This chapter compares two contrasting science towns, focusing on the towns’ historical evolution since the 1950s and main outcomes. These two types of science towns remain on Russia’s modernisation and innovation policy agenda and so have policy relevance. The naukograd of Obninsk is in the Kaluga region in Western Russia and was the first science town to receive new federal funding for naukogrady in 2000; thus, it has symbolic importance. The akademgorodok examined here is located on the outskirts of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The Novosibirsk akademgorodok is arguably the largest, most well-known, and successful science town that was created in the Soviet Union. It interprets these case studies considering the three-stage model outlined at the end of Chapter 2.

The chapter finds that Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk has been more successful in producing fundamental research than Obninsk between 1991 and 2016. However, neither place have had much success in building on their knowledge and R&D capabilities by commercialisation as well as in building national and inter-regional linkages (Stage 2). The chapter argues that the reasons Obninsk and Akademgorodok for this lack of success are connected to Russia’s institutional context.