analytics
and solutions’ to meet sustainability challenges, recognizes
that innovation drives sustainable development.
Turkey, meanwhile, is contributing to SDG17 on
partnerships by hosting the new Technology Bank for Least
Developed Countries in Gebze, inaugurated in June 2018. This
United Nations body is currently undertaking assessments
for several countries of their technology needs and science
systems, in co-operation with UNESCO (Rep. Turkey, 2019a).
12 . Countries in the Black Sea Basin
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine
Deniz Eröcal and Igor Yegorov
Figure 12.1: Socio-economic trends in the Black Sea Basin
Rate of economic growth in the Black Sea Basin, 2010–2019 (%)
High- and medium-tech exports from the Black Sea Basin as a share of manufactured exports, 2017 (%)
Level of economic openness in the Black Sea Basin, 2013–2015 and 2016–2018
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics; World Bank’s World Development Indicators, April 2020
FDI inows
(US$ millions)
R&D funded from abroad
(US$ millions)
Merchandise exports
(US$ millions)
Manufactured exports
(US$ millions)
2013–2015 2016–2018 2013–2015 2016–2018 2013–2015 2016–2018 2013–2015 2016–2018
Armenia 309 281 5.0 4.3 1 495 2 150 326 499
Azerbaijan 3 699 2 923 1.0 0.2 25 518 16 695 620 581
Belarus 1 920 1 333 264.5 357.5 33 330 28 831 15 750 15 610
Georgia 1 502 1 528 3.4 10.6 2 659 2 734 1 206 1 016
Moldova, Rep. 267 163 19.8 6.6 2 245 2 392 782 863
Turkey 15 391 12 840 615.2 970.8 151 084 155 830 118 563 120 039
Ukraine 2 802 2 915 1 281.3 955.6 52 221 42 324 28 875 20 200
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
7.6 Armenia
3.2 Ukraine
1.2 Belarus
3.5 Moldova, Rep.
5.1 Georgia
0.9 Turkey
2.2 Azerbaijan
Armenia UkraineBelarus Moldova, Rep.Georgia TurkeyAzerbaijan
High-tech exports (% of manufactured exports)
Medium-tech exports (% of manufactured exports)
30.7 29.9
2.5 3.8 2.9
5.0 5.1
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 325
Chapter 12
Outward-looking strategies caught in protectionist
cross winds
For the small Black Sea countries, opening up to international
competition remains the most realistic means of enhancing
their competitiveness and re-examining the oligarchic
economic structures that stifle innovation.
However, in the past few years, protectionism has
become more acceptable in both rhetoric and practice
across the globe. A recent report found that ‘the majority
of business leaders believe a political protectionist stance
on innovation would be beneficial to business at a national
level’ (GE, 2018, p. 31).
Trade flows have ebbed in some Black Sea countries and
stagnated in others, as trade tensions have shaken the global
economy. Neither of the regions key trading partners, the
European Union (see chapter 9) and Russian Federation
(see chapter 13), has been spared by the resultant global
economic slowdown since 2017.
The Black Sea region’s outward-looking development
strategies have been caught in these protectionist cross
winds. Inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) have fallen in
all seven countries (Figure 12.1), even if this trend is partly the
consequence of the completion of ambitious infrastructure
development projects in some countries. Examples are the
expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline (2015–2018)
and the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway crossing Azerbaijan and
Georgia, completed in 2017. In Turkey, where most inflowing
FDI takes the form of equity investment in existing foreign
aliates, it is the falling exchange rate that caused inflows of
FDI to dip in 2017 and plummet in 2018.
The most abundant inflows of FDI to Turkey in recent
years have come from within the region. Azerbaijan has
invested heavily in Turkish infrastructure projects, including
a major new oil refinery. In the first quarter of 2019, the
country accounted for 30% of FDI inflows to Turkey
(The Economist, 2018).
Research and development (R&D) funded from abroad
remains relatively high in Ukraine and has risen in Belarus
and Turkey in recent years (Figure 12.2). Future prospects for
foreign funding will depend on greater integration in global
manufacturing networks.
Closer research ties to the EU and CERN
Of the seven, it is Turkey that has the longest-standing
collaboration with the EU’s framework programmes for
research and innovation. However, the last five years have
seen a cooling of relations with the EU, its main scientific
Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, on the other hand, have
recorded modest but tangible advances in their own scientific
co-operation with the EU since becoming formally associated
with its Horizon 2020 programme in 2015–2016 (Figure 12.2).
Ukrainian and Georgian researchers submitted their first
project proposals in 2015 and 2017, respectively, to the
European Research Council (ERC), which allocates competitive
grants for basic research under Horizon 2020.
However, only Turkish scientists have been awarded
ERC grants so far. They have received Advanced and Proof
of Concept Grants for wearable augmented reality three-
dimensional displays, for instance.
The participation of countries associated with Horizon
2020 has, nevertheless, been growing and their success rates
in grant applications are comparable with the EU average of
12.6% for 2014–2016 (Figure 12.2) [EC, 2017c, p. 18].
Turkey and Ukraine have been aliated with the
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) since
the 1960s. Since becoming associate members in 2015 and
2016, respectively, both have increased their participation
in CERN experiments. Although both countries still derive a
fairly low industrial return on their participation, the rate is
Turkey’s participation in industrial procurement increased
from two successful bids out of 21 in 2016 to seven out of 52
in 2018. Sectors concerned included electrical engineering
and magnets, transportation, vehicles and mechanical
engineering and raw materials. Ukraine, meanwhile, has been
awarded industrial contracts relating to: gases, chemicals,
radiation and waste equipment; information technology; and
particle detectors.
Ukraine has a long history of CERN involvement through its
membership of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR),
an intergovernmental institute based in Dubna in the Russian
Federation. Through JINR, the Russian Federation also sends
scientists to work at CERN.
Ukraine operates a Tier-2 computing centre in the
Worldwide Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid
that federates globally distributed resources to process and
analyse the massive amounts of data generated by the LHC
Belarus, the most industrialized of the seven countries,
continues to engage in practical scientific co-operation
with both the Russian Federation and the EU but refrains
from closer institutional integration with the latter. In 2016,
CERN sent Belarus a proposal for an updated International
Cooperation Agreement to replace the one dating from 1994
(CERN, 2020).
In 2015, CERN’s Director of Research signed a Letter of
Intent with Georgia for the establishment of an institute in
Tbilisi that will host a megaproject on particle therapy. The
project is being led by CERN, the Georgian government and
Italy’s National Centre of Oncological Hadron Therapy and its
National Institute of Nuclear Physics (CERN, 2020).
Azerbaijan submitted an application for associate
membership in 2015, which was withdrawn in 2016 following
a restructuring of the Ministry of Communications and High
Technologies (CERN, 2020).
The Republic of Moldova has expressed interest in
exploring collaboration between its own institutes and CERN,
which would be a first for the country.
A timid Action Plan for the region
All but Belarus are members of the Organization of the Black
Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The BSEC’s Plan of Action
on Cooperation in Science and Technology (2018–2020) is the
fourth such plan since 2005 and by far the slimmest volume,
at just four pages long. Under the heading of Joint Projects
Figure 12.2: Trends in research expenditure in the Black Sea Basin
GERD/GDP ratio in countries of the Black Sea Basin, 2008–2018 (%)
Foreign-funded R&D as a share of GERD in the Black Sea Basin,
2012–2014 and 2015–2017 (%)
Note: GERD data are partial for Armenia and there are no data for Georgia for 2006–2012. The 2013 data for Georgia cover only the higher education sector and those for
2014–2017 exclude the business and private non-profit sectors. The data for Ukraine for 2014–2017 exclude some regions.
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Participation in Horizon 2020 by countries from the Black Sea Basin, 2014–2016
Horizon 2020
European Research Council
Start of participation Number of participations Success rate (%) Number of proposals
Grants awarded
Armenia 2016 91 13.2 0 0
Georgia 2016 153 11.1 18 0
Moldova, Rep. 2014 248 12.5 0 0
Turkey 2014 3 854 11.0 152 7
Ukraine 2015 939 8.1 3 0
Note: This table includes the period during which countries participated as a ‘third country’ prior to acquiring EU associate status. Neither Azerbaijan nor Belarus participate in
Horizon 2020.
Source: Horizon 2020 in Full Swing – Three Years On – Key Facts and Figures 2014–2016; presentation by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and
Innovation, December 2017; ERC Funded Projects online; UNESCO Institute for Statistics
0.19 Armenia
0.47 Ukraine
0.61 Belarus
0.25 Moldova, Rep.
0.3 Georgia
0.96 Turkey (2017)
0.18 Azerbaijan
2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
Armenia UkraineBelarus Moldova, Rep.Georgia TurkeyAzerbaijan
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Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 327
Chapter 12
and Activities, it outlines some modest initiatives related
to information-gathering, cross-border co-operation and
digitalization. For instance, the document advocates digitizing
an existing database on member states’ national and regional
research infrastructure (BSEC, 2018).
The Plan of Action appeals to member states to encourage
development of joint international educational programmes
in the field of artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of
Things and the digital and green economy’. It also advocates
promoting scientific research in ocean science, ‘especially
in the context of implementation of SDG14’ on conserving
and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources
(BSEC, 2018).
BSEC activities are ostensibly designed to complement
the EU’s ‘neighbourhood’ co-operation programmes in and
around the Black Sea Basin but they are actually limited in
scope. For instance, the principal focus of EU programmes in
the ‘neighbourhood’ under Horizon 2020 has been on energy
security but the word ‘energy’ is not mentioned in the BSEC
Plan of Action for 2018–2020.
One EU priority is the Southern Gas Corridor. Implemented
under the Commission Initiative on Central and South-
Eastern European Energy Connectivity (CESEC), this project
is extending existing pipelines, in order to transport natural
gas from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Greece,
Albania and Italy, and, thereby, diversify the EU’s sources of
energy. CESEC has a broad mandate spanning electricity,
renewables and energy eciency (Bozatli, 2019).
Closer ties to China
In order to reduce its reliance on a depressed Russian
economy (see chapter 13), Belarus has deepened its economic
ties with China. Since 2017, China has invested in the
development of the Great Stone Industrial Park near Minsk.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) attracted presidential-
level participation from both Azerbaijan and Belarus at the BRI
Leaders’ Forum in April 2019.
Although there has been some debate over the impact of
BRI loans on debt sustainability, an analysis by the Center for
Global Development estimated that the BRI lending pipelines for
Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine posed little risk (Hurley et. al, 2018).
China does not consider any of the seven Black Sea
countries as being among its ‘fast growth research partners’
(UGlobe, 2018), even though one Ukrainian and 12 Turkish
institutions are part of the BRI’s University Alliance of the Silk
Road initiative.
First steps towards tech-intensive economies
Between 2013 and 2017, gross domestic expenditure on R&D
(GERD) declined by 33% in real terms for the six post-Soviet
states taken as a whole but rose by 45% in Turkey.
Currently, only Belarus and Turkey have a research intensity
above 0.5% (Figure 12.2). Although Turkey has fallen short of
its ambitious target of raising GERD to 3% of GDP by 2023,
its own research intensity (0.96% of GDP in 2017) is gradually
approaching the average for upper middle-income countries:
1.57% of GDP in 2017.
Geopolitical developments in Ukraine have taken a heavy
toll on its own research spending. In an inflationary context
that saw consumer prices climb by 117% between 2013 and
2017 and military expenditure as a share of GDP rise by 50%,
according to the Stockholm Peace Research Policy Institute,
research expenditure grew by just 20% in local currency over
the same period.
Figure 12.3: Density of public-sector researchers, publications and citations in the Black Sea Basin,
The size of the bubble is proportionate to the average relative citation rate over 2013–2015
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics; for publications, Scopus (excluding Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences); data treatment by Science-Metrix
Moldova, Rep.
0 500 1 000 1 500 2 000 2 500 3 000
Scientific publications per million inhabitants
Non-business sector researchers per million inhabitants
Figure 12.4: Trends in patenting in the Black Sea Basin
Number of IP5 patents granted to inventors from the Black Sea Basin, 2015–2019
Patent applications and patents in force in the Black Sea Basin, 2018
Number of patents in force Number of patents in force per million inhabitants Patent applications
per 100 billion GDP
(constant 2011 PPP$)
Resident Non-resident Resident Non-resident Resident
Armenia 195 14 66.1 4.7 380
Azerbaijan 199 37 20.0 3.7 116
Belarus 1 674 576 176.5 60.7 340
Georgia 215 957 57.6 256.5 272
Moldova, Rep. 266 67 75.0 18.9 400
Turkey 7 957 60 929 96.7 740.2 371
Ukraine 10 099 13 606 226.3 304.9 607
Note: IP5 refers to the US Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, Japanese Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office and State Intellectual Property
Office of the People’s Republic of China.
Source: PATSTAT, data treatment by Science-Metrix; World Intellectual Property Organization
The availability of R&D data has improved in Georgia but
neither it, nor Armenia, survey business R&D.
In terms of technological activity, Belarus and Ukraine
remain the most productive countries. Turkey has also seen
a rise in high-tech exports but this performance is being
dwarfed by even more impressive growth in exports of low
and medium technology (Figure 12.1).
Turkey has a considerable lead over its neighbours when it
comes to patent applications (Figure 12.4). This may indicate
a quest for technology-based competitiveness in global
markets, although the majority of these patents are for
military-use technologies.
Turkey’s patenting intensity remains lower, however, than
that of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia or Ukraine.
Of note is that non-residents account for few of Belarus’
new patent applications, most probably reflecting the
country’s small market size and lack of association with major
trading blocs (Figure 12.4).
Digital economy seen as enabling growth
All Black Sea countries see the digital economy as a growth
engine. Ukraine adopted a Concept for the Development
of a Digital Economy and Society for 2018–2020 and an
accompanying Action Plan in January 2018. The Concept
64 Armenia
355 Ukraine
54 Belarus
10 Moldova, Rep.
22 Georgia
1 200 Turkey
7 Azerbaijan
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 329
Chapter 12
defines the main priorities as being: digital infrastructure,
development of digital competences, implementation of the
‘digital workplace concept, digitalization of the economy
(including Industry 4.0), public security, education, health
care, tourism, e-democracy, ecology and environment,
cashless payments, e-governance and harmonization with
the EU and international research initiatives. Information
technology (IT) already accounts for more than 40% of
Ukrainian exports in the services sector.
Belarus is also developing its IT sector. The Belarus High
Technologies Park near Minsk, which specializes in IT, has
been given a new lease of life by the Presidential Decree on
the Development of a Digital Economy of 28 March 2018,
which waived almost all taxes for companies registered in the
park for the next 30 years.
Between November 2017 and mid-2019, the number of
resident companies soared from 192 to 505; companies
export their IT products and services directly to more than
70 countries.
In 2018, more than one-fifth (21.2%) of Belarusian
service exports related to IT. The park has also managed
to attract companies and employees from abroad:
2 000–3 000 Ukrainian software specialists are working
remotely on a permanent basis for companies in the Belarus
High Technologies Park, which are deemed to oer better
working conditions than Ukrainian employers.
In 2014, the Armenian government adopted its
e-Governance Strategic Programme. In August 2017, the
government established the Digital Armenia Foundation to
co-ordinate the digital economy. Until it was closed down
in 2018, the foundation was responsible for designing and
administering a statistical monitoring system for the digital
economy; its functions have since been transferred to the
Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information
Technologies, which is expected to design strategies for
comprehensive data collection to support the digital economy.
The readiness of Armenian industry to liberalize mobile
and Internet communication has led to low taris and
widespread Internet-based interaction. Although a number
of sophisticated platforms linking citizens, businesses
and government services have been created,4 the lack of
sophisticated information infrastructure is holding back the
digital economy.
Another diculty is the relatively small size of Armenia’s
internal market for software products and services. Having
greater access to foreign markets would enable the country to
make the most of its highly skilled workforce.
The same can be said for the Republic of Moldova. In
2017, the Ministry of the Economy and Infrastructure
published a report monitoring implementation of the
Action Plan for Digital Moldova 2020. The report noted that,
over the period 2013–2017, investment in the information
and communication technology (ICT) sector had increased
to more than 2 billion Moldovan Leu (ca US$ 100 million)
annually. By 2017, the country’s ICT sector had a market value
of more than 9 billion Moldovan Leu (ca US$ 500 million)
annually, with the most ‘vigorous’ increases taking place in the
markets for mobile telephones and Internet-access services.
Signs of turbulence in the higher education sector
Belarus and Ukraine have tertiary enrolment rates typical of
many advanced economies and Georgia has been able to
reverse the downward trend observed a decade ago.
In Turkey, meanwhile, a phenomenally strong rise in
tertiary enrolment (Figure 12.5) has increased the supply of
graduates with a wide range of skills but their sheer number
has overwhelmed the labour market in recent years: university
graduates made up nearly half of the 18% growth in the number
of unemployed between 2014 and 2016 (World Bank, 2019a).
The volume of scientific publications has climbed in all
countries since 2011 (Figure 12.7), partly due to the inclusion
of more of the region’s journals in international indices. In
the past couple of years, though, Turkish scientific output
has seen a downturn, following the loss of tenure by many
academics in the aftermath of the attempted military coup of
July 2016 (Erdoğmuş, 2019, p. 119). Turkey had significantly
expanded its researcher population over the past decade
(Figure 12.5).
Since 2016, Azerbaijan’s own academic environment has
suered collateral damage from the turbulence in Turkey,
its top partner for scientific co-authorship. For example, the
private Qafqaz University – funded by Turkish sources and
thought to be one of Azerbaijan’s finest – had to be closed
down in 2017, together with its technology park.
A quest for greater energy security
Armenia has been a member of the Eurasian
Economic Union (EAEU) since its inception in 2015 and, in
parallel, remains closely associated with the EU’s Horizon 2020
programme, having signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced
Partnership Agreement in 2017.
Armenian scientists have received 2.5 million in research
grants from Horizon 2020, corresponding to a success rate of
13.5% that is close to the average for association countries.
The research community managed this feat, in spite of the
14% drop (to 4 822) in personnel numbers between 2014 and
2017 (SCA, 2018).
Armenia plans to join the EAEU’s new Common Electricity
Market, due to be launched on 1 January 2025. In a press
release, the Eurasian Economic Commission stated that the
new common market would foster energy security, promote
transparent prices for electricity and allow businesses to
choose from among dierent energy suppliers (EEC, 2019).
Armenia has also been an Observer to the Energy
Community Treaty since 2011 (see chapter 10). Armenia has no
fossil fuel reserves, so imports much of its fuel. Its sole nuclear
power plant is now 40 years old. There are plans to extend the
plant’s lifetime by ten years, at an estimated cost of US$ 300
million (ECS, 2017).
The Armenia Development Strategy for 2014–2025 considers
renewable energy a priority. Armenia is a water-rich country
with two large dams, Vorotan Cascade and Sevan-Hrazdan
Figure 12.5: Trends in human resources in the Black Sea Basin
Researchers (HC) per million inhabitants, 2008–2018
Note: Partial data are available for Armenia and Georgia (business sector not surveyed); for Georgia, data for 2013 (683) and 2014 (1 816) have been excluded as they represent
sharp breaks.
Source: OECD (2016) PISA 2018 Results in Focus; Ministry Of National Education (2018) National Education Statistics Formal Education 2007-2018, Turkish Statistical Institute;
for researchers: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Researchers employed in the Black Sea Basin by sector, 2018 (%)
Trends in secondary and higher education in the Black Sea Basin, 2018 or closest year
PISA 2018 Share of population 25 years and older holding a: Gross tertiary enrolment
ratio (%)
Doctoral graduates
degree (%)
change (%)
change (%)
Total Female (%)
Change in
score since
2017 2017 2018 5-year
2017 2017
Armenia 24.4 -0.04-1 0.31 0.01 54.6 8.8 348 43.4
Azerbaijan 398† 15.7-1 0.06 27.7 6.3 622 52.7
Belarus 471 87.4 -6.1 881 49.4
Georgia 383 (+28) 34.0 3.85 0.51 0.28 60.3 22.4 469 55.4
Moldova, Rep. 428 (0) 20.1+1 1.08 0.15+1 0.09 39.8 -1.5 445 56.9
Turkey 468 (+43) 16.4 3.50 0.42 0.08 109.5 27.8 4 516-3 47.7-3
Ukraine 469 82.7-4 7 417 56.2
† Baku only
-n/+n: data refer to n years before or after reference year
Note: PISA stands for OECD Programme for International
Student Assessment; the OECD average score in 2018 was 489.
2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
1 828
1 676
1 952
2 267
1 511
1 253 1 146 Armenia
1 365 Ukraine
1 883 Belarus
862 Moldova, Rep.
2 718 Georgia
2 598 Turkey (2017)
1 449 Azerbaijan
1 254
1 495
2 402
1 597
16 137
in 2015
14 412
in 2018
Researchers (HC) in Azerbaijan,
the only drop in the region
10 879
in 2018
2 762
in 2014
Georgian researchers (HC), the strongest
rise in the region over this period
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 331
Chapter 12
Cascade.5 The government envisages raising the share of
hydropower from 18% to 26% of the energy mix by 2025
(ECS, 2017; Figure 12.6). Recent legislative changes provide
financial incentives for the development of renewable energy;
the Law on Energy (2001, last amended in 2018) guarantees
the purchase of all electricity generated by renewable energy
sources for 15 years for small hydropower plants and 20 years
for solar, wind, biomass and geothermal (Rep. Armenia, 2018).
The establishment of a revolving fund for energy eciency
retrofits to public buildings based on energy performance,
contracted through the Renewable Resources and Energy
Eciency Fund (2006), has helped to achieve 50% energy
savings in more than 160 public buildings and nine urban
lighting systems (Rep. Armenia, 2018). Armenia is planning
to roll out this financial tool to banks and to upscale public-
sector investment in energy eciency, in line with the
second National Plan for Energy Eciency and Renewable
Energy (2017), which used a template recommended by the
Energy Community Secretariat. The aim is to reduce energy
consumption by 37% (ECS, 2017).
In 2017, the government set up the National Sustainable
Developments Goals Innovation Lab, in partnership with the
United Nations, to draw upon methodologies and expertise
available around the world to accelerate its own reform
agenda. The lab operates from the Centre for Strategic
Initiatives, a public–private partnership which facilitates
dialogue between policy-makers, private and public
stakeholders and international partners.
In December 2014, the government approved new broad
development priorities for 2015–2019, most of which mirror
earlier research priorities. Of note is the replacement of the
reference to ‘renewable and new sources of energy’ (Eröcal
and Yegorov, 2015) by ‘secure and ecient energy’. The
other new priorities are: Armenian studies; life sciences;
key enabling technologies and ICTs; space, Earth sciences,
sustainable use of natural resources; and basic research
for key problems tied to scientific and socio-economic
Reaching out to business
Armenia’s research intensity accounted for just 0.19% of
GDP in 2018 (Figure 12.2). This ratio has remained stable for
the past few years, even though, in absolute terms, research
expenditure was 20% higher (AMD 14.3 billion, or ca
US$ 29.9 million) in 2018 than in 2014.
The following national funding mechanisms, implemented
by the State Committee of Science, aim to stabilize and
diversify research funding (Arzumanyan, 2019):
core funding: the main source of financing for state
research organizations, accounting for about 70% of the
total science budget;
thematic (project-based) funding: distributed on a
competitive basis; and
goal-oriented (targeted) project funding.
Established in 2010, the Targeted Projects Programme
innovated in 2018 by issuing a call restricted to research
projects that involve both research institutes and industrial
partners, whereby the latter are obliged to contribute at least
15% of project funding.
Further to the Law on the National Academy of Sciences
(2011), which authorized this body to develop business
activities (Eröcal and Yegorov, 2015), the National Academy
of Sciences set up an Applied Projects Department in 2017 to
help its 35 aliated research institutes and centres promote
technology transfer and the commercialization of research
outcomes. A package of around 40 innovative research
projects has been collected from the Academy’s research
institutes for presentation to government agencies and
possible investors for further commercialization, out of which
around 10 projects relate to environmental research and
climate change.
This is significant, since the National Academy of Sciences
is currently the country’s main performer of research. The
Academy’s International Scientific and Educational Centre
conducts a range of graduate and postdoctoral practical
training courses in tandem with the Academy’s own aliated
institutes and centres.
Established in 2016, the Foundation of Armenian Science
and Technology is a private initiative. The foundation runs
programmes supporting young talent, entrepreneurs and
technological start-ups primarily specializing in data and
computer science, biotechnology and advanced materials.
Since 2013, the government has supported several so-called
‘system-forming’ projects. One such project is the Centre for
the Advancement of Natural Discoveries using Light Emission
(CANDLE) in Yerevan. CANDLE is a third-generation synchrotron
light source for basic and applied research which also provides
services to industry (UNECE, 2014).
Another newcomer to Yerevan is the European Centre
of Nuclear Medicine, which opened its doors in November
2019. It has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment to
provide radioactive iodine therapy for thyroid cancer, which
is prevalent in Armenia and the wider region. This is the first
such facility in Armenia (Badalian, 2019).
Figure 12.6: Distribution of electricity generation
capacity in Armenia, 2015 (%)
Source: ECS (2017)
Renewable sources
(excluding hydropower)
Figure 12.7: Trends in scientific publishing in the Black Sea Basin
Volume of scientific publications from countries in the Black Sea Basin, 2011–2019
Scientific publications in the Black Sea Basin by field of science, 2017–2019 (%)
A grading system to stimulate research excellence
In November 2019, the State Committee of Science announced
the introduction of a new grading system for the evaluation
of research institutes, as well as a broader set of performance
Henceforth, research institutes will be divided into four
categories. Those that fall into the fourth group will be immediately
closed or merged with other institutes. The third group will be given
a few years to improve its performance. Research institutes in the
top two categories, meanwhile, will receive not only core funding
but also bonuses for scientific output.
Research institutes will continue to be judged on the basis of their
scientific publications, participation in conferences, patents and
awards but the committee will also pay attention to factors such as
the number of degree-holders among researchers, the number of
young scientists (up to 35 years) and the number of applied projects.
An acute form of Dutch disease
Azerbaijan has made a concerted eort in recent
years to diversify and link its non-oil economy to the rest of the
0% 20% 40% 60% 80%10% 30% 50% 70% 90% 100%
Agriculture, fisheries & forestry Animal & plant biology Built environment & design Chemistry Cross-cutting strategic technologies Engineering
Environmental sciences (excl. geosciences) Geosciences Health sciences ICTs, maths & statistics Physics & astronomy
102 16 7 2 17 131 302
26 9 2 17 921 502
17 13 9 93934 932
26 26 10 131431 232
2 18 6 271 171 397
2116 15 9 72 222 222
354 23 21241 325
Moldova, Rep.
8 093
1 678
1 230 Armenia
13 649 Ukraine
2 275 Belarus
460 Moldova, Rep.
1 174 Georgia
43 245 Turkey
1 303 Azerbaijan
2012 2014 2016 2018 20192011 2013 2015 2017
9 397
1 679
36 308
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 333
Chapter 12
How has output on SDG-related topics evolved since 2012?
Output on SDG-related topics is modest in relation to total output
but there has been noticeable growth in hydrogen energy (Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Turkey), hydropower (Georgia, Turkey), the status
of biodiversity and ecosystem services (Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine) and
medicines and vaccines for tuberculosis (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova).
The Republic of Moldova’s output on the latter topic was even four
times the global average proportion, with 25 (2012–2015) and 43
(2016–2019) publications.
Georgian output on national integrated water management surged
from 1 (2012–2015) to 38 (2016–2019) publications. Belarus doubled its
output on photovoltaics to 68. Azerbaijani scientists published their first
11 articles on human resistance to antibiotics between 2016 and 2019.
Ukrainian output on radioactive waste management was 2.3 times the
global average and grew by 130%: 65 (2012–2015) to 86 (2016–2019)
For topics with over 100 publications, Ukraine registered the fastest
growth in sustainable transportation (460%), wastewater treatment,
recycling and use (360%), smart-grid technologies (340%) and the
sustainable use of ecosystems (280%) but output was still less than half
the global average.
Turkey’s output on geothermal energy was 2.5 times the global
average (130% growth rate): 184 (2012–2015) to 246 (2016–2019)
publications. Eco-industrial waste management was the fastest-growing
(180%) topic and on a par with the global average: 172 (2012–2015) to
301 (2016–2019) publications.
For details, see chapter 2
Scientific publications per million inhabitants, 2011, 2015 and 2019
Data labels are for 2019
Share of foreign co-authors in Belarus,
Georgia and the Republic of Moldova in
2019, the highest proportion in the region
Average of relative citations for
Azerbaijan, 2014–2016, the highest ratio
in the region; the G20 average is 1.02
Share of foreign co-authors in
Turkey in 2019, the lowest
proportion in the region
Oly Azerbij cuts
nher 'Bl S'
cutry mong ts
lose partners.
1st collaborator 2nd collaborator 3rd collaborator 4th collaborator 5th collaborator
Armenia Russian Fed. (1 338) USA (1 188) Germany (1 076) France (1 037) Italy (1 008)
Azerbaijan Turkey (895) Russian Fed. (831) USA (518) Germany (505) China (455)
Belarus Russian Fed. (2 687) Germany (1 121) Poland (1 105) USA (998) France (961)
Georgia USA (1 175) Germany (1 026) UK (928) Russian Fed. (913) Italy (891)
Moldova, Rep. Germany (266) Romania (264) Russian Fed. (223) USA (146) France (115)
Turkey USA (9 132) UK (4 453) Germany (4 279) Italy (3 785) France (3 121)
Ukraine Poland (3 961) Russian Fed. (3 583) Germany (2 794) USA (2 532) France (1 881)
Top five partners for scientific co-authorship in the Black Sea Basin, 2017–2019 (number of papers)
Source: Scopus (excluding Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences); data treatment by Science-Metrix
world, focusing in particular on infrastructure, as evidenced
by its completion of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway and its
2019 participation in discussions on the Belt and Road
Initiative at the presidential level.
However, it has not yet surmounted its principal economic
challenge of ending heavy dependence on energy extraction
and exports: as of 2017, the oil sector still accounted for 43%
of GDP and 91% of exports (EIU, 2019; OEC, 2019).
The government’s objective of steering Azerbaijan towards
a technology- and innovation-driven economy has not been
realized, either (Rep. Azerbaijan, 2009). Measured research
expenditure continues to stagnate at around 0.2% of GDP
(Figure 12.2); the absolute number of researchers is down 11%
from 2015 levels, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics;
and per capita high-tech exports – stagnating at US$ 1 – have the
lowest value among the Black Sea countries (Figure 12.1).
Azerbaijan is suering from an acute form of ‘Dutch disease.
The fall in oil prices since 2014 has caught the country o
guard. Despite a flurry of policy activity, the non-oil sector
in Azerbaijan has not seen a resurgence. Moreover, a brief
rebound in oil revenue over 2015–2017 has not aected the
national poverty rate (World Bank, 2018a, p. 44).
G20 average: 452
20172007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 033
759 758
Student admissions
A renewed drive to embrace tech-based growth
However, there are distinct signs of a renewed policy drive
to embrace tech-based growth. In 2016, the year in which
Azerbaijan’s investment rating was downgraded by S&P
and Moody’s, two presidential decrees established Strategic
Roadmaps for the National Economy and Main Economic
Sectors with detailed sectoral policy and institutional targets
to foster innovation in the non-oil economy.
This was followed by the founding of the Agency for
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in December 2017,
tasked with business incubation and support for innovation.
The government’s emphasis on business creation and
competitiveness is reflected in Azerbaijan’s improved
rankings in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index
since 2015.
In January 2019, the government passed a Law on
Education entitling universities to receive research funding
from the private sector; it also introduced a package of
corporate tax breaks enabling companies to deduct up
to 10% in return for funding ‘the development of science,
education, health and culture’.
The renewed focus on technology is also reflected in the
establishment of an Innovation Agency in November 2018
through the merger of the State Fund for Development of
Information Technologies and the High-Tech Park Limited
Liability Company (both established in 2012) under the Ministry
of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. The
agency is expected to provide direct support in the form of
venture capital to innovative businesses, including start-ups.
New bodies include an e-Government Development Centre
(since December 2018) and a Department of Innovative
Development and e-Government Issues within the Presidential
Administration (2019).
Figure 12.8: Doctoral admissions and degrees at Azerbaijani universities, 2007–2017
Note: Data cover both PhDs and Doctor of Science degrees.
Source: State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan (online)
Grassroots initiatives for tech start-ups
There are numerous grassroots initiatives promoting tech-
based start-ups and the institutions that can support them,
such as technology parks.
Yeni Fikir (New Idea) is a start-up competition backed by
the Baku Engineering University and sponsored by British
Petroleum; since 2016, it has secured support for 100 projects
and provided 35 of these with incubation services.
Initiatives supported by the Korea International
Development Agency, such as the Smart Bridge or the
Promotion of Digital Government, are striving to enhance
technology transfer, university–business collaboration and
the capacity to survey e-governance needs; Smart Bridge
provided 60 academics and business representatives with two
weeks of training in August 2019, for instance.
The principal issue with initiatives such as these, in addition
to the limited impact conferred by their modest scope, is that
their focus on promoting technology uptake grabs attention,
even as activity generating science and innovation directly
remains limited.
Universities focused on teaching
As underlined in the previous edition of the UNESCO Science
Report (Eröcal and Yegorov, 2015), the key problem for basic
science resides in the inability of Azeri universities to expand
PhD enrolment and scientific output to any significant extent
(Figures 12.7 and 12.8).
The World Bank (2018a) notes that Azeri universities still
focus on teaching, with research management being left to the
National Academy of Sciences, a legacy from the Soviet era.
Universities, thus, derive little sustained income from
intellectual property and technology transfer. Indeed, the
former Director of Qafqaz University Technology Park,
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 335
Chapter 12
Dr Isa Qasimov, told the present authors, in a phone interview
in August 2019, that ‘university technology transfer oces
perform little in the way of actual commercialization of
research’ and that, ‘at the institutional level, universities lack a
clearly defined commercialization process.
Academic reward systems are often blamed for not
incentivizing universities to make links with the business
world but the World Bank (2018a) notes that several Azeri
universities have introduced successful incentive mechanisms
for commercially viable research; this is largely thanks to an
astute use of internal funds and the willpower of individual
rectors, including those of three public institutions, the
Azerbaijan State University of Economics, ADA University6 and
Baku State University. The task for these universities will now
be to link these individual eorts to the wider quest for policy-
and institution-building.
Fluctuating research intensity and ageing
Belarus has been a member of the Eurasian Economic Union
since its inception in 2015.
It is one of the region’s most technologically productive
countries, even if it did slip from 53rd to 79th place in the Global
Innovation Index between 2015 and 2019. This slide suggests
that Belarus would benefit from building closer ties with
neighbouring EU countries, in order to support economic
modernization and broaden its market for endogenous
GERD amounted to 0.6% of GDP in 2018, falling short of
government targets (Figure 12.2) [Shumilin and Gusakov,
2018]. In its Action Plan to Achieve a Safe Level of National
Security for 2016–2020 (2016), the government lowered
its sights for domestic research spending from 1.2% of
GDP in the National Strategy of Sustainable Socio-Economic
Development to 2030 to 1% of GDP by 2030.
A green economy prioritized by the development strategy
Since the National Strategy for Sustainable Socio-Economic
Development to 2030 was adopted in February 2015, seven
months prior to the Sustainable Development Goals, its
priorities are not directly aligned with The 2030 Agenda.
The National Strategy does, however, promise a structural
and institutional transformation incorporating the principles
of the ‘green’ economy and according priority to the
development of high-tech industries and services to improve
competitiveness and quality of life.
The National Strategy outlines plans for industrial
innovation clusters and for a shift towards sustainable
production and consumption patterns through the eective
management of renewable and non-renewable resources and
behavioural change.
It also prioritizes regulating the market and supporting
local initiatives and an ‘eective structure of ownership’
to make the public administration system more eective.
By 2030, 2–3% of GDP is to be spent on the environment
(Meerovskaya, 2016).
In 2017, the government established the Institute of the
National Coordinator to pilot the implementation of the
SDGs, appointing Vice-Prime Minister Marianna Shchetkina
to lead the institute. Members of the Council for Sustainable
Development have also been designated from dierent
ministries and state agencies.
The National Statistical Committee has prepared a set
of 255 indicators to assess progress towards each of the
country’s SDG targets. In 2018, Belarus ranked 23rd out of 156
countries in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development
In 2017, the government adopted a National Programme
for the Development of Innovation for 2016–2020 to improve
Belarus’ innovative performance across 16 main indicators.7
One measure sets out to reduce the economy’s energy
intensity by 0.8% over 2018–2019. By the end of the current
five-year programme on innovation in 2020, it is expected
that most of these measures will have been implemented.
A plan to foster innovation
Since 2015, the government has been reforming the national
innovation system. By 2018, the authorities had issued more
than 90 legal acts directly or indirectly relating to R&D. Several
were issued by the president, such as those relating to the
salaries of employees of state research organizations, support
for the digital economy, protection of intellectual property
rights and improvements to the special legal regime of the
new Chinese–Belarusian Great Stone Industrial Park.
In one presidential decree, the government declared
2017 the Year of Science. The main event of the year was the
Second Congress of Scientists of Belarus on 12–13 December,
attended by the president. The Congress concluded with
the adoption of a long-term programme to accompany the
Science and Technology Strategy, 2018–2040 developed by the
National Academy of Sciences.8
The purpose of the Science and Technology Strategy is to
identify a set of priorities and related policy tools. The strategy
is based on Intellectual Belarus, the country’s economic
blueprint, and comprises the following aspects:
full-scale digitalization of the economy;
development of a neo-industrial complex (New Industry
2040); and
establishment of a ‘highly intelligent society’ (Society of
Intelligence 2040).
Consolidating existing funds for more effective
The State Programme for Innovative Development over
2016–2020 aims to kick-start new industries that are critical
to Belarus’ development, including high-tech industries and
the services and export sectors. By 2018, 86 projects had been
financed and 19 of these had already arrived at their term.
In 2016, no fewer than 25 innovation funds were being
co-ordinated by various public administrations and other
state institutions. The government decided to combine
these disparate funds into a single Republican Central
and Innovation Council (RIC) was created in 2015 to enhance
interministerial co-ordination. It is chaired by the prime
Having no budget of its own, RIC relies for operational
support on Georgia's Innovation and Technology Agency
(GITA), which dates from 2014 and counted 35 employees
as of 2017. The Law on Innovation (2016) called upon the
government to formulate a state policy on innovation and
established RIC as the central co-ordinating body for its
More than 80 research priorities
These initiatives follow the government’s broader Socio-
economic Development Strategy of Georgia – Georgia 2020.
This document instructs GITA to develop instruments to
fund R&D in the business sector and provides a medium-
term framework to guide STI policy, in a language inspired
by international best practice; it advocates ‘fostering
science–industry collaboration’, for instance, and ‘promoting
The absence of a clear priority-setting mechanism for
public support of STI in Georgia has been highlighted (State
Audit Oce, 2014). The European Commission highlights
the ‘extreme fragmentation’ of the research and innovation
system, which is steered by over 80 research priorities (or de
facto no prioritization at all)’ [EC, 2018, Table 3].
Reliance on European research partners
Coming on the heels of the association agreement signed
with the EU in 2014, Georgia’s accession to the Horizon 2020
programme as an associate member in 2016 is a feather in the
cap of the country’s science diplomacy.
Other measures, such as the visa waiver for short-term visits
to the Schengen area, can only further facilitate international
scientific contacts. This waiver will not, however, grant access
to the UK, which was not part of Schengen and has now left
the EU. The UK had been the top destination for grants from
the European Research Council.
Georgia’s modest research enterprise remains reliant
on foreign funding sources. Some 834 research projects
active in Georgia are funded partially or entirely by the
International Science and Technology Centre hosted by
Kazakhstan, or its sister organization, the Science and
Technology Centre in Ukraine; by the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO); the Civilian Research and
Development Foundation, which has oces in the USA,
Ukraine and Jordan; the International Association for
the Promotion of Cooperation with Scientists from the
Independent States of the Former Soviet Union; and the
EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and
Innovation (2007–2013), cumulatively representing
US$ 73.5 million (IncrEAST, 2016).
Closer international ties have not fostered
However, the institutional rapprochement with Europe
contrasts with the stagnant volume and declining overall
share, between 2008 and 2018, of Georgia’s merchandise
Innovation Fund. The consolidated fund actually functions
as a state agency, receiving finance from the state budget
and operating in conjunction with seven local funds. Some
10% of income tax contributions goes towards the fund.
In addition, the fund has a mechanism for redistributing
unused funds.
Local funds are financed by contributions from corporate
taxes, paid to local budgets in seven provincial centres
(oblasts) and the City of Minsk. Projects are selected for
funding on a competitive basis, with 30–40 million per year
being sourced for innovative projects.9
A need to rejuvenate the research pool
About one-third of researchers with doctorates are
approaching retirement age. This raises concerns about the
availability of qualified researchers in the near future. To tackle
this challenge, the government has fixed the target of raising
the number of researchers from 16 900 to 20 100 between
2015 and 2020. If past practice is anything to go by, the
government will probably reach this target by augmenting
the number of vacancies at selected research institutes and
recruiting through a competitive process.
Policy-makers will also need to focus on rejuvenating
personnel at research institutes and improving the quality
of postgraduate studies. In 2017, there was an increase in
research personnel for the first time in eight years, after a loss
of more than 20% over the same period (SCB, 2019).
Building on its strengths, albeit slowly
Georgia stands out from other post-Soviet
states in several ways. For one thing, agriculture still employed
four out of ten citizens in 2018, according to the World Bank,
even though this traditional sector remains unproductive,
generating just 7% of GDP.
Georgia also has a stronger record for market-oriented
reforms than its neighbours. It ranks 7th in the World Bank’s
Ease of Doing Business 2020 Study and 16th in The Heritage
Foundation’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, making it the
region’s most liberal economy (World Bank, 2018b).
Georgia’s Free Trade Agreement with China came into eect
in January 2018.10 Georgia also benefits from a preferential
trade regime with the EU, thanks to its association agreement,
known as the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area
Agreement (2016).
Most urgent policy issues being addressed
Recent years have seen modest, yet tangible eorts to address
some of the urgent policy issues highlighted five years ago
(Eröcal and Yegorov, 2015), most notably in the areas of
data availability, policy direction and coherence, as well as
linkages with European scientific networks. Annual GERD
data for Georgia are now available (Figure 12.2), for instance,
although the business and non-profit sectors have not yet
been surveyed.
Georgia’s research and innovation governance framework
is largely decentralized and non-interventionist. The Research
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 337
Chapter 12
exports to the EU. A similar trend is observed when it comes
to exports to the USA, which is also actively cultivating
linkages with the country.11
Broadly speaking, foreign ties through science appear to
be poorly connected to Georgia’s economic competitiveness
and trading relationships with the rest of the world. Almost
all foreign R&D stems from foreign governmental sources,
which are not necessarily focused on enhancing the
competitiveness of Georgian economic entities (IncrEAST,
2016, p. 14).
This said, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade
Agreement includes financial and technical assistance
mechanisms to give Georgian small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) better access to EU markets.
This assistance has enabled the creation of the Georgian
ICT Cluster, a platform for dialogue between government
policy-makers and the nascent ICT industry.12 Support
has also taken the form of the Adaptation Programme –
Support for SME Competitiveness in Georgia (2015–2019),
implemented through the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development, and the Better Business Sophistication
in Georgia project (2019–2023) targeting exporting SMEs,
implemented by the German development agency GTZ.13
A growing government research effort
Georgia’s research and innovation infrastructure and
spending have grown since 2013, albeit modestly. USAID
(2017) estimates that Georgia’s technology sector accounted
for around 6% of GDP in 2015, of which ‘ICTs constitute 90%’.
Biotechnologies have also been identified as a dynamic
area in Georgia. Pharmaceuticals produced in the country
were valued at US$ 80 million in 2015, about half of which
were exported (USAID, 2017).
Despite the presence of innovation-driven activity, actual
reported GERD remained stagnant at around 0.3% of GDP
between 2015 and 2017 (Figure 12.2).
The Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation remains
the main government funding agency for R&D. Over
the period from 2006 to 2017, the foundation’s support
amounted to around US$ 62 million (USAID, 2017, p. 57),
within striking distance of the US$ 74 million received from
foreign sources over the same period.
Government expenditure on civilian R&D grew by 110%
in local currency between 2013 and 2016, even as military
research expenditure fell by 15% to settle at 32% of overall
government research funding. Government expenditure on
R&D essentially consists of direct support; tax incentives are
not used in Georgia, in line with EU recommendations for
‘transition economies’ migrating from centrally planned to
market economies (EC, 2018, p.94).
When the Georgian Statistics Agency Geostat surveyed
business R&D for the first time in 2016, it estimated it to be
worth GEL 396 million (ca US$ 134 million) – 87% of which
was spent on the acquisition of machinery and software –
but withheld release of the publication owing to concerns
over the quality of the survey (USAID, 2017, pp. 57–59). The
agency’s voluntary admission of this shortcoming may be an
indication of its transparency.
Reinforcing the STI base requires education reform
Of Georgia’s 10 879 researchers in 2018, 93% worked in higher
education, a sector suering from low pay and limited appeal.
The average age of academic sta is 56, with 30% being older
than 65 years (EC, 2017a).
The European Commission notes that little R&D is being
performed at private universities, even though these account
for 55 out of 75 Georgian universities (EC, 2017a, p. 28).
If Georgia is to embark on a development path driven by
science and innovation, which its lack of natural resources and
low recent productivity would tend to encourage, it will need
to institute a major overhaul of its higher education system
and improve the inward mobility of researchers. International
comparisons in the OECD’s Pisa 2015 Results in Focus and the
Global Innovation Index (2019) reveal quality issues at both
secondary and tertiary levels of education (Figure 12.5).
The government’s recent strategic documents recognize
the need to connect the university system with development
needs: unemployment is highest among university graduates
and youth unemployment is highest among graduates of
technical secondary schools (Rep. Georgia, 2014, Figure 8).
The government recommends improving universities
attractiveness through large-scale initiatives. These include
the Study in Georgia programme, designed to attract foreign
university students, and the University City of Kutaisi, which
the government plans to turn into the largest campus in the
Caucasus (Rep. Georgia, 2016, p. 34).
Scientific reform part of European
For the Republic of Moldova, reforming its science system is part
of a broader policy of integrating more closely with Europe.
The Republic of Moldova participates actively in Horizon
2020, having submitted no fewer than 422 applications by 2019
with a respectable success rate of 13.6%. It has some research
potential in agriculture, chemistry and IT but also faces hurdles
when it comes to exploiting this potential. An evaluation of
its research sector by the Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility
identified the following weaknesses (EC, 2016):
insufficient research funding, with inadequate attention
being paid to this sector in state and sectoral development
inefficient research and innovation, with fragmentary
implementation of research results;
a dearth of researchers and a low proportion of young
people among research personnel;
outdated research equipment and a lack of access to
international research infrastructure;
a mismatch between the priorities of public-sector research
and the needs of domestic firms;
low levels of business R&D; and
relatively weak participation in international projects.
The Academy of Sciences of Moldova has developed
a Strategy for the Development of Science to 2020. This
document outlines five key objectives, most of which deal
with the issues identified by the European Commission
(Perchinshi and Turcan, 2015):
development of human, institutional and infrastructural
identification of new research priorities;
promotion of dialogue between science and society,
dissemination of knowledge and commercialization of
research results;
internationalization of research and closer integration with
the EU research area; and
introduction of a research management model based on
the principles of efficiency and competitiveness.
The Strategy for the Development of Science to 2020 makes
provision for raising the GERD/GDP ratio to 1.5% of GDP by
2020. One of the strategies for boosting this ratio is to develop
closer university–industry ties by multiplying the number of
scientific co-publications between the business sector and
academia and developing a joint information system for
evaluating research projects.
In order to rejuvenate the research pool, the strategy
recommends attracting more foreign researchers and
encouraging people to complete tertiary education. The
strategy has fixed a number of targets to 2020, including
raising the percentage share of (Perchinshi and Turcan, 2015):
30–34 year-olds completing tertiary education to 32%
(20% in 2016);
20–24 year-olds completing tertiary education to 78%
(60% in 2016);
employees in skills training programmes to 15%;
graduate students in engineering to the average level of EU
countries in 2020; and
young researchers to at least 40% of the research pool.
The country’s advocacy of closer university–industry ties
is laudable but, since universities remain mainly learning
institutions, they themselves would benefit from closer
integration with the Academy of Sciences, which has some
key research institutes.
Changes in R&D management
Since the Law on the Introduction of Changes to the Existing
Laws of the Republic of Moldova (#190) of 21 September
2017, a number of reforms to science governance have been
For instance, the National Research and Development
Council has been established as an advisory body to the
prime minister on related government policy. The council
ensures communication and co-operation between the
main organizations involved in the development and
implementation of policies in this area.
In addition, science funding has been broken down into
core research funding for organizations and their subsidiaries,
used to cover running expenses such as sta salaries,
competitive funding and joint research funding for
public–private partnerships.
The National Agency for Research and Development has
been established to co-ordinate the competitive process
of selecting, evaluating and funding scientific research
programmes and development projects. The agency operates
in partnership with ministries, the Academy of Sciences and
the Rectors Council.
The Academy of Sciences has been empowered to ensure
that academic departments and institutes organize internal
and public examination of research projects and their results.
Certification and regulatory frameworks have also been
introduced to encourage vocations in science among the
young, together with means to evaluate their eectiveness.
In September 2019, the Republic of Moldova finalized
preparations for its National Programme for Research
and Innovation for 2019–2022, prepared with the help
of Romanian and Austrian experts. This programme has
been proposed within the framework of the European
Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information
Exchange Instrument (TAIEX), which helps public
administrations to enforce EU legislation and share the EU’s
best practices.
In a middle-of-the-road-innovator trap?
Turkey is the only country analysed in the
present chapter that has seen both substantial economic
growth and a modest rise in research intensity since 2015
(Figures 12.1 and 12.2).
This said, research spending does not correlate directly with
indicators on innovation output such as growth in economy-
wide productivity or in the export of high-tech products.
The economy’s growing competitiveness is still being driven
primarily by medium and low technology (Figure 12.1).
In 2015, we observed that businesses in Turkey ‘have
not grasped the government’s helping hand’ in support
of technological development and innovation (Eröcal and
Yegorov, 2015). This remains the case. Recent firm-level
evidence shows that Turkey’s technology-intensive firms carry
out little R&D relative to their size.14
This picture contrasts sharply with the state’s strong
emphasis on supporting innovation. For instance, tax breaks
for technology-intensive firms grew three-fold in local
currency between 2015 and 2018, according to the Turkish
Statistical Institute. Public discussion on innovation among
Turkey’s business elite and media has also been broadly
positive (GE, 2018).
New developments, old problems
In 2017, business-funded R&D exceeded that funded by the
government and higher education sectors combined, for the
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 339
Chapter 12
first time, although most business-funded investment goes
towards military and dual-use technologies. For instance,
the leading Turkish firm for the number of patents is the
principal military industry conglomerate Aselsan; it owns 54%
of all resident patents, compared to just 17% for the leading
patent-owner in Israel, Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEPAV, 2017).
The Turkish Exporters Assembly has reported that defence
and aerospace was the leading sector in terms of export
growth in the first five months of 2019, according to a press
release by the Anatolia Agency on 5 June 2019.
A growing share of business-funded R&D is being driven
by tax incentives, the sectoral composition of which is
determined by the government. A 2018 business opinion
survey found that, in Turkey, ‘multinationals are driving
innovation, while large enterprises [have] also gain[ed]
momentum since 2014’ (GE, 2018).
However, this trend mainly concerns innovation in
manufacturing, which is open to competition largely thanks
to the Customs Union with the EU in eect since 1996.
Research funding from abroad has, indeed, progressed to
about 3.5% of total research spending in 2017, up from
2% in 2015. Most well-known global corporations have
been present in Turkey for decades. As of 2017, the top
250 enterprises in Turkey in terms of research expenditure
included Ford (3rd), Mercedes (9th) and Siemens (17th)
[Turkishtime, 2018].
The prevailing sentiment in academic circles, however, is
that there is a mismatch between the level of public support
for innovation and the amount of innovation in the economy.
This sentiment is shared by Prof. Hasan Mandal, the head of
TÜBITAK, who notes the insuciency and lack of focus of
public support given to development ‘from prototypes to
production’. He admits that there has been an ‘insucient
connection of R&D eorts to the needs of final consumers and
needs analyses’ (Mandal, 2018).
More importantly, firms in the services and construction
sectors, which accounted for 63.5% of GDP in 2018, remain
largely shielded from competition. Even those that treat
innovation as an afterthought remain profitable. They can
aord to ignore the government’s support programmes for
R&D and manufacturing-focused innovation.15
The low returns that researchers can expect for their eorts
are impeding the development of the national innovation
system. Although patent applications by Turkish inventors
have been growing, as have granted patents, available
evidence suggests that inventive activity in Turkey is largely
disconnected from global collaboration networks. For
example, TÜBITAK’s own analysis confirms that foreign actors
approach Turkish institutions within the framework of Horizon
2020 projects without any discernible logic or pattern when
it comes to seeking partnerships (Yildirim, 2018). Patent data
on information technologies corroborate the analysis that
Table 12.1: Turkey’s achievements and targets for the economy, research and broadband, 2012–2023
Variable (unit) Base value Tenth Development Plan
(2014–2018) target
Value in 2018 or
closest year
Plan (2019–2023)
2012 2018 2023 2018 2023
General targets
GDP per capita (current PPP$) 20 640 28 205 37 423
Employment rate (% of population of working age) 47.4 50.8
Merchandise exports (US$ billions) 152 277 500 168 227
Share of Turkish products in global trade (%) 1.0 1.5 1.0
Share of high-tech products in exports (%) 3.2 5.8
Share of high- and medium-tech products in exports (%) 36.4 44.2
Targets for R&D
GERD/GDP ratio (%) 0.86 1.80 3.00 0.96-1 1.8
Share of GERD performed by business (%) 43.2 60.0 66.7 56.9-1 67.0
GERD performed by business as a share of GDP (%) 0.37 1.08 2.00 0.55-1
Expenditure by SMEs as a share of total GERD (%) 19.6-1 25.0
Researchers (FTE) 82 122 176 000 300 000 111 893-1
Researches in business sector (FTE) 35 034 180 000 62 305-1
Share of researchers (FTE) employed in private sector (%) 55.7-1 67.0*
Researchers with a PhD per million inhabitants 323-1 863
Triadic patent applications (number) 35-2 167 39 -4
Turkey's global rank in new patent applications 13 10
Broadband targets
Mobile broadband penetration rate (% of population) 74.5 100.0
Fibre broadband penetration rate (% of population) 3.4 11.5
* Defined as the private sector’s share
Note: Triadic patents are those submitted simultaneously to the European, Japanese and US patent offices for the same invention.
Source: Eröcal and Yegorov (2015); Rep. Turkey (2019b); WTO (2019) World Trade Statistical Review; UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Turkey’s involvement in international collaborative networks
is limited.
Scientific productivity has also been a casualty of the loss
of tenure by many academic research sta and the sharp fall
in applications for university research projects in 2016, in the
aftermath of the attempted coup of July 2016 (Erdoğmuş,
2019, p. 119). For the first time since 2002, output declined
by 5.2% between 2016 and 2018. Publications continue to
exhibit low international co-authorship and citation rates
(Figures 12.3 and 12.7).
Meanwhile, tertiary enrolment has grown rapidly. To
accommodate this new influx, no fewer than 30 universities
were founded between 2016 and 2019, 20 of which are public
institutions. By 2018, the gross enrolment ratio was 109.5%
(Figure 12.2), and the number of doctoral students had risen
by 22% to 95 100 since 2015 (Erdoğmuş, 2019, p.126).
However, the unemployment rate among university
graduates increased from 10.3% in 2008 to 12.7% in 2017.
Just 2% of university entrants study natural sciences or
mathematics, statistics and computer science in Turkey,
compared to an average of 6% and 5%, respectively, in other
OECD countries (Erdoğmuş, 2019, p. 101).
The pursuit of science and innovation in Turkey continues
to be a largely government-driven endeavour. The heavy
focus on defence-related capabilities is not likely to generate
a significant spillover to the rest of the economy. The
principal recommendation in the previous UNESCO Science
Report (Eröcal and Yegorov, 2015) remains valid and pressing.
It called for Turkey to ‘interconnect better the dierent
players in the Turkish innovation system to make the whole
more coherent: scientists, universities, public laboratories,
large or small enterprises, non-governmental organizations
and so on.
Diversifying the energy mix for greater security
Turkey’s Eleventh Development Plan (Table 12.1) identifies
energy storage as being among critical technologies requiring
careful government study; it includes numerous targets
Between 2009 and 2019, the number
of geothermal power plants in Turkey
shot up from 3 to 49. This corresponds
to a geothermal capacity of 1.5 GWe,
placing Turkey fourth in the world for
this indicator after the USA, Indonesia
and the Philippines, according to the
Turkish Energy Market Regulatory
In the past decade, Turkey has drilled
more than 1 000 geothermal wells in
Western Anatolia (Kaya, 2017). Thanks
to this extensive experience, geologists
have managed to drill wells as deep
as 4 500 m in the Büyük Menderes
Graben, an active rift basin in western
Turkey with great geothermal potential
that is about 140 km long and up to
14 km wide.
Geothermal exploration has
accelerated since the adoption of the
Law on Geothermal Resources and
Natural Mineral Waters in 2007. This
law gave potential private partners
the necessary confidence to invest,
eliminating some of their concerns
with regard to legislative, technical and
administrative hurdles. For instance,
the law reduced the number of
licenses to two.
In parallel, the Renewable Energy
Support Scheme of 2010 introduced a
new feed-in tari (US$ 0.105 per kWh)
guaranteeing companies a purchase
price for the energy they generated
at a fixed rate for ten years. Investors
are currently waiting for news of the
new feed-in tari from 2021 onwards
before renewing their commitment to
geothermal power production in Turkey.
The European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development has also supported
the development of geothermal
energy financially to accompany the
decarbonization of Turkey’s economy.
Turkish geothermal power
companies have participated in the
EU’s Horizon 2020 programme through
consortia. This has enabled them to
interact with technology providers
and operating companies in Europe,
in particular. Two of these big-
budget, multidisciplinary projects are
Geosmart and GeoPro. The Turkish
hydro-electric power company, Zorlu
Energy, has received around
3.5 million from Horizon 2020
through its participation in six
research projects.
Source: compiled by Füsun Servin Tut Haklidir,
Department of Energy Systems, Istanbul Bilgi
Box 12.1: How Turkey became a role model for geothermal energy within a decade
Figure 12.9: Breakdown of Turkey’s primary energy supply by source,
2012 and 2018 (%)
Source: International Energy Agency (
(117.6 mtoe)
(145.9 mtoe)
Coal Natural gas Oil
Wind, solar, geothermal, etc.Biofuels and waste
29.4 28.5 31.7 4.2 3.0
29.6 28.8 28.2 3.5 7.8
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 341
Chapter 12
for greater energy eciency but refrains from establishing
specific goals (Rep. Turkey, 2019b).
The government has been diversifying the country’s
energy mix in an eort to reduce Turkey’s high dependency
on imports of fossil fuels from Eurasia and the Middle East,
where political tensions are aecting the supply chain. The
contribution of hydropower has plateaued in the face of
natural barriers, prompting the government to turn to wind,
solar and geothermal sources. Between 2012 and 2018, their
share in Turkey’s primary energy supply rose from 3% to
8% (Figure 12.9). Geothermal energy has become a major
contributor to Turkey’s energy mix (Box 12.1).
A massive infrastructure project may get under way soon.
In February 2020, the Turkish Ministry of Transport and
Infrastructure approved the zoning plan for construction of a
shipping canal designed to bypass Istanbul’s busy Bosporus
Strait (Box 12.2).
A smaller share of innovative firms
Ukraine is going through a trying period. The
frozen conflict in the east of the country and annexation
of Crimea in 2014 have cost the country about 15% of its
research potential (UKRStat, 2019).
The economic crisis of 2014–2016, during which GDP
dropped by 13% (in current international PPP$), according to
the World Bank, sent the country’s research intensity to an all-
time low in 2018 (Figure 12.2). In the past four years, the share
of innovative enterprises in industry has fallen by more than
one-fifth (UKRStat, 2019).
Although the frozen conflict has exacerbated the situation,
systemic problems related to research and innovation have
developed over many years in Ukraine to the point where
quick, inexpensive solutions will no longer suce.
For instance, over the 2014–2018 period, science was
one of 66 priorities outlined in the National Programme
for Development. All of these priorities were formulated in
isolation, without a proper analysis of potential in other areas.
In 2018, the Ministry of Education and Science initiated
preparatory work for a new foresight-oriented project to
formulate priorities in S&T policy but adequate financial and
organizational resources had not been provided by early 2020
to take the project forward.
Impetus for change
Ukraine’s desire for a rapprochement with the EU has provided
impetus for change. Although hopes were high that the
association agreement with the EU signed in June 2014 would
open the country to a vast new market,16 substantial growth
and diversification in exports have not materialized. Agricultural
products, ferrous metals and basic chemicals, which provide little
added value, remain the country’s key exports.
Moreover, rapprochement with the EU may have weakened
Ukraine's ties to Russian and post-Soviet markets, to which it
has traditionally exported manufactured goods.
As of March 2020, 239 Ukrainian establishments had
participated in the Horizon 2020 programme. The country’s
success rate for grant applications (9.2%) is lower than the
average for Associated Countries, which stands at 13.9%.
In 2016, the European Commission launched a Peer Review
of the Ukrainian Research and Innovation System to provide
Ukrainian authorities with external advice and operational
recommendations on potential reforms.
The review highlighted the need to optimize available
policy instruments, internationalize research and integrate
Ukraine into the European Research Area. According
to the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, these
recommendations are being implemented (Ministry of
Science and Education, 2017).
As a result, Ukraine is participating in the European
Innovation Scoreboard, where it figured at the bottom of the
Innovation Index in 2019. With the exception of indicators
related to education, it performs well below the EU average.
Following a complete revamp in 2016–2019, two
approaches are now being used in the public sector to
evaluate research bodies. The first approach uses qualitative
assessments and analysis against selected quantitative
indicators: number of research papers, patents, participation
in international conferences, etc. In 2017, the National
Academy of Sciences started using this approach based on
the experience of the German Leibnitz Association.
In February 2020, the Turkish Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructure approved
the zoning plan for construction of
a shipping canal, in order to bypass
Istanbul’s busy Bosporus Strait. A tender
for the project is to be launched by the
end of 2020.
For Turkey’s central government,
the 45 km-long canal is necessary to
relieve the growing (+29% since 2006)
maritime trac in the Bosporus: 613
million tonnes of shipping in 2018,
one-quarter of which concerned oil
delivered primarily by Russian tankers.
This congestion has led to waiting times
of up to 30 hours for the larger ships.
For its detractors, the project is of
dubious financial and technical feasibility,
with a potentially severe environmental
impact on the fragile ecosystems of
the Marmara Sea and the inshore
lagoons and lakes which provide the
metropolis of 16 million inhabitants with
its freshwater supply (see, for example,
Dogan and Stupar, 2017; Kundak and
Baypinar, 2011).
The project will be a testing ground
for anticipatory policy-making. For
instance, should the world move
decisively away from fossil fuels in the
coming decades, the problem of trac
congestion in the Bosporus Strait
will dissipate, removing one of the
justifications for the canal.
Source: compiled by the authors
Box 12.2: Kanal Istanbul: a testing ground for anticipatory policy-making
The second type of evaluation uses transparent procedures
to assess research projects and programmes implemented
by research institutes. The government has begun involving
foreign experts in evaluation processes.
A sweeping reform of the legal framework
Since 2015, the government has reformed the management
of the national innovation system. The State Agency for
Science, Innovation and Information has been abolished, with
the transfer of all functions related to policy formulation to
the Ministry of Education and Science, although a number
of other ministries and agencies also allocate state money to
specific activities.
Ukraine’s legal framework was substantially modified in late
2015 with the adoption of new laws reinforcing institutional
support for the national innovation system. The Law on
Scientific and Technical Activities (2015) places the National
Council for Science and Technology Development under the
control of the Cabinet of Ministers. The council is tasked with
ensuring the eective co-operation of representatives from
the scientific community, state agencies and the business
sector in the preparation and implementation of related state
In addition, the National Fund for Research (2015) has
replaced the State Fund for Basic Research, which was
subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Science. The new
fund’s key function is to provide competitive grants for basic
and applied research. The fund is also mandated to support
experimental development and innovation in priority areas.
The new legal framework is expected to play an important
role in transforming Ukraine’s public academies of science,
especially the National Academy of Sciences. It has paved
the way to involving ordinary scientists in the election of
academies’ governing bodies; it has also placed constraints on
academies’ membership and top positions.
Additionally, public research institutions now have the legal
right to co-found commercial companies and to take part in
the formation of their share capital.
A number of other key legislative acts relating to science,
innovation and science parks were under revision in 2020.
However, the eective implementation of legislative acts remains
the Achilles heel of Ukraine’s science and innovation policy.
A special high-tech office
One outcome of reform will be the creation of a special High-
Tech Oce within the government to stimulate high-tech
industries, especially in the expanding ICT sector. In 2020,
business associations, along with government experts, were
preparing the legal groundwork for the establishment of this
oce. The growth of Ukraine’s ICT sector is reflected in the
depth of its exports of related services, which now account for
more than 40% of total exports. Ukraine’s success in this area
is tied to its relatively large pool of specialists.
Ukraine has been implementing key elements of its
e-governance strategy since 2015. One outcome is ProZorro,
an electronic system for public procurement, established in
2016–2018. Early signs indicate that ProZorro has helped to
reduce corruption in the attribution of government contracts.
Environmental sustainability still elusive
Ukraine’s 2020 Voluntary National Review on its progress
towards the SDGs oers a candid analysis of the state of
the environment. Although greenhouse gas emissions and
environmental pollution have diminished, it states that this
was ‘largely due to the economic recession’ (Ministry for
Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, 2020).
The size of Ukraine’s forested areas and nature reserves
and national parks has grown, with 4% of land area and 3%
of marine area protected, according to the World Database
on Protected Areas. However, the Voluntary National Review
notes the poor quality of surface water – 70% of which is
not potable – and the ‘little or no progress [made] in the
energy sector, especially in terms of energy eciency and
renewable energy’.
One interesting development has been the installation
of a solar power plant in 2018 in Chernobyl, the site of the
world’s worst nuclear disaster (see Box 24.1).
In July 2019, the Ukrainian parliament voted to limit the
scope of green taris (preferential electricity rates) oered by
local utilities to households operating small private power
stations. The green taris had attracted foreign investment
but pushed up the price of electricity for consumers.
In July 2020, parliament adopted a law reducing taris
by 7.5% for wind farms and by 15% for solar parks, in an
attempt to balance the interests of 'green' and traditional
energy producers.
In 2019, just 2% of energy production in Ukraine came
from renewable sources, according to the Voluntary National
Review. This figure excludes hydropower, which accounted
for a further 5% of energy generation.
Limited rewards for innovation
The Black Sea countries face a range of structural
challenges. The historically strong tertiary education and
science systems of the six post-Soviet countries are waning,
hampered by restrictive political and economic structures
that limit the rewards for innovation. This is the case even
in Georgia, which has taken the boldest steps to improve its
business environment.
Turkey, on the other hand, benefits from a pluralist
business environment17 able to reward innovation but its
tertiary education and science systems are beset with quality
There is the additional resource curse. When global
markets for raw commodities boom, they provide dazzling
returns to Azerbaijan and, to a lesser degree, to Ukraine,
where the two main pipelines for Russian gas traverse the
country’s territory on their way to export markets. This
natural advantage has, so far, disincentivized a genuine focus
on technology- and innovation-driven experimentation.
In Belarus, meanwhile, development is constrained by the
traditional orientation towards the Russian market, which
still endures today.
In each of the seven countries, there remains a need
to combine the dierent ingredients of their respective
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 343
Chapter 12
innovation systems so that they reinforce and complement
one another as an integrated whole. This is especially so, in
view of the flurry of new science laws and policies surveyed in
the present chapter, which have not yet delivered the desired
outcome for most Black Sea countries.
A narrow international focus
The prevailing focus on dovetailing with European structures
and networks provides a useful framework for reform but it
comes at the expense of keeping abreast of developments in
comparable economies worldwide. Even within the region,
the Black Sea countries do not appear to perceive each
other as close scientific and economic partners, or even as
competitors. The Belt and Road initiative, which is connecting
the region with China’s more pragmatic and business-
oriented economic culture, may prove to be an eye-opener
for Black Sea countries, despite concerns about the initiative’s
eectiveness and geopolitical implications.
Cross-border co-operation and science diplomacy has
been largely confined to engagement with the EU and EAEU.
The main regional co-operation body, the Organization
of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, seems to have no
greater ambition than to maintain elbow contact between its
members. The current Action Plan for Science and Technology is
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each individual Black
Sea country to establish meaningful and achievable targets
for STI-driven development, to improve their ability to
measure progress towards those goals and to deepen
co-operation with one another.
Creativity thrives on intellectual independence
The Black Sea countries must embrace the fact that fostering
STI-driven development through government policy also
requires them to promote political and economic freedoms and
experimentation in business, research and in society at large.
The UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific
Researchers, adopted unanimously by UNESCO member states
in November 2017 and, thus, also by Black Sea countries,
establishes scientific freedom of expression as a basic right
and calls for a process to measure and monitor scientific
freedom (see essay on p. 24).
The Recommendation could serve as guide for the
countries to review their practices, beginning with the
current dependency of their national academies of science
(and universities, in some cases) on executive political
power. We have seen in the preceding pages that Ukraine
has taken some steps recently to strengthen the intellectual
independence of its own national academy.
In sum, the seven countries analysed in the preceding
pages still face the fundamental challenge of combining STI
policies with economic and societal framework conditions
that make the pursuit of technology and innovation profitable
for non-state actors. There are some success stories, as we
have seen, which are all the more commendable for having
emerged in a deteriorating climate for international
co-operation and investment.
Belarus’ new target for its GERD/GDP ratio of 1% is to be
reached by 2030.
The Republic of Moldova aims to raise the share of
‘young people’ in its researcher population to 40% by
Turkey is to rise to 10th place in global rankings for the
number of new patent applications by 2023, up from
13th in 2018.
The share of expenditure by SMEs in Turkey’s overall
GERD is to reach 25% by 2023, up from 19.6% in 2017.
Ukraine aims to raise the share of competitive research
funding to 20% of the state budget for research by 2022.
Deniz Eröcal (b. 1962: Turkey) is an independent consultant and
researcher who works on policy and economics in the sphere of
science, technology, innovation and sustainable development.
Prior to this, he worked for the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD), where he held several
positions, including that of Advisor in the Oce of the Director
General. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations
from Johns Hopkins University (USA).
Igor Yegorov (b. 1958: Russian Federation) is Deputy Director
at the Institute of Economy and Forecasting, which is part of the
National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. Prof. Yegorov
has had a long career at the Academy; he received his PhD in
the Economics of Science, Technology and Innovation from the
Academy in 2006, being appointed a professor in 2015 and a
Corresponding Member in 2018. Prof. Yegorov has been involved
in various European Union-sponsored projects on economics,
science, innovation and technology in Ukraine.
The authors wish to thank Prof. Emmanuel Tsesmelis from CERN for
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Committee of Azerbaijan.
TEPAV (2017) Türkiye’de ileri teknolojiyi kimler geliştiriyor? (Who
is developing advanced technology in Turkey?) Policy Brief.
Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, January.
Turkishtime (2018) AR-GE 250 (R&D 250): 2017 Report [in Turkish].
UGlobe (2018) Presentations from the University of Oxford Seminar,
The New Silk Road: Implications for Higher Education and
Research Cooperation between China and Europe, 1 October.
UKRStat (2019) Statistical information. State Statistical Service of
UNECE (2014) Innovation Performance Review of Armenia. United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe: Geneva.
Countries in the Black Sea Basin | 345
Chapter 12
USAid (2017) Innovation and Technology in Georgia - Annual Report:
2017. The United States Agency for International Development:
Washington, DC.
World Bank (2019a) Europe and Central Asia Macro Poverty Outlook:
Country-by-country Analysis and Projections for the Developing
World. 2019 Spring Meetings note.
— (2019b) Country Economic Memorandum: Firm Productivity and
Economic Growth in Turkey.
— (2018a) Azerbaijan: The Role of Higher Education in Innovation.
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FY19-FY22, April 25.
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Presentation, 23 March, slide 3.
1 See:
2 See: and
3 A CERN Council decision of June 2018 defined the industrial return coecient
as the ratio between a member state’s percentage share of the value of all
supply contracts and the proportion of the CERN budget contributed by
the said member state over the same period. A return coecient equal to or
greater than 1.00 indicates that a member state is ‘well balanced’. Ukraine’s rate
was 0.81 for the period 2019–2020, compared to 0.70 for Turkey. This places
them in 12th and 17th place respectively, out of CERN’s 30 member states
and associate member states. Both countries showed improvement since the
previous year, when Ukraine achieved a coecient of 0.25 and Turkey 0.51.
Turkey’s coecient could reach 0.87 in 2020–2021.
4 These include, a hub for services and information relating
to tax filing, procurement notices and legislation, and,
a platform for business registration.
5 In 2018, Armenia published its first Satellite Water Account System, which
provides comprehensive data on the extent and use of existing water resources
(Rep. Armenia, 2018).
6 ADA University resulted from the merger, in January 2014, of the Azerbaijan
Diplomatic Academy and the Information Technologies University.
7 This programme was adopted by presidential decree on 31 January 2017.
See (in Russian):
8 The National Academy of Sciences is still Belarus’ largest scientific organization.
In 2017–2018, it employed 32% of researchers and 57% of researchers with
scientific degrees.
9 See:
10 China exported US$ 757 million worth of mainly manufactured goods to
Georgia in 2017, compared to US$ 209 million in Georgian exports to China,
most of which (72%) consisted in copper ore, according to the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s Observatory of Economic Complexity.
11 See: UN Comtrade Database,
12 See:
13 See:
14 See the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboards for 2013–2018.
15 Interview with Mr Ussal Sahbaz, CEO of the Centre for Economics and Foreign
Policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul; see:
16 The Association Agreement paved the way to more active scientific
co-operation with EU countries through the Horizon 2020 programme.
The trade-related prong of this agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive
Free Trade Area, has been provisionally applied since January 2016.
17 The system of oligarchic ownership of a country’s productive economic assets
does not exist in Turkey, which has a competitive business environment.
 rce yars, h regios moe conom grw hs be
rive y trs her h hnloy n innovtio. Cutries
ar t trugling to icetiviz xerimettio, dnmim n h
crtio f new nwledg i h conomy n wier city.
Oly Blarus n Turkey se mr h 0.5% f GP o resar n
vlpme i 2018. Blarus n Ukrin rmi h regios mo proutiv
cutries i erms f hnlogc tivty.
Cutries nw view h digt conomy n enery scurty s prirty strs r
A b Blarus ar dovtling w Eur truures n ntwrs to furher
heir vlpme agend. wver, harmoniztio w E progrmmes rmins
w, s des itraregion co-ertio vi h Orgniztio f h Bl S
Econom Coertio.
Sver cutries ar vlping loser ties to Chin vi ts B n Roa
Employees of software development services provider N-iX work in the company's Lviv office. Eighteen information technology
companies operating in Ukraine have made it onto the list of the 100 best tech firms in the world, according to the 2018 listing
by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals. © N-iX
The race against time
for smarter development
Published in 2021 by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France
© UNESCO 2021
ISBN: 978-92-3-100450-6
This publication is available in Open Access under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)
license ( By using the content of this publication, the
users accept to be bound by the terms of use of the UNESCO Open Access Repository (https://en.unesco.
org/open-access/terms-use-ccbysa-en). The present license applies exclusively to the text content of the
publication. For the use of any material not clearly identified as belonging to UNESCO, prior permission
shall be requested from: or UNESCO Publishing, 7, place de Fontenoy,
75352 Paris 07 SP France.
Suggested citation: UNESCO (2021) UNESCO Science Report: the Race Against Time for Smarter Development.
S. Schneegans, T. Straza and J. Lewis (eds). UNESCO Publishing: Paris.
The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country,
territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The ideas and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors; they are not necessarily
those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.
Design, typeset, data visualization and pre-press production:
Baseline Arts Ltd, Oxford, United Kingdom
Cover design: Eric Frogé, UNESCO
Cover photo: A medical operator hands a box of Covid-19 test samples collected from rural hospitals to
a drone flight operator at Zipline’s distribution centre in Omenako for delivery to the Noguchi Memorial
Institute for Medical Research in Accra, in this composite image.
© Zipline International Inc.
Printed in France
Foreword xx
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
The shifting landscape for scientists: a collection of essays 1
What the Covid-19 pandemic reveals about the evolving
landscape of scientific advice 3
Peter Gluckman and Binyam Sisay Mendisu
Covid-19: from crisis management to sustainable solutions 9
Eric D’Ortenzio, Evelyne Jouvin Marche, Oriane Puéchal,
Inmaculada Ortega Pérez and Yazdan Yazdanpanah
The time for open science is now 12
Ana Persic, Fernanda Beigel, Simon Hodson and Peggy Oti-Boateng
Scientific literacy: an imperative for a complex world 17
Susan Schneegans and Shamila Nair-Bedouelle
The integration of refugee and displaced scientists
creates a win–win situation 20
Peter F. McGrath and Edward W. Lempinen
Global standards now exist for a healthy ecosystem
of research and innovation 24
April Tash
Global trends 29
01: The race against time for smarter development 30
Susan Schneegans, Jake Lewis and Tiffany Straza
02: Are we using science for smarter development? 78
Tiffany Straza and Susan Schneegans
03: To be smart, the digital revolution will need
to be inclusive 108
Alessandro Bello, Tonya Blowers, Susan Schneegans and Tiffany Straza
Contents | ix
A closer look at countries and regions 137
04: Canada 138
Paul Dufour
05: United States of America 152
Nicolas Vorontas, with Brennan Hoban and Connor Rabb
06: Caricom 180
Alison S. Gajadhar and Ishenkumba A. Kahwa
07: Latin America 200
Gabriela Dutrénit, Carlos Aguirre-Bastos, Martín Puchet
and Mónica Salazar
08: Brazil 234
Hernan Chaimovich and Renato H. L. Pedrosa
09: European Union 254
Luc Soete, Sylvia Schwaag Serger, Johan Stierna and Hugo Hollanders
10: Southeast Europe 290
Djuro Kutlača
11: European Free Trade Association 308
Hans Peter Hertig
12: Countries in the Black Sea basin 322
Deniz Eröcal and Igor Yegorov
13: Russian Federation 346
Leonid Gokhberg and Tatiana Kuznetsova
14: Central Asia 366
Yerbol Suleimenov
15: Iran 394
Shuan Sadreghazi
16: Israel 408
Daphne Getz
17: The Arab States 422
Esra Eisa Aleisa, Abdelkader Djeflat and Moneef Zou’bi
18: West Africa 466
George Essegbey, Almamy Konté, Natewinde Sawadogo and Willie Siyanbola
19: Central and East Africa 496
Ann Njoki Kingiri and Charles Awono Onana
20: Southern Africa 534
Erika Kraemer-Mbula, Gussai Sheikheldin and Rungano Karimanzira
21: South Asia 574
Athar Osama, Sohan Prasad Sha and Seetha I. Wickremasinghe
22: India 604
Sunil Mani
23: China 622
Cong Cao
24: Japan 640
Mari Jibu and Yoshiyuki Osabe
25: Republic of Korea 662
Deok Soon Yim and Jaewon Lee
26: Southeast Asia and Oceania 674
Don Scott-Kemmis, Patarapong Intarakumnerd, Rajah Rasiah
and Ranasinghe Amaradasa
Annexes 717
Annex 1: Composition of regions and sub-regions 718
Annex 2: Broad fields of science 721
Annex 3: Glossary 723
Annex 4: Background information on bibliometric study
of research trends on selected topics related to
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
(see also chapter 2) 727
Annex 5: Technical and methodological note 733
Annex 6: Statistical annex (only available online)
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Comprehensive report on the situation with climate change research in Armenia
  • T Arzumanyan
Arzumanyan, T. (2019) Comprehensive report on the situation with climate change research in Armenia. Unpublished UNDP report.
First-ever nuclear medicine center opens in Armenia
  • Susan Badalian
Badalian, Susan (2019) First-ever nuclear medicine center opens in Armenia. Azatutyun, 8 November:
Plan of Action of the BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Science and Technology. Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation: Istanbul
BSEC (2018) Plan of Action of the BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Science and Technology. Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation: Istanbul.
The Black Sea Basin in 2019
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Bozatli, H. (2019) The Black Sea Basin in 2019. EU Political Report.
Support to Development of a Policy Framework on Total Factor Productivity Project -Green Paper. Project supported by the EU and Turkish Government. Ministry of Development
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Çağlar, E. and E. Koyuncu (2018) Support to Development of a Policy Framework on Total Factor Productivity Project -Green Paper. Project supported by the EU and Turkish Government. Ministry of Development: Ankara.
Specific Support to Georgia -Improving the Effectiveness of Georgia's Research and Innovation System through Prioritisation, Selectivity of Funding and Science-Business Links
EC (2018) Specific Support to Georgia -Improving the Effectiveness of Georgia's Research and Innovation System through Prioritisation, Selectivity of Funding and Science-Business Links. Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility. European Commission: Brussels.