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"Innovations work for the economy" - interview with A. G. Shumilin to the newspaper "Respublika"

"Innovations work for the economy" - interview with A. G. Shumilin to the newspaper "Respublika"

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"Innovations work for the economy" - interview with A. G. Shumilin to the newspaper "Respublika"

When we say "economic growth", we mean innovation. Maybe we don't have a large-scale raw material base in our country, but there have always been minds and scientific schools here. The R correspondent learned about the latest developments in the intellectual sphere, the preparation of a new State program for innovative development, and the demand for Belarusian developments in foreign markets from the Chairman of the State Committee for science and technology, Alexander Shumilin.

Contribution of science to the economy

- Alexander Gennadievich, not only a year is coming to an end, but also a whole five-year plan. What results could you indicate?

- The contribution of science to the economy has significantly increased. If in the last five — year period the share of Belarusian developments in the State program of innovative development of Belarus was 10 percent, in the current one it is already 36, and in the next one we set the goal to increase this figure to 50. Under the state program and state scientific and technical programs, more than 10,000 high-performance jobs and more than 80 innovative production facilities have been created and modernized. Among them are a number of projects in which Belarusian scientists took a direct part. Thus, the production of eight new import-substituting antibiotics has been organized at the Borisov plant of medical products. As a result, the volume of import-substituting products reached almost 100 million rubles, and products were exported for 75 million rubles to almost two dozen countries (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Moldova, Latvia, Iraq, Lithuania, and others). Up "ADANI" organized a cluster of high-tech medical equipment, which allowed for nine months to create and start delivering domestic computer tomographs to medical institutions in our country. The volume of production of innovative products of the enterprise exceeded 270 million rubles, more than two-thirds of it is delivered to the markets of the USA, South Korea, Japan and the European Union. A microstructure correction unit for phase-shifting photomasks has been developed and put into production at planar. Two such installations with a total cost of $ 3.3 million have already been delivered to Taiwan. And the list goes on.

— How can we estimate the volume of high-tech products and technologies created in these five years, including export growth?

- The volume exceeded 12 billion rubles. In particular, the products were exported to countries such as China, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Germany, Russia, Israel and others. Positive dynamics of growth of all indicators of innovative development is provided. At the same time, for every budget ruble spent on development, scientific and technical products worth more than 16 rubles were sold.

The volume of exports of high-tech and high-tech products reached $ 15 billion in 2019 and increased 1.5 times by 2015. At the same time, our IT sector made a significant contribution with exports of $ 2 billion. The growth of innovation indicators provided an increase in the rating of Belarus in the Global innovation index. In the last two years alone, Belarus has risen by 22 positions and now ranks 64th among 131 countries in the world.

From digital technology to medicine

— What can we say about the new state program of innovative development of the country for 2021-2025?

— The new state program will include projects in various areas, from digital technologies and mechanical engineering to medicine and agriculture, based primarily on the developments of Belarusian scientists. So, medical scientists will create the production of new fast-acting vaccines against viral and bacterial infections. By 2024, it is planned to build a diagnostic, ward, operating and resuscitation building in Minsk for the creation of a hybrid cardiac surgery center in the RSPC "Cardiology". A new block of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation will be opened at the Minsk scientific and practical center for surgery, Transplantology and Hematology. Software scientists together with the Ministry of communications will create a digital platform for a smart city. Mechanical engineers and scientists will complete work on creating a range of electric vehicles, including self-driving and Autonomous versions, as well as the production of modern means of charging infrastructure.

— What projects and why will receive special support in the next five-year plan?

— These are projects that combine the transfer of new foreign technologies with the development of their own scientific and technological potential and the promotion of domestic technologies to the world market. The main efforts will be aimed at stimulating the development of technologies, goods and services that correspond to the V and VI technological structures, creating a full-fledged market for scientific, technical and innovative products, improving the institutional environment, and developing and stimulating innovative entrepreneurship. We will support the participation of young people in scientific, technical and innovative activities, form and develop new business models for youth employment in the innovation sector, including support for youth startups.

Within the framework of the state program, innovative "projects of the future" and complex projects of state significance will be implemented based on a Comprehensive forecast of scientific and technological progress in Belarus, aimed at creating new spheres and sectors of the economy and corresponding to the priorities of innovative development for 2021-2025.

Attractive for scientific activities

— In July, it was reported that Belarus and Dubna agreed on contracts for more than $ 400,000. How successful is the country in terms of international cooperation? What Belarusian developments are particularly in demand in foreign markets?

— In 2020, Belarusian scientific and research organizations exported $ 1.2 million worth of high-tech and high-tech products to the joint Institute for nuclear research. This is mainly equipment for the nica accelerator complex, but there are also products and technologies for the NA64 experiment (CERN). The participation of Belarusian scientific and industrial organizations in the nica mega-science project (Nuclotron-based Ion Collider facility) is one of the priorities, since the creation of such an accelerator complex will allow us to recreate in laboratory conditions the special state of matter in which our universe was in the first moments after the Big Bang — quark-gluon plasma.

In General, Belarus cooperates with more than 50 countries in the scientific, technical and innovative spheres. According to data only for the first half of 2020, the share of exports of high-tech and high-tech products in the total volume of exports of goods and services was 39.3 percent, which is 3.3 percentage points higher than the corresponding period of the previous year (36 percent). In value terms, exports of knowledge-intensive and high-tech products amounted to 6.5 billion US dollars. At the same time, the total export of high-tech goods amounted to 4.5 billion US dollars. The main volume of such exports is multi-complex potash fertilizers, trucks, tractors and tractors, mineral fertilizers, spare parts for cars and tractors, as well as medicines. These products were exported to more than a hundred countries around the world.

— As you know, the share of gross domestic product growth due to innovation in developed countries is about 75 percent. What is this figure for us? And what measures are needed to change the situation?

— The greatest contribution of innovation to the economy reflects the share of innovative products in the total volume of products shipped. In our country today, this indicator for the industry is 16 percent. However, this is higher than in most European countries. For example, in Finland-14.9%, France-14.7%, Sweden-12, Norway-7.7. We are at the level of Estonia (16.1 percent) and the Czech Republic (15.6 percent).

The issue of creating and implementing innovations in production requires a whole range of legal, financial, organizational, and infrastructure conditions. Today, the Government is taking active steps to create such conditions. there are many special economic zones in the country (HTP, technoparks, industrial parks, free economic zones). There are various instruments of financial support from the state. Various tax benefits are applied in scientific, scientific-technical, and innovative activities.

— What should be done to turn enterprises towards more active use of innovations in production?

- The formation of an innovative economy, the development of scientific and technical potential of the country is impossible without intellectual initiative and creative activity, which largely depend on the state policy of stimulating the creation, protection and use of intellectual property. That is why the country pays special attention to the adoption of various incentive measures of a material and non-material nature.

For example, to encourage inventive activity in patenting inventions, utility models and industrial designs, several benefits are provided. Since January 1, 2019, the rates of patent fees for inventions of scientific organizations have been reduced four times. It is planned to create legal conditions for the joint ownership and use of official intellectual property objects by their authors and employers, and to increase the minimum rates of royalties for the development and commercialization of inventions of the V and VI technological order. Considering global trends, it is necessary to develop a set of measures aimed at stimulating the creation and effective use of green technologies, as well as intellectual property objects used in the production of import-substituting products.

Source: Respublika