The role of NGOs in innovation policy, transfer of knowledge and European integration processes

Full text available in Ukrainian language.

Main sections of the document:

1. European Innovation Policy and Opportunities for Ukraine on the Way to Build a Knowledge Society.
1.1. EU Innovation Policy.
1.2. Eurointegration opportunities for Ukraine on the way of building a knowledge society.
2. Public Participation in EU Innovation Policy.
3. The role of the public in the innovation policy of Ukraine.
Conclusions and recommendations.

The recommendations for implementation of modern concepts of innovation policy in the model of the innovation quadrilateral: authorities – science – education – business – civil society.

Short summary:

There are tendencies in the world to strengthen the role of the public in political and economic processes. The development of information and communication technologies provides new opportunities for the participation of citizens in the processes of preparation and decision-making, communication, horizontal economic and social interactions, exchange and transfer of knowledge. These processes are reflected in EU policy through “opening” – increasing transparency, openness, and targeting the consumer of various areas of society: scientific – where the concept of “open science” is proclaimed, in the field of public administration – “open government”, politics – “participatory democracy”, the economy – “open innovation”. Human and intellectual resources have become key determinants of building a “knowledge economy”. It is for the public, scholars and educators, cultural figures and other representatives of the national intellectual elite that the development of innovation culture and the enhancement of the professional and digital competencies of participants in innovative ecosystems, the formation of new forms of economic and social relations lies.

The principles of building a knowledge-based economy with attractive prospects for intellectual work – where innovation and ideas are properly rewarded, laid back in 2000 in the Lisbon Strategy of the EU. In the modern model of sustainable development, the role of human capital is further enhanced as it is understood that the economic component of development is closely linked to the ecological and social, so now we are talking about building a “knowledge society”. Such an approach is becoming increasingly important as the dynamic challenges faced by society – environmental, social, political, and technological – require the active involvement of the public in the implementation of the decisions through resource pooling, rapid dissemination, scaling and integrated innovation solution.

Building a knowledge society in Ukraine, in view of its European integration aspirations, should rely on the experience of the EU countries on this path. The EU Recommendations for National Level Measures for Building a Knowledge Society contained in the Europe 2020 Strategy are relevant to Ukraine as well. They demand to prioritize the cost of knowledge, to coordinate the scientific system of Ukraine, with the scientific systems of developed countries of the EU, working in the context of the deployment of the new Industrial Revolution and the Digital Single Market (DSM); to provide open access and preservation of scientific information, stimulating the exchange of information and dissemination of best practices.

Further integration with the EU’s scientific, technical and innovation system and the use of the European Research Area (ERA) technology will contribute to reducing technological inequalities with the EU countries, increasing the efficiency of the scientific and innovation spheres. In this regard, the considerable attention of the scientific community should be directed to the implementation of the road map of Ukraine’s integration into the European research area.

In the EU, the public and expert community are involved in all important issues through a broad network of thematic and regional platforms, working groups.

Public participation in the decision-making process is one of the priority areas for EU support for the development of CSOs in candidate countries and is also a qualifying requirement for EU membership. In accordance with the Principles of EU Support for Civil Society Support in the Countries of Enlargement (2014-2020) “Participation of NGOs is a key factor in ensuring the proper quality of comprehensive legislation and the development of sound policy principles that reflect the needs of people and are accepted by the actors they are most concerned with”. Non-governmental organizations can bring knowledge and independent expertise into the decision-making process, public confidence in sounding issues, presenting their interests and engaging in processes, thus providing a decisive contribution to policy development. All levels of engagement are encouraged, from simple provision of information to consultation, dialogue and, finally, partnerships between non-governmental organizations and public authorities.

The Quadruple Helix (QH) concept, with the emphasis on widespread collaboration in innovation, determines the transition to a systemic, open, and user-oriented innovation policy. The era of linear development, performed by experts on the model “top-down”, produces and services inferior to various forms and levels of “co-production” with consumers, customers and citizens. It also challenges the public authorities that provide services to citizens. In the model of QH innovation collaboration, the fourth group of innovative actors is added to the triple helix (TH) model, which may include – from intermediaries to different innovation users. These innovations are aimed at something that is beneficial for partners in innovation cooperation; they can be, for example, technological, social, product, service, commercial and non-commercial innovations.

Citizen-centric QH model focuses on the development of citizen-driven innovations, where citizens are important drivers. The owner of the innovation process is a citizen or a group of citizens (ie the community of development). In this model, the degree of engagement of users can be described as “user design”, that is, users are developing new products, services and ways to implement them. In addition to executing most of the development, citizens themselves decide what innovations are needed and will be developed. The role of firms, government agencies and universities is primarily to support citizens in their innovation activities (for example, provide tools, information, development forums and skills necessary for users to innovate). Firms and government organizations also use innovations made by citizens.

There are numerous challenges involved in moving from older research and technological innovation models (including the TH model) to more user-friendly innovation models. Some challenges are related to enterprises, while others are with universities, government organizations and users. It’s a huge cultural change, whether it’s state or private. QH is intended to bridge the gap between civil society and innovation: “technological innovation gap”, “moral gap / trust” and “gap in the public sector.”

Volunteer movement after the dignity of the revolution has resulted in widespread involvement of the public and experts in the preparation of state decisions. However, the public is still not included in the level of policy implementation, participation in decision-making, the implementation of state programs and regional projects, which has led to such phenomena as imitation and frank inhibition of reforms. Civil society has not yet managed to turn the situation to the end in favor of democracy and progress. As a result, we have an unbalanced innovation system that, however, can be balanced with social potential through the use of modern tools for implementing a four-dimensional spiral model.

You can already state the strengthening of the role of the public in political and economic processes, especially the powerful activation of social movements after the Orange Revolution, but now at the time a new transformation of social relations in the paradigm of the knowledge society. An important role in this must be played by scientific, educational and innovative communities through the implementation of modern concepts of innovation policy in the model of the innovation quadrilateral: power-science-education-business-civil society.

The level of involvement of citizens in decision-making processes in Ukraine is largely confined to the provision of information and advice. Available public consultation tools need to be improved. The level of participation through the Partnership is only beginning to take shape in Ukraine. It involves shared responsibility at every stage of the policy decision-making process: from setting agenda, drafting and making decisions to implementing policy initiatives. It is a higher level of participation. At this level, non-governmental organizations and public authorities gather together for close cooperation, ensuring that non-governmental organizations continue to be independent and have the right to campaign and act independently of partnerships. The partnership should include such activities as delegating to a non-governmental organization specific tasks, for example, in the provision of services, as well as participatory and decision-making bodies, including financial support issues. Obligations of state authorities in this case is to provide all interested parties with timely, accurate and timely information in an acceptable format; timely response and feedback; as well as resource support for the participation of civil society. Such a mechanism for formalizing partnership and adequate financial support for the development and implementation of public initiatives is still lacking in Ukraine, while the introduction of effective mechanisms for providing financial support to public initiatives is foreseen by the National Strategy for Promoting Civil Society in Ukraine for 2016-2020. This results in inadequate documents or the lack of exit policies as the public often discourages the final stage of document preparation and implementation. The instrument of such support in the EU countries is a working group or committee formed as a permanent or ad hoc expert group for consultations on political priorities. Therefore, it is expedient to form such structures and in the field of innovation development on the basis of the dialogue that has already begun to be formed between public organizations, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the Ministry of Education and Science, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Scientific Committee of the NRST, the VRU Committee on Science and Technology.

Old national institutions operate in an inertia and often the very public initiatives lead to significant shifts in the policy of STI, good examples have already been: Digital Agenda, Roadmap for Integration into the ERA, the Law on Scientific and Technical Activities and the Scientific Committee Elections, the Concept for the Development of Electronic Democracy, Active activity Old national institutions operate in inertia and often public initiatives lead to significant shifts in the policy of STI, good examples have already been made: Digital Agenda, Road Map the theme of integration into the ERA, the Law on Scientific and Technical Activities and the election of the Scientific Committee, the Concept of the Development of Electronic Democracy, the Active Activity of WG6 of the CSA of the ASG. However, the qualitative implementation of these initiatives can not be imagined without the appropriate resources.

To move to the innovative way of economic development, coordination and concentration of efforts in the innovation sector, monitoring and analysis of processes of technological transformation with the use of as many resources as possible and stakeholders are needed. An important task for all is the construction of an innovative platform for coordinating the positions of the main players of the innovation system and supporting innovative ecosystems. When it comes to financing innovations in Ukraine, there should be comprehensive financing in the quadrilateral: government + business + science + society at least for projects, if we do not have hybrid organizations yet. To start the processes of positive self-organization, an understanding is needed between all stakeholders. This can happen only when their reputable and capable representatives come to an agreement on cooperation in the area of common interests. The national innovation platform, its proper resource supply (budget for science, education and innovation, technical assistance, charitable contributions to business), in which science and business, and government and society, in which all are interested in interacting with other links on mutually beneficial conditions will contribute to solving the strategic and operational objectives of balanced innovation development.

The Government’s Concept for the Development of the Digital Economy and Society of Ukraine for 2018-2020 provided new opportunities for the development of digital technologies for the participation of citizens in the processes of preparation and decision-making, communication, horizontal economic and social interactions, acquisition of digital competences, exchange and transfer of knowledge. However, the readiness of the society for technological, digital, product, financial and social innovations is also important.

The time has come for accelerated development of models of innovative cooperation of a four-dimensional spiral – which should be considered as a new approach to traditional cluster and regional innovation policy. Appropriate European tools – “open innovation 2.0” and “smart specialization of the regions” – can accelerate this process. Public organizations in new innovative ecosystems are called to act as intermediaries – to support the involvement of users and new players in innovation activities. It should be borne in mind that all participants in such ecosystems will be tasked with cultural change in the direction of openness, mutual trust, co-creation, mastering of new technologies and best practices. The public and expert communities should be actively involved in the construction of regional and sectoral open innovation systems to establish and support knowledge transfer processes and advance the formation of a new technological structure. It is the “inclusion” of public structures in the development process that allows not only to accelerate progress, but also to optimize it. In the country, it’s time to establish cooperation between all the “four spirals” of development, and as can be seen from the experience of past years, the success of this – in the active position of the public sector, and first of all, its driving force – the expert community. It is they who need to take the initiative – in organizing coalitions, forming an open innovation agenda and creating working groups, uniting on innovative platforms (including European ones such as Science | Business, Startup Europe, EOSC HUB) on the new principles of open science and the open innovation provided for, in particular, the Roadmap for Ukraine’s integration into the ERA. The Roadmap provides new opportunities in line with the priorities of the European Research and Innovation Area to increase participation in European e-infrastructures, research and technological infrastructures, and the formation of common innovative ecosystems. Another result that the public can use – is open access to scientific data – both national, funded by the state and international. Collaboration with the EU through the association is a priceless opportunity for cooperation in open innovation ecosystems based on the experience and technical assistance of European countries.

The public must become an effective driving force (through self-governing communities) along with power vertical, business, and science. And in this leading role should play the very expert community, whose representatives in fact belong to all four spirals, and should become the “nerve lace” of the new knowledge society.


Volodymyr Nochvay

Dr. Volodymyr Nochvay, candidate of technical sciences, senior scientist at Institute of Problems of Mathematical Machines and Systems of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, expert of the Center for the Development of Innovations. Expert of the Innovation policy project.

Oleksander Fedoseev

Dr. Oleksander Fedoseev, candidate of economic science, coordinator, expert of the Public Innovation Network of Ukraine. Expert of the Innovation policy project.

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