China and Russia - two giants in the group of emerging markets - continue to attract wide attention as evolving science and technological superpowers. However, both countries demonstrate mixed success in innovation development and are struggling to overcome the legacies of the former state planning system and accelerate their transition to effective national innovation systems. This study employs a number of theoretical constructs and evidence sources to evaluate the existing path dependencies and compare the achievements of China and Russia in fostering development and effective systems of innovation and governance. A detailed analysis of the state planning legacies is provided together with a study of innovation system transformation and the role of public policy in (re)building national innovation capabilities in China and Russia. The system-evolutionary approach is applied to provide a detailed assessment of the strategic effort undertaken by the governments of both countries. Several government failures and path dependencies seem to prevent the nations from implementing a more effective reform. Yet, there are a number of complementarities and opportunities for mutual learning where both countries can benefit from closer collaboration. The challenges of turning universities into research institutions, increasing productivity of state-owned enterprises, constructing effective science parks, promoting indigenous innovation, ensuring more even distribution of innovation development across regions, turning 'brain drain' into 'brain gain', and improving intellectual property rights protection are common in Russia and China. As a lens through which to identify and assess innovation systems transformation, the thesis examines emerging nanotechnology development in China and Russia. Nanotechnology is a new science and technology area where policies seem to be independent of many system weaknesses and contribute to breaking existing development lock-ins due to its explorative nature and assumed transformative capacity. Yet, a number of path dependencies do exist in this area but seem to play a marginal role in its progression. An early assessment is provided of nanotechnology impacts on broader socioeconomic development of China and Russia in six key areas: institutional development, knowledge flows, and network efficiency; research and education capabilities; industrial and enterprise growth; cluster and network development; regional spread; and product innovation.The conclusion summarizes the main findings, revisits the major research questions, links the analysis to the conceptual framework, and offers a number of policy recommendations that seem relevant to both Russia and China with a need to increase the transparency of innovation policy, improve the regulation for innovation process, and promote growth of the private sector to ensure effective technology transfer.Results from this study have been reported in various forms in the author's articles published in Research Policy, Science and Public Policy, Review of Policy Research, International Journal of Economics and Business Research, and European Journal of Development Research as well as presented at a number of international conferences (see Appendix).