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"Innovation branches of tomorrow", an article by A. Shumilin for Nauka I Innovatsiyi

12/18/17 4:34 PM / Views:448

The world is on the threshold of the sixth technological order. Its outlines are just beginning to take shape in the developed countries of the world, primarily in the USA, Japan and the People’s Republic of China. They are characterized by a focus on the development and application of knowledge-based technologies, or so-called high-tech ones. Biotechnologies and nanotechnologies, genetic engineering, membrane and quantum technologies, photonics, micromechanics and thermonuclear energy are within hearing. The synthesis of achievements in these areas should result in the creation, for example, of a quantum computer and artificial intelligence and, ultimately, to provide a fundamentally new level in the governance systems of the state, society and economy. Experts predict that while maintaining the current pace of the technical and economic development, the sixth technological structure will finally take shape in 2020, and it will enter the maturity phase the 2040s.

According to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, precisely those countries, generating new knowledge, have an advantage in the commercial use of these ideas and in the export of high-tech products that bring billions in profits. Moreover, those who are the first to spread technologies, occupy the leading positions in the world.

This topic did not appear in Belarus today. Back in 2007, the Presidential Directive No. 3 of June 14, 2007 "On Priority Areas for Strengthening the Economic Security of the State" set the task of creating the conditions for increasing the output of innovative and high-tech products created using technologies of 5th  and 6th technological structures. 

A significant part of technology belongs to the fourth technological structure, and almost a third belongs to the  third  one in the Republic. Hence the whole complexity of the task facing the national science is clear: in order to enable our country to become one of the states with the sixth technological structure in the near future, it must, figuratively speaking, cross the stage through the fifth order.

All policies and programs adopted at the state level, as well as international cooperation, are aimed at supporting innovation and improving the business environment.The greatest attention is paid to the development of high technologies and high-tech industries, based on the development of the 5th and 6th  technological structures. As a result, the country ranked 38th out of 190 economies in the World Bank Doing Business rating and is one of the most active states in the overall number of reforms to improve the business climate. Belarus is expanding the sector of information and communication technologies and is among the ten most intensively developing countries in the world. The Republic's position in the Global Innovation Index in certain categories that assess the level of human capital and research is also quite high. 

Achievements of Russian scientists in various fields of fundamental and applied science are recognized by the world community. Each year, we create from 3 to 5 world-class innovations.

Scientists of the National Center for Particle Physics and High Energy of the Belarusian State University took part in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). They controlled the operation of one of the collider detectors, a compact muon solenoid (CMS). 19 Belarusian physicists are among the co-authors of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC, one of the most significant achievements of modern fundamental physics. 

The launch of the Belarusian satellite for remote sensing of the Earth in 2012 can be considered as undoubted success. The target equipment on the domestic satellite, manufactured by the JSC "Peleng" is the leading design and engineering enterprise in the field of optoelectronic instrumentation. The satellite weight is about 400 kg. The resolution in the panchromatic range is about two meters. 

We can name the following world-class innovations created in the Republic of Belarus:

- a test system, which enables to determine the concentration of protein-oncogene in samples of the studied tissue in real time;

- artificial heart valves of world level, but at the same time costing 5 times less than the foreign counterparts. The first man with an artificial valve lived more than 7 years;

- technologies of stem cell therapy providing the healing of human trophic ulcers that do not respond to traditional methods of treatment;

- an atomic force microscope with software that enables to measure micromechanical properties of materials and microorganisms at the nanoscale level;

- an environmentally friendly microfertilizer of the new generation of "Nanoplant" based on micronutrient nanoparticles, which increases the yield by 2-3 times, ensures rapid germination and  a better acclimation rate of seedlings, but at the same time improves the soil fertility, stops erosion, removes heavy metal debris and chemical fertilizers, enriches and revitalizes the soil;

- a creation of the world's first heavy-duty dump truck BelAZ-75710 with a carrying capacity of 450 tons (entered in the Guinness Book of World Records);

- a development of the E 433 Vitovt Max Electro electric bus, the main distinguishing features of which are the advanced system of energy storage devices based on supercapacitors and improved consumer properties in comparison with foreign analogues; 

- an experimental sample of a supercapacitor for electric transport, the advantages of which are lightness, compactness, fast charging, longer service life, with a number of recharges 2-3 times higher than those of analogues.The supercapacitor consists of graphene-like materials developed in the Republic of Belarus.

One of the main tasks facing Belarus is the creation of a high-tech and knowledge-based economy that can compete in international markets. The fulfillment of this task is possible only through the widespread introduction of scientific solutions and innovations in the production sector.The ICT sector is a kind of "locomotive of innovation" in the country, but such high-tech sectors as microelectronics, photonics, optoelectronics, LED technology, fine chemicals, biotechnologies  and nanotechnologies and high-precision machinery will be added to it in the near future. 

We can develop and supply microelectronics abroad for a wide range of industrial activities, special technological equipment for radio electronics, optolaser medical equipment and communications already now. Our energy-saturated tractors and other types of agricultural machinery, trucks, heavy quarry equipment and multifunctional unmanned aerial vehicles are in demand  throughout the world.  

The assortment of the traditional sectors of the industry will be renewed and the competitiveness will be improved, new types of rolled metal, environmentally friendly and energy efficient municipal rolled metal, rail and road transport at the level of Euro-5 and Euro-6, new types of quarry equipment with the use of unmanned control technologies, traction drive systems of in-house design, new hydromechanical transmissions, etc. will be produced due to the formation of the high-tech sector. The further development of ICT and IT will enable to create modern automated processes and systems, three- dimensional and four-dimensional modeling technologies, visualization technologies and 3D printing.They can be used in the design, development and manufacture of prototypes of products, as well as directly in the process of its production. 

Every year Belarus becomes more and more famous abroad as a major center of medical tourism. Our country is visited by more and more foreigners who come for a qualified medical help, not only for plastic procedures, but also for complex operations in the field of oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, etc.

The agro-industrial sector of the Republic has all the prerequisites for entering the world market with the development of new varieties of plants and animal breeds based on modern research methods, using biotechnological test systems and markers and DNA technologies that enable to determine a genetic status and manage heredity. 

In this regard, we cannot fail to mention the project on the creation of BelBiograd National Science and Technology Park, a modern cluster of scientific research and development in the field of pharmaceutics, nanotechnology and biotechnology, capable of combining advanced science and business and ensuring Belarus's access to new markets. For this we have all the basic conditions: a favorable investment climate and business management regime, the presence of a serious scientific reserve in the bioindustry, nanotechnologies, medicine and pharmaceuticals, a high level of human capital development and the availability of qualified personnel that will enable to have the world center of researches in this area in the foreseeable future in the country.

HTP can be called one of the leading innovative IT clusters in Central and Eastern Europe. A unique favorable environment for the development of business in the field of information technology, where the unprecedented tax benefits are combined with the availability of well-trained professionals for the IT industry, is created there. They participate in IT projects of any complexity, starting with the system analysis, consulting, hardware selection and finishing with the design and development of complex systems.

The consumers of Belarusian software created by HTP residents are well-known world corporations such as Microsoft, HP, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Google, Toyota, Citibank, MTV, Expedia, Reuters, Samsung, HTC, Mitsubishi, British Petroleum, British Telecom, the London Stock Exchange, the World Bank, etc. Belarusian IT people entered the top of 100 best outsourcers in the world. The startups such as Viber, successfully competing with Skype, Masquerade, which was acquired by Facebook, and, of course, the World of Tanks tank shooter, played by over 120 million players worldwide, were born in Belarus. 

Now the field of high technologies comes to a new stage in Belarus. The work to develop a system that will stimulate the creation of its own high-tech products is underway. After all, in the future, almost all the companies operating in a variety of areas, including large industrial enterprises, will be IT. 

In order to form an innovation economy based on a business initiative, a personal interest in the creation and widespread introduction of new technologies and industries, our country is implementing the State Program of Innovative Development of the Republic of Belarus for 2016-2020. Its implementation supposes ensuring the concentration of resources of innovative projects based on high-tech developments in such areas as nuclear and alternative energy; information and communication, aerospace technologies; biotechnologies and nanotechnologies; pharmacy and medical technology; microelectronics and optoelectronics; additive technologies. 

32 of 87 projects of the state program are based on the technologies of the fifth and sixth technological structures.The largest of them are:

- construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant;

- organization of the assembly of passenger cars at JSC “BelgG”, the first factory for small-assembly assembly of car sets (CKD);

- construction of a plant for the production of sheet metal and white tin.

The program provides for an increase in the share of small and medium-sized innovative organizations in the formation of the country's gross domestic product. The availability of material, financial and intellectual resources for private sector enterprises, within the framework of public-private partnership, will be ensured  for this. Also, in accordance with the program, a unified system of sustainable functioning of innovation infrastructure entities will be created in the Republic. The following measures have already been taken for this:

- specific areas of activity are determined proceeding from the needs of the development of this or that region, and also the availability of ready-to-commercial developments;

- the infrastructure of the innovation area for the implementation of the innovation cycle in full has been expanded (from the idea to the output of products to markets);

- mechanisms for supporting small business have been improved.

The implementation of the SPID will enable to provide the growth of GDP, by at least 5% according to calculations, and to create more than 9 thousand new high-production jobs with a level of added value for each higher than in the European Union by 2020.

The results of the development of the national research sector are most clearly seen in the field of intellectual property. Therefore, in 2016 Belarus took the 10th and 27th places in the world according to the number of useful models and patents by origin, respectively. This is facilitated by the formation of effective conditions and incentives for the creation and use of intellectual property objects, as well as harmonization of the main provisions of legislation in this area and law enforcement practice in the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.

The SCST is constantly working to increase the efficiency of using the results of scientific and technical activities created primarily with the involvement of budgetary funds within the tasks set by the Head of State and the Government of the Republic of Belarus.  For this purpose, a center for the promotion of the commercialization of intellectual property objects has been established on the basis of the National Center for Intellectual Property in 2016.  The project "Intellectual Property Exchange" has been implemented since 2011, which includes promising inventions and commercial proposals implemented within the Union State.

In particular, five Union programs have already been implemented in the space area, two more are being developed now. Our specialists managed to create a constellation of satellites (the Russian "Canopus-V" and the Belarusian BKA-1) due to the cooperation with Russian colleagues. Now we are working on BKA-2. The management and reception of information from the devices are interchangeable: in cases of failure of one of them, our scientists will be able to operate the "Canopus", and the Russians will be able to operate the Belarusian satellite. In fact, it is the development of a new branch, space technologies, for the country. 

There are programs in the field of electronics, microwave and LED technology and devices based on them among the mutually beneficial areas of cooperation between scientists from Belarus and Russia. A wide range of medical issues is being solved, including stem cells, technologies for their use, new drugs, equipment and new materials. There are good results in the field of biotechnology. 

At present, 34 draft concepts of union programs are being developed and agreed upon. “Additivity”, “Prism”, “Len”, “Integration-US”, “Safety-SG”, “Novopol”, “Prism”, “Motor-Synthesis Gas”, “Microsystems and Micro Sensors”, “Koval” and etc. are among them.

In addition, the interaction with such leading international organizations and centers as the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is intensified. 

Belarus has been participating in the EU Framework Programs for the Development of Scientific Research and Technologies since 2002. Our scientific organizations implemented 64 projects in the field of energy, information and communication technologies, nanoscience, new materials and medicine with funding of about 5 million euros  in the previous 7th program. Belarusian scientists have implemented 30 projects In the current EU program "Horizon 2020" only for 2014-2016. They received about 6 million euros, that is, attracted additional funds, thereby ensuring extra budgetary funding of domestic science  during this time. By the way, last year foreign sources accounted for 16.6% of total expenditure on research which is quite a high figure even by European standards. 

The largest initiative of the European Commission with the participation of Belarus is "Grafen" with a budget of 1 billion euros. The main objective of the project is the transition from the study of this new unique material to its widespread industrial use during the next 10 years. 

The NAS of Belarus has joined the major international collaborations on the coordination of national scientific programs, the so-called ERANET Cofund  ones thanks to many years of effort. This is a relatively new form of cooperation for the EU, which is absolutely new for our country, involving the interaction of the European Commission and national customers of scientific programs, government bodies, agencies and scientific foundations from the European Union and interested third countries. 

The Republic continues to actively work on the program of Maria Sklodowska-Curie, within which the exchange of scientific and innovative personnel is especially popular. The expanded presence of Belarusian scientists in the implementation of the program "Horizon-2020" should be noted. Currently they carry out 23 projects.

The participation in joint scientific and technical programs has a significant impact on the development of the economy and the area of science and research in the Republic of Belarus. The achievement of high results corresponding to the world level is ensured. A basis for further scientific activity is formed in the interests of the participating states, and the competitiveness of the national economies of the cooperating parties is increasing. 

These areas of scientific and technical cooperation and the results of the work of domestic scientists make it possible to state that Belarus is starting to form innovative branches of the 6th technological structure. This is also evidenced by the draft strategy “Science and Technology: 2018-2040”, the implementation of which will achieve the following indicators:

-  internal costs for research and development will be 2.5-3% of GDP;

- 30% of these costs will be channeled to breakthrough research and development;

- the share of high-tech sectors in the structure of the economy will reach 10%;

- the share of innovative products in the total volume of shipped industrial products will approach 25%.

The taken measures will ensure the achievement of high results corresponding to the world level. They will form the basis for effective research activities, and will also contribute to improving the competitiveness of our economy.