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“Ideas for warming up the economy,” an interview by Alexander Shumilin for RESPUBLIKA

“Ideas for warming up the economy,” an interview by Alexander Shumilin for RESPUBLIKA

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“Ideas for warming up the economy,” an interview by Alexander Shumilin for RESPUBLIKA

All the things around us were invented once by someone. Historians say that the boom of the technical creativity began with the invention of the wheel. And then things began to take off: a bicycle, a car, planes, trains, TV, rockets, space satellites and mobile phones. There are certain people whose talent and energy have brought and bring constant innovations into our lives behind each of the named and thousands of other things.

On the eve of the Day of the Inventor and Rationalizer the journalist of “R” visited Alexander Shumilin, Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology, and learned a lot about the life and work of Belarusian innovators.

Innovation Slides

RESPUBLIKA: ‘Alexander, the last ten years Belarus is in the first positions according to the coefficient of the inventive activity in the post-Soviet area. But, for example, this figure is higher at times in small Japan. What is their secret? And are we able to reach their heights?’

Alexander: ‘Alas, now the coefficient of inventive activity, that is, the number of domestic patent applications for inventions filed in Belarus per 10,000 people, is declining. It is true, this is not only our reality. This trend is observed all over the world. Why? Increasingly, enterprises use alternative ways to protect their intellectual property. So, new products are not patented: they establish a regime of commercial secrets. In addition, I would not measure the level of the innovative development of the state by the number of applications for the grant of patents for inventions. After all, this is not yet evidence of the same number of patents granted. In addition, not all authors patent their inventions: the level of legal consciousness in the field of intellectual property is not too high. However, we are working on it. And we ensure the creation of all the necessary conditions for achieving the same high rates of innovation as in Japan, for example.’

RESPUBLIKA: ‘Who is today's inventor? Is this the one who  creates for himself or whose ideas benefit people and the country? And, in principle, how popular is it today to be an inventor?’

Alexander: ‘In my opinion, inventors are all those people whose creative work results in inventions. It does not matter for what purpose the author created this or that novelty, for himself or for the benefit of the society. We support this initiative in every possible way. For example, we create favorable conditions and incentives within the implementation of the activities of our country's strategy in the field of intellectual property for 2012-2020: the SCST has already made proposals to reduce the rates of patent fees and introduce additional benefits. 

Often the success of the project is determined not by us, but by the market and the consumer.

As for the popularity, I would say this: it is prestigious to be an inventor, an innovator, all over the world. Our country is not an exception. Another thing is that it is necessary to revive the powerful movement of invention and rationalization that used to be in Soviet times. After all, even a person working in the production often has ideas of improving the technological process. Today the production is not the same as it was 20 years ago. This is a big saving for enterprises. In addition, as the costs of producing goods are reduced, so it is also a big saving for consumers. The legislation provides for payments for patents and for rational offers. Now there is a great interest for innovative projects. Figuratively speaking, there is a wide field for creativity.

In turn, our committee will support the Belarusian Society of Inventors and Innovators. The platforms of technology parks, which are being created in all corners of the country, can become good places for meetings, exchange of experience and training of all creative people.

Today, there are many ways to turn your ideas and developments into practice. There are contests for young people. The winner of one of the most popular “100 ideas for Belarus” is Katya Kruglova.’ 

Financial Aspect

RESPUBLIKA:  ‘Is it difficult today to earn by technical creativity and to get financial returns from one’s developments?’

Alexander: ‘There are many ways to put your ideas and developments into action. It is necessary to have a  desire and understanding of how to act for this. This is a whole list of contests for young people. Some of the most popular are “100 Ideas for Belarus” and “100 Ideas for the CIS”. There are contests in the educational system, such as the contests of scientific works of students and schoolchildren. There is a National contest of innovative projects held by the State Committee on Science and Technology. Only last year we received about two hundred applications. Thematic fairs and exchanges of innovative developments and intellectual property have been held since 2014. This is also a good way to make customers and authors of ideas come together. There are about a thousand promising inventions and commercial offers only at the intellectual property exchange. We do not ignore the startups. The SCST holds a contest of start-up projects within TIBO, the International Specialized Forum on Telecommunications, Information and Banking Technologies, for the second year running.’

RESPUBLIKA: ‘Is the current system of protection of intellectual property of Belarusian inventors effective?’

Alexander: ‘I think yes. Although sometimes I participate in legal proceedings. We have an Appeals Board under the patent body, which deals with pre-trial settlement of disputes. So every year the council considers up to 50 cases. If the rights to intellectual property objects are violated, the patent owner may apply to the judicial collegium for intellectual property of the Supreme Court of our country.’

Belarusian style

RESPUBLIKA: ‘Can you recall the brightest innovative projects of the last year?’

Alexander: There were a lot of them. Mainly in such areas as the satisfaction of human vital needs, chemistry, physics, IT-technologies and mechanical engineering. However, it would be wrong to single out one thing, probably. All the authors and the teams put a lot of effort into their works. In addition, often the success of the project is determined not by us, but by the market, by the consumer. So the time will tell. Last year, we received a number of developments based on the technologies of the 5th technological order. For example, the company "Belama Plus", Orsha, the Vitebsk region, has developed and established the production of a fully automated intellectual control system for the process of spraying crops. The Central Botanical Garden of the NAS of Belarus has created a biotechnological complex for microclonal reproduction of useful plants. “Polytechnic”, the technology park of BNTU, has developed and mastered a range of general industrial and food 3D printers in production.’

RESPUBLIKA: ‘What extent are Belarusian innovations in demand at the international market to?’

Alexander: ‘Today, it is possible to say with confidence that Belarus has taken its niche in the world arena. Many of our developments are known and recognizable. The Belarusian tractor, BelAZ, viber internet service and other developments are among them.

 The development and production of drones  will be one of the promising areas, I am convinced. By the way, this year a joint venture for the development and production of unmanned aerial systems for various purposes was registered and introduced into the register of residents of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park.

Belarusian scientists also develop and supply the equipment for the Russian collider NICA. A number of innovations, including the development and approbation of high-speed laser drilling technology developed by the Institute of Physics NAS, are among the largest deliveries within completed contracts with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research.

In a word, Belarusian inventors have something to be proud of. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them health and new creative success!’

The source: RESPUBLIKA, the newspaper