“Science must win!”, interview of A. Shumilin for Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo
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“Science must win!”, interview of A. Shumilin for Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo
Belarus and Russia are creating a common scientific and technological space. How to upgrade the developments of commercially profitable projects?
This and other questions were answered by Alexander Shumilin, Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus.
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘Alexander, Russian science is presented by dozens of schools and institutes. Besides, the country has such financial opportunities that Belarus never dreamed of. Maybe we again want to harness a horse and a timid doe in one cart, and Belarus will have to be forever a “trace horse” by the impetuous Russian troika?’
Alexander: ‘In recent years, Russia and Belarus have already built solid foundations of scientific and technological space. We have learned to complement each other in such areas as space technology, radio electronics and instrument engineering, medicine and so on. Most of the programs of the Union State were implemented in the high-tech segments.
Unfortunately, our countries still poorly plan the joint scientific and technological and economic development. We make our plans often without taking into account the achievements and opportunities of each other. In my opinion, this is a weak link of the Russian-Belarusian relations.
Today, Russians are implementing a number of interesting scientific and technological developments in the program of import substitution. Our country has been following lead of innovation development for a long time: we do not have any natural resources, so we try to rely on the intellect. Russians and Belarusians could be more useful to each other by linking and coordinating their strategic plans for a scientific and technological development in conditions of an open and highly competitive global economy.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘And how did the first meeting of the Commission on a unified scientific and technological space make us come together?’
Alexander: ‘We agreed on developing a strategy for the scientific and technological development of the Union State until 2040 and discussed its priority scientific and technological and innovative projects. In particular, they outlined a number of joint projects in the field of engineering, space development and the production of electronic microcircuits. Their implementation will open new opportunities for such Belarusian enterprises as Planar and Integral, and for a number of Russian companies.
We came to the conclusion that there is not enough scientific and technological cooperation. It is time for Russia and Belarus to create joint innovative productions on its basis and to bring investors who could be interested in obtaining commercial benefits from their developments. When the whole cycle is closed, from the scientific research and technological development to the creation of specific industries, the Russian-Belarusian relations in science and technology will rise to a fundamentally new level.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘Where will we create productions? In Russia, in Belarus?’
Alexander: ‘It does not matter where to open them. We will determine what it is better to do in Belarus and what in Russia. Belarusians will be able to earn money in the Russian market by opening a joint venture there.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘Scientific developments are not always a collective work. Can a scientist become a successful businessman and bring his developments to a successfully sold end product?’
Alexander: ‘Maybe. For example, a major innovative business of the world level, was created by such Belarusian scientists as Alexander Bodyako (the plant “Technolit”, Mogilev) and Vladimir Linyov, Doctor of Technical Sciences (Adani Company, Minsk), who organized the innovative production of digital X-ray systems of various purposes, necessary for the care of people's health and safety. They are used in medicine and airports, for example, and they are exported all over the world. Last autumn, Adani Company opened the Center for High-Tech Innovation.
A brainchild of Alexander Bodyako is created on the basis of new casting technology of “freezing”. Last year, the next production, cylinder liners for internal combustion engines and compressors for railway equipment and dual-use equipment was opened at “Technolit”. At the same time, the restored engines exceed the new ones in their resources.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘What support does innovative business provide to Belarus?’
Alexander: ‘Undoubtedly, the success in innovation is impossible without a state support of business. Taking this fact into account, the State Program for Innovative Development for 2016-2020 includes 87 projects on the creation of new enterprises and industries that are of decisive importance for the innovative development of the Republic, including 33 projects involving a private business.
In addition, a network of innovation infrastructure entities supported by the state within the state programs, has been formed in the country. There are 12 scientific and technological parks and 9 technology transfer centers among them. Their residents are engaged in the field of instrument making, mechanical engineering, electronics, information technology, software, medicine, pharmaceuticals, optics, laser, bio-and nano-technologies. “Polytechnic", the scientific and technological park of BNTU, works deeply on the development and production of general industrial and food 3D-printers. The SSPO of Powder Metallurgy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus implements the orders of the Belarusian companies that were first to evaluate the advantages and opportunities of powder metallurgy operating in 3D format. The SSPO has been developing and mastering additive technologies for more than 10 years.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘Foreign investors, like, for example, the Chinese car manufacturer, as a rule, come, with their own technologies. What contribution does the development of innovative technologies bring to domestic investors?’
Alexander: ‘We are grateful to foreigners, such as Russian, European and other foreign investors, who came to us with their capital and technology to organize a production, and in particular to the Chinese ones, who built a car assembly plant between the cities of Borisov and Zhodino. Already next year, BelG is going to produce 60,000 Geely cars.
Belarus has many own achievements, which are implemented by domestic enterprises investing in the innovative production. Of course, this is MAZ and BELAZ, MTZ, AmkodorW, the JSC “Stadler-Minsk”. Belarusian long-running electric buses of “Belkommunmash” holding company have been plying through the Belarusian capital. Recently, a new prototype of a low-field articulated electric bus with fast charging at the final points was manufactured.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘Pharmaceuticals are one of the most promising areas of the national economy. What contribution does the Belarusian science make to its development today?’
Alexander: ‘About 30 companies work on the creation of medicines in Belarus. They produce products with a volume of over 450 million USD (data for 2015). Belarus exports medical products to 30 countries. Domestic biotechnologists open new opportunities both in medicine and in pharmacy.
In recent years, a number of new highly effective drugs have appeared on the Belarusian market. Prospidilong (the development of BSU), which provides a high effect in the treatment of stomach cancer, is among them. Tsisplatzel (“Unitechprom” of BSU) for the treatment of malignant tumors of the brain and neck. It surpasses the best world analogue: the application of the drug increases the life expectancy of the patient by 2 times compared with the foreign analogue, moreover, Tsisplazel is much cheaper. The drug Fludarabine (the development of Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry) is recognized as the “gold standard in the treatment of lymphocytic leukemia.” It has no analogues in the CIS countries and it is superior in purity to the best world drug. This domestic development is one and a half times cheaper than the imported analogues.
According to calculations, the implementation of the program “Innovative Biotechnologies 2020” will enable to produce innovative products worth over 65 million USD. Its priority themes were not only purely medical areas, but also preparations for agriculture and bioprocessing of waste and the creation of new generation of bacterial concentrate for the dairy industry.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘And what other areas has domestic science succeeded in fighting for a public health?’
Alexander: ‘A computer program “Intercard 77” was developed and implemented. It assesses a set of markers of the work of the myocardium. Its introduction will reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death by 10-20% (including among athletes), and reduce by 3-5 times the frequency of unreasonable implantation of rhythm-maintaining systems, as well as the cost of purchasing the imported equipment.
For the first time in the world, a method for treating cardiosurgical patients using cryopreserved allopericardium has been developed. There is a method of transplantation of tissue engineered respiratory tracts of patients with lesions of tumoral or cicatrical etiology in the piggy bank of domestic know-how.’
Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo: ‘2017 is over. Can we summarize its results?’
Alexander: ‘In 2017, we held Days of Belarusian Science in Moscow and also presented the best high-tech developments in the markets of the USA and Spain. There are already the first orders. The agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with the Slovak Republic, with the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China on the creation of the Sino-Belarus Center for the incubation of innovative projects have been concluded.
The strategy of development of science and technology for 2030-2040 was discussed, and a resolution was adopted on the strategic areas of its development at the 2nd Congress of Scientists of Belarus in December. Well-known scientists of the Union State, CIS, leading foreign academies of sciences, world scientific research organizations and centers took part in the work of the congress.
Most importantly, domestic developments were actively introduced into production, including enterprises that found cooperation partners on the Russian market. For example, the JSC “StankoGomel”, which works in a close tandem with academic and university science, is not afraid to go to the market “under the Russian flag”. The enterprise has merged with the holding “Tula Machine Building Plant” and it starts the production of a joint machine at the Russian holding plant, supplying partners with its know-how, including casting and processing of parts. Gomel residents are counting on the increase in their share due to the cooperation both on the Russian market, and the sale of Tula tools for exports. Thus scientists and producers jointly revive a tool making branch of Russia and Belarus.’
The source: Soyuznoye Gosudarstvo