Despite historical and current parallels in their policies, China is now more clearly becoming a leading power in science and innovation than Russia, suggests research.

Thirty years ago both countries had similar levels of R&D investment and scientific publication outputs, with comparable institutions leading on research, in particular the respective national Academies of Science. But while China has improved its performance on a range of innovation indicators, Russia has lagged.

Among the reasons, say researchers, is that China is more open to internationalisation and talent migration and has upgraded its research and innovation systems. In contrast, Russian research activities remain centralised around the Russian Academy of Sciences with little scientist/private sector exchange and less return migration of expatriate researchers.