Planning for Scientific and Technological Progress
Planning for Scientific and Technological Progress
in the USSR, a part of national economic planning. An important factor in the successful development of science and technology and in raising the technical level of production and the efficiency of the national economy, planning for scientific and technological progress enables the state to direct the efforts of scientists and other specialists to the solution of the most pressing problems and to funnelfinancial and material and technological resources into the main trends in the development of science and technology.
After World War II (1939–45) it became common for developed countries to introduce elements of planning into the development of science and technology. This trend was a result of the scientific and technological revolution and the increased significance of science and technology. In the socialist countries planning for scientific and technological progress is an outgrowth of planned management of the economy.
In the USSR a system of planning for science and technology has been worked out and is currently in use. Since the first years of Soviet power, the problems of scientific and technological progress have occupied an important place in national economic planning. V. I. Lenin formulated the tasks of scientific and technological progress in his “Draft Plan of Scientific and Technical Work” (1918). Later the five-year plans for the development of the national economy included provisions for the development of science and technology. The Central Committee of the CPSU and the Soviet government devote a great deal of attention to the improvement of planning for scientific and technological progress. The current system of planning for science and technology is defined in a decree issued on Sept. 24, 1968, by the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR—Measures to Increase the Efficiency of Scientific Organizations and Speed up the Utilization of Scientific and Technological Achievements in the National Economy.
The Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the permanent commissions of its two chambers work on questions of planning for scientific and technological progress. The Council of Ministers reviews and endorses the principal trends in the development of science and technology, as well as the plans for scientific and technological progress. It also establishes priorities for working out plans for scientific and technological projects, plans for introducing the results of scientific research into production, plans for financing the costs of developments in science and technology, and plans for organizing scientific and technological information and for training scientific workers.
The agencies concerned with intersector functional planning for scientific and technological progress are the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Science and Technology and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Important functions in intersector planning for scientific and technological progress are performed by the State Planning Committee (Gosplan of the USSR), the State Committee for Construction (Gos-stroi of the USSR), and the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education.
In the first stage of planning for science and technology, forecasts are made regarding the future development of the most important areas of science and technology. Soviet scientists and specialists work out forecasts for many fields of science and technology, generally for periods of 15–20 years. In particular, forecasts are made for the fuel and energy system, the discovery of highly efficient materials for various purposes, and the comprehensive development of transportation and agriculture, as well as for many other areas of science, technology, and the national economy.
Based on forecasts regarding the most important problems, the main trends in the development of science and technology are determined, usually for a five-year period, and questions of the development of the pure and the applied sciences, as well as the social sciences, are considered. In economics attention is focused on solving the problems of raising the efficiency of social production, with due regard for the requirements of the objective economic laws of the development of the socialist economy. The main trends in the development of science and technology for a five-year period affect the most important sectors of the national economy.
The five-year plan for the development of science and technology and the use of scientific achievements in the national economy is part of the state five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR. The five-year plan for the development of science and technology (or, as it is often called, the plan for new technology) has a number of principal divisions: the most important scientific and technological problems to be worked out under the plan; production of a pilot series of new machines and materials; introduction of new technological processes, including key measures for the mechanization and automation of production; training of scientific workers; and financing of the sciences.
The scientific and technological problems subject to elaboration under the plan are key intersector problems on which two or more ministries and departments are working. Under the ninth five-year plan (1971–75) there were relatively few of these problems (about 250). As a result, it was possible to maintain adequate control over the fulfillment of assignments related to their solution. The work on each of these problems is expected to conclude with the solution to a definite technical task, such as the invention of a new type of machine or a new material. Problems related entirely to the pure sciences are not included among the most important scientific and technological problems in the national economic plan, because it is virtually impossible to predict exactly when and in what field of science an important new discovery or decisive advance will be made. In developing the pure sciences, however, it is necessary to concentrate efforts in the most important, or most pressing, areas. This is made possible by forecasting and by the determination of the principal trends in the development of science and technology.
The scientific and technological problems for which the five-year plan anticipates solutions are related to all the main sectors of the national economy. For example, the most important scientific and technological problems of the decade 1971–80 include the designing, building, and launching of new power units of maximum capacity (boiler-turbine-generator-transformer) and the development and construction of high-capacity, long-distance electric power lines (for example, plans call for putting the Kazakhstan-Center line on direct current with a voltage of 1,500 kilowatts). Also among the most important scientific and technological problems of the 1970’s are the designing and building of heavy-duty nuclear reactor power units; the development of the technology and the production of the means for the complete mechanization and automation of coal mining by the shaft method, thereby ensuring a significant increase in labor productivity; and the application of industrial technology to the production of more durable tires.
Detailed coordination plans, which are developed for each scientific and technological problem included in the national economic plan, indicate the most important stages of work, the duration of the stages, and the organizations responsible for solving each problem. Coordination plans are endorsed by the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Science and Technology. They provide for the performance of the full range of tasks, beginning with scientific research and ending with the application of its results in the national economy.
The section of the five-year plan for the development of science and technology includes the production of a pilot series of new machines, new materials, and highly efficient technological processes, as well as key measures for the mechanization and automation of production. It also lists specific assignments, indicating those who are to carry them out, performance deadlines, and volume of work. The assignments involve the production of new items or the completion of projects that have passed through the stages of design, development, and experimental and industrial testing. The science and technology section of the plan is very important because it determines when and on what scale the most important results of scientific research, design and development, and industrial experiments will be applied in production.
The section on training scientific workers contains targets related to graduate study: admissions (targets for each year of the five-year plan, specifying the fields of science, ministries, Union republics, and organizations that direct the scientific research institutions and institutions of higher learning); the percentage of those admitted while on leave from production; and the number of persons completing graduate study. The section of the plan that deals with the financing of scientific institutions provides for the allocation of capital and includes a breakdown by Union republics and USSR ministries and departments. The volume of work done in conformity with the state plan is taken into account in determining the volume of financing.
Indexes that describe scientific and technological progress are found not only in sections of the plan for new technology but also in production plans, where, in many cases, the production of the most progressive types of output is indicated, as well as the total volume of output. For example, a plan may give the volume of production of rolled steel in general and the volume of production of thin cold-rolled steel sheet, or the volume of production of mineral fertilizers, including the quantities of concentrated and mixed fertilizers. In addition, the plan includes certain general indexes that characterize scientific and technological progress—for example, the coefficient of petroleum recovery, the percentage of coal mined by the open-pit method, fuel expenditure per kilowatt-hour produced, and electrical power available per worker in industry.
Every year appropriate corrections are made where necessary in the state plan for science and technology. Sections on science and technology are included in republic plans for economic development, in the plans of sectorial ministries of the USSR, and in the plans of other organizations, as well as in the nationwide plan for the development of the economy. Production associations and enterprises have their own plans, as do scientific research and design organizations.
The Academy of Sciences of the USSR, with the participation of other organizations, elaborates five-year plans for scientific research in the natural and social sciences.
In addition to five-year and annual plans for scientific research, there are plans for the development of science and technology over a period of 15–20 years. An effort is being made to improve planning for scientific and technological progress.
Under the conditions created by the modern scientific and technological revolution, international cooperation in science and technology—especially cooperation with the members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance—has become vital.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Nabrosok plana nauchno-tekhnicheskikh rabot.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36.
Lenin, V. I. Ocherednye zadachi Sovetskoi vlasti. Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. Luchshe men’she, da luchshe. Ibid., vol. 45.
Lenin, V. I. G. M. Krzhizhanovskomu 14 marta 1920 g. (Letter.) Ibid., vol. 51.
Resheniiapartii i pravitel’stvapo khoziaistvennym voprosam, vol. 7 Moscow, 1970.
Planirovanie i stimulirovanie nauchno-tekhnicheskogo progressa. Edited by L. M. Gatovskii. Moscow, 1972.
Nauchno-tekhnicheskii progress i effektivnost’ obshchestvennogo proizvodstva. Moscow, 1972.
Efimov, K. “Nauchno-tekhnicheskii progress: organizatsiia i upravlenie.” Kommunist, 1973, no. 10.
Efimov, K., L. Maksimov, and F. Amirdzhaniants. “Sovershenstvovanie planirovaniia i upravleniia nauchno-tekhnicheskim progressom.” Planome khoziaistvo, 1974, no. 11
V. A. KIRILLIN