Russian Defense ministry designs formula to assess innovations


The Main Research Department of the Russian Defense Ministry designed a formula to assess the uniqueness of innovative inventions. It has coefficients to calculate the value of a product: compliance with basic critical technologies, scientific and technical novelty, and the ability to repel future potential threats. Products with high potential will receive marks ranging from 0.8 to 1. A low potential will be ranked from 0 to 0.3. Experts believe the approach is necessary, but will hardly ensure objectivity, as humans will assess the coefficients, the Izvestia daily writes.


Russian Defense ministry designs formula to assess innovations
During Army-2019 in the Patriot Park, near Kubinka, Kalashnikov displayed several innovations at the prototype stage (Picture source: Army Recognition)


The assessment formula is stipulated by the order of the defense minister on the criteria to list goods, works and services as innovative and high-tech products. The document is being agreed. The explanatory note said technologies and products which can repel security threats to Russia should be listed as innovative products of the military-defense complex. The innovations should promote the design and production of the latest available products. The approach relates to suppliers of goods and materials, as well as subcontractors engaged in activities for the defense ministry. It will make budget appropriations more effective and support defense enterprises and counteragents possessing advanced technologies.

The Defense Ministry is already using similar assessment while signing contracts with enterprises, expert Vladislav Shurygin said: "The mathematical approach helps select truly innovative arms. It means vital projects are financed. Dozens and hundreds of enterprises are engaged in the production of a tank or a combat vehicle. Their financial state depends on the arms procurement order. It means the system protects the producers as well".

The formula will have several coefficients to be mathematically calculated. In particular, the design, materials and functions will be assessed. Compliance with critical technologies approved by the Military-Industrial Commission will be taken into account. Another important coefficient is the ability to repel future military threats, e.g. weapons capable of downing hypersonic missiles.

A high coefficient will go to products which expand characteristics of weapons and raise them to a new level compared to available Russian analogues. Specific coefficients will be used to compare products with world analogues, determine science intensity and possibility to introduce the innovation into production. Sales effect will be also taken into consideration. Preference will go to products which ensure future economic and technological effect and are beneficial for civilian or dual-purpose production and can boost the development of industries.

Each of the above-mentioned features can be evaluated from 0 to 1. Thus, in comparing products to world analogues, the top mark will go to outmatching products while zero will go to those which lag behind 10 and more years. The authors believe the total features will help determine whether a design is truly innovative.

Some coefficients will be determined by a group of at least seven experts. They have to be competent in the issue and educated in related knowledge and have a record of scientific and practical work. Priority will be given to experts with a scientific degree.

However, it will be difficult to get rid of subjectivism, expert Andrey Frolov said. "Not only the formula is important, but the procedure and criteria to select experts. Unfortunately, the document does not say who will select them and does not formulate strict requirements to the experts. The choice of experts can lobby the interests of various industrialists," he said.

The experts can increase the coefficients to include a product in the procurement program, the expert said. It is also unclear how the decision will be made if experts disagree, the Izvestia said.


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