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Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus’ Science needs improving, not reforming

It is important to improve the science sector in Belarus, not to reform it. This was stated by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko at the meeting dedicated to the problems and perspectives of Belarus’ Science on April 7, 2017.

Belarusian scientists presented a mockup of a public service vehicle, which they are promising to commercialize by 2020.

Sergei Poddubko, Director General of the United Institute of Mechanical Engineering:
This vehicle has fixed mounts. They can be changed depending on what needs doing, whether water needs spraying, snow cleared or salt spread on the roads. Such trucks are not produced in the CIS. The production will soon be organized in Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko reminds the developers about the importance of electric motors.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
When will you create an electromobile?

Sergei Poddubko:
We need to do a lot of research first, carry out some experiments, and bring it all to perfection.

Alexander Lukashenko:
That means that this summer you and I will be driving an electromobile.

President Lukashenko visited an exposition of scientific achievements before holding the meeting. He was demonstrated the latest developments.

This is a Belarusian supercomputer. It is ordinary in size but can solve difficult problems.

Alexander Tuzikov, Director General of the United Institute of Informatics Problems:
Low energy usage which means a perfect instrument for developers, who need powerful machines. In 2003 and 2004 Belarus developed computers which were listed in the top 500 powerful computers of the world.

All the presented at the exhibition developments were created in the past couple of years. Some have already been implemented in life, others are developed further.

Vladimir Gusakov, Chairman of Presidium, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus:
We are striving for not having a long time adaptation science, so that there is no gap between the idea and the development. The National Academy of Sciences is cooperating with many Ministries, authorities, sectors, plants in order to implement the inventions.

Aleksei Shkandarevich, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus:
This is a 2kg highly intellectual aiming device, which costs about $5,000. Belarus sold the license for building such a plant to Jordan. This plant will be built by Belarus by the middle of 2017.

The total value of the contract is about $11m. As many as 400 scientists, directors of plants and government officials participated in the meeting.

President Lukashenko said that a lot of problems in the science sector need solving.

Alexander Lukashenko:
You stated one problem, when Belarus invents something but nobody wants to buy it. I repeated it 1020 times before, and I am tired of repeating it again and again to you. We invent something great, it lays there on a shelf in dust, but nobody wants to buy it. What decision did I make? A real sector of either economy or the social sphere cannot not buy the invention if the director of the Academy of Sciences made a decision that this invention must be realized in Belarus. This problem can be solved. What is more, Belarus doesn’t have unsolvable issues concerning bureaucracy.

Alexander Lukashenko also touched upon the welfare of Belarusian scientists.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Money shouldn’t be given away just for nothing, it should be earnt. Today I am prepared to finance science in large volumes, because Belarus gave pride of place to the innovative way for economy and social development. However, I am not talking about ridiculous amounts of money. Let’s make a decision and pay everyone, to Candidates and Doctors of Sciences. A Doctor of Sciences, who went through writing a dissertation, will see many others who were assisted in some way and they moved forward. I understand that it’s life. He defended his doctoral dissertation but he doesn’t even correspond to a level of a Candidate of Sciences. The social inequality among scientists is a severe illness and a frightening evil.
I am talking about our future lives, how to prevent scientists from being poor. Many of the scientists aren’t that rich, but, I can say are entirely poor. A real scientist should live a normal life in the society. This is the main aim of my meeting with you. However, I am for results.

Scientists are not satisfied with the speed of carrying out expertise.

Alexander Shumilin, Chairman of the State Science and Technology Committee of the Republic of Belarus:
Within the framework of this system about 3000 expert evaluations of projects were held during the previous five-year plan. However, this system let us avoid ineffective funding of dozens of millions of dollars into the budget.

It may seem that scientists and agrarians have been cooperating for a long time. There are visible results. New kinds of crops, unique breeds of cattle. Nevertheless, the recommendations of scientists are not always followed by agrarians.

Alexander Lukashenko:
When we have technologies for cultivating land, for cattle and poultry breeding and so on which will be used according to the instructions, just like in Western countries, then we will have everything that you want, or what scientist put into their experiment or invention. The main thing is technologies. At the moment there is disorder in the production today (not everywhere, in 25% of cases of farms and farm owners), which doesn’t let to reach the aimed parameters. And then they ask what the scientists invented. They invented something that doesn’t work. However, the scientists’ inventions were developed according to some technologies which must be followed.

Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus:
At the moment funds are being ranged in the budget for the science sector. To Ministries, authorities and regions. This disorder leads to concentration on narrow sectors and modest return. Being a scientist means searching for new knowledge. However, he is told to make a toothed wheel, which won’t fall apart. If it falls apart, then you must return the money. And for these reasons scientists, even the famous scientists from a scientific school, simply refuse state funding.

Scientists say that it is very difficult to reach the manufacturers. That is why they suggest changing the system of state procurement.

Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
Innovation funds (both republican and local) are not used to the full extent since their establishment. And what is more, only 50% of republican funds were used last year, and 75% of local funds. Simply put, we need to get familiar with this money and we will then start thinking about the next lot.

There has been a suggestion of creating a new university organization.

Vladimir Shimov, rector of Belarus State Economic University:
Practically just two universities in Belarus fulfill an academic function. Meanwhile, some of the highly-developed countries are applying a model called “university-3”, which includes another important function of commercializing knowledge. If Belarus follows the same route, then the resources Belarus has can be concentrated on the development of science in the major universities of Belarus.

One of the key functions of science is to fulfill the needs of a country.

Alexander Lukashenko:
You know the much talked-of Decree No. 3. I ordered to work it through. And here it is on my desk, I read it and now I am thinking, what is the principle of it. The principle is the same. Do you think that these social parasites, as they call themselves, will be working for a whole year and will be paying $12 dollars each month? No, they won’t. They will wait till the deadline, till March or February, they will be beckoned and they will once again go out into the streets and so on. That is why we need a new principle. Advice should be given by scientists. They live in it. Maybe they’ll suggest something new.

Despite the fact that the meeting lasted for more than four hours and a half, it is still early to put an end to the dispute.

Alexander Lukashenko:
I won’t make a conclusion with set strategic targets. However, this meeting was very important. Taking into account this meeting, I promise that I will make decisions considering all the topical issues, which were determined by you. Let’s agree that we will make a pause with you. If you like, till September. Then there’ll be the evaluation of the situation and perspectives. We must finally put an end to all the disputable issues, concerning the academies, whether it should be reformed or how they should be directed and so on. These are serious matters.

The two most powerful instruments for the development of a country today are science and technologies. Belarus has a powerful intellectual potential which must become a locomotive of innovative economy.

Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus’ Science needs improving, not reforming