INFLUENTIAL FACTORS ON THE EU STRUCTURAL FUNDS FINANCING EFFICIENCY IN THE R&D FIELD IN LATVIA
Keywords:Innovation policy, R&D factors, innovation, policy planning, EU structural funds
Facing the challenges of global competition Latvia emphases the advantage of its main and the most competitive recourses – highly educated society and well developed science based on the research, innovation and modern technologies. Development of the scientific activity within the national innovation system has been set as one of the priorities for future growth. The main obstacle that hinders the development of scientific activities is restricted amount of funding for research and development (R&D). Under the situation of the recent crisis, when the financing for R&D has decreased, there is necessity to invest the European Union (EU) Structural funds financial contribution in the most efficient and effective way.
The aim of the research is to determine the factors influencing the efficiency of EU structural funds financing in the field of R&D in Latvia.
To achieve the aim of the research the following tasks were set out. Firstly, accomplish revision and analysis of existing research and theoretical findings on factors of scientific activity and innovation development. Secondly, perform a survey evaluating and comprising the opinion of project implementers and policy makers on factors that accelerate or impede the development of scientific activity and innovation creation. Thirdly, analyse the results of questionnaire. Investigate the attitude and values of two main stakeholders – R&D policy planners and implementers of R&D projects – within the innovation system. Finally, elaborate suggestions for policy makers to elaborate measures that are more focused on jointly working national innovation system and user friendly, effective and efficient policy planning and implementation process.
The following economic research methods were used for tackling the tasks: grouping, graphic illustration, monographic descriptive method. Analysis and synthesis are used in the paper to study the problem elements and synthesize coherencies. The authors studied legal framework in Latvia and analyzed scientific publications in regional development, innovation economics, innovation policy, research policy, and educations systems. Induction method is used for summarizing individual facts in general statements, while deduction method for theoretical explanations and logical synthesis of the empirical study.
The authors organised survey in December 2010 during annual general meeting of Latvian Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences in Jelgava and via internet directly inviting the most representative stakeholders. Stakeholders were initially chosen from two main target groups: 1) beneficiaries of EU structural funds projects in the field of R&D (mainly research institutes, representatives of higher education institutions and their research institutes) and 2) policy planners of innovation, R&D and scientific activity policy in Latvia. In total, 162 completed questionnaires were returned.The empirical research showed that there is a gap between the view of policy makers and project implementers on the basic factors of the scientific activity and innovation development. This gap shall be narrowed in order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of EU structural funds financing in the field of R&D in Latvia.