Aleksandr Lukashenko awards Doctor of Sciences diplomas and professor certificates

    President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that it is time for a radical modernization of the Belarusian economy and science. The head of state made the statement as he presented Doctor of Sciences diplomas and professor certificates to researchers and educational research workers on 25 January.

    The President traditionally awards diplomas and certificates to Belarusian scientists on the eve of the Belarusian Science Day.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “A science of its own is an inalienable attribute of any developed nation. Moreover, it is an indispensable part of the people’s culture; it affects the spiritual and intellectual environment in the society. We should be proud of outstanding discoveries and inventions as much as of pieces of art or sports records,” the head of state believes.

    “Fundamental scientific discoveries certainly belong to the entire world. But the countries that generate new knowledge enjoy the competitive edge in the commercial use of these ideas, in the export of high-tech produce that generates billions in profits,” the President said.

    “Moreover, those, who are the first to spread a technology, advance to the leading positions in the world. Therefore, well-developed science is one of the things that guarantee the national security,” the President stressed.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that solid scientific traditions and schools evolved in Belarus back in the Soviet times. “We have managed to preserve and multiply this resource,” the President believes. The head of state remarked that Belarusian scientists work together with the world’s best physicists to discover new particles using the Large Hadron Collider. Innovative methods of Belarusian medics are successfully used to combat diseases. Belarusian specialists are successful at the development of information technologies and biotechnologies, the creation of new varieties of plants and nanomaterials.

    “However, today it is high time we radically modernized the Belarusian economy and science, ” the head of state stressed.

    “We cannot afford dispersing funds for the sake of satisfying purely academic curiosity. The Belarusian science should be tailored to meet requirements of our sovereign state and its structure should become more compact,” the President said. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, it is essential to clearly determine what strategic areas Belarusian scientists should explore on their own, what areas it is advisable to work on together with foreign colleagues, and what foreign research products it is more profitable to buy.

    “Research into the society, the human being should give us a profound understanding of the global changes going on in the world. They cannot but affect us. Look at how radically the world has changed, what colossal information flows affect every person. Along with progressive things they bring about the unseen before capacity to manipulate individuals and huge masses of people,” the President noted. In his words, the nature of all these phenomena requires a closer study for the sake of enjoying the benefits of computer civilization while protecting oneself from new threats.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the necessity to enhance the role of science in elaborating social and economic development targets and plans. He stressed that the country needs researchers able to generate unconventional and out-of-the-box solutions.

    The President remarked that today the alternation of scientific generations is a relevant issue. The average age of doctors of science at universities is 61 years; candidates of science are 10 years younger. Fewer people choose to pursue postgraduate studies. “What is the number one problem? Is it all about small grants and small salaries for fledgling scientists and other material factors? Or is it about inadequate work to encourage young talented people to pursue a career in science?” the head of state asked.

    “Some complain that we funnel about 1% of the gross domestic product into science, while abroad the figure makes 2%, 3% or 4%. However, the bulk of resources provided for research in foreign countries is invested by commercial companies that pay for results. Belarusian scientists only create intellectual products that sometimes cannot be commercialized. Moreover, researchers and manufacturers cannot even fully use resources of the innovation fund,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “Let us be pragmatic. If you need more resources, we will figure out how to find them. But we will do it only if you tell us clearly how these resources will be spent. In this case you will be responsible for the intellectual and commercial results,” the President emphasized.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles does not only perform supervisory functions. It is also expected to provide assistance to young scientists while preserving strict requirements to the quality of dissertations. The commission should be able to identify a promising idea and support it despite some technicalities. It should also promote the status and prestige of scientific research.

    In 2012 a doctor's degree was conferred on 46 people, a professor’s degree was bestowed upon 33 seekers. “A lot has been invested in each of you, now your duty is to share your expertise and knowledge with younger generations. You will have to maintain our academic traditions, support a high level of research methodology Belarus is famous for around the world. The most important thing is bringing up dedicated enthusiasts who are ready to share their talent in the interest of their native country,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko praised the achievements of Vladimir Kalinov from the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences. His research is used for designing nuclear reactors and space equipment. The President also singled out Dmitry Migas from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, whose work opens up new horizons for optics and nano-electronics. “Surgical methods developed by the Head of the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Center, Oleg Rummo, save lives and health of patients from around the world,” the President said. Aleksandr Lukashenko also praised the contribution into archeological studies made by Denis Duk from the Polotsk State University.

    The President congratulated the attendees on the degrees and their professional holiday – Belarusian Science Day.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the meeting was a good venue to discuss the most urgent problems of the Belarusian science and invited the attendees to join the conversation.

    Head of the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Center Oleg Rummo said that Belarus has necessary conditions to develop transplantology and apply scientific achievements into practice.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko, in turn, said that the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Center can serve as an example of timely, prompt and effective state support of the most promising branches of science.

    “Everything depends not on the state but on you. When I decided to set up the center I thought that it will develop and will save thousand of lives as a result. But the main thing is that we will have a new school we have never had before. Indeed, a great school emerged in Belarus in a very short period of time,” the head of state said.

    Ilimbek Murzaliyev, Dean of the Chair of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases of Animals of the Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology Department of the K.I. Skryabin Kyrgyz National Agrarian University, thanked the Belarusian head of state for the development of scientific, cultural, and education ties between Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. The scientist pointed out the need to promote sheep breeding in Belarus. In his words, sheep breeding is the most economic and profitable branch of animal husbandry that Belarus can advance to a decent level. According to Ilimbek Murzaliyev, the country could breed new sheep varieties, improve the technologies and start making raw materials for worsted and textile industries. He remarked that conditions in Brest Oblast and some parts of Grodno Oblast are optimal for sheep breeding and added that he was ready to provide scientific to practice aid in all the matters concerning the technology to develop sheep breeding.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko was thankful for the offer and reminded that the government had been instructed to find resources to resume sheep breeding. The President remarked that it will become a priority in animal husbandry. “I wish we would make a good step in this direction,” the head of state said.

    One of the scientists of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus pointed out the need to enhance cooperation between Belarusian and Russian scientists. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that there no impediments for this and no top-level decisions are required. The President noted the he is in favor of such cooperation enhancement. “You will decide how to cooperate to make profits by yourselves,” the Belarusian heads of state said.

    Professor of the Laser Technology Sub-Department of the Belarusian National Technical University Nina Artyukhina noted that Belarus became a space power after launching its own satellite. In her words, at present Belarusian scientists and specialists are determined to develop the necessary infrastructure for space research as soon as possible; it also pertains to designing of the Earth remote sensing systems.

    The head of state reminded that he made a decision in favor of the satellite in a bid to support and promote Belarusian research traditions.

    “Some people would discourage me from doing that and would say that there is no one to catch up with and outpace. You tipped the balance in favor of the satellite. We have scientists who know something in this field, so I wanted to support them and the expertise and knowledge they possess. I thought this will give a boost to space research. Now that the satellite was launched, all the related projects should generate profit, including the satellite,” the President said.

    “You said about the development of space infrastructure – we will do it. However, again, the money is not invested in putting some toy into orbit to brag about. There should be commercial benefits, profit from all these efforts,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the state will keep supporting scientists, but expects results from them.

    “We will invest in new technologies which development has been fragmented so far. We are always ready to support scientists. I should say that today no scientist will say that he does not receive money or that the financing is inadequate,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that a year ago a decision was made to channel resources of the innovation funds solely into the promotion of Belarusian science, into projects that will be useful for the country. According to the President, the money was not utilized.

    “Therefore, it is not about the government. Give us promising projects, be it collective or individual projects and we will finance them. But these should be innovative projects. Therefore, we have supported and will support scientists, but we will not spend money thoughtlessly. We will not give money away and then forget about it, this is not going to happen,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko also said that young scientists should be provided with housing. He stressed that within one year rented homes will be built for young scientists in Minsk. The President stressed that the future rented homes will be distributed among universities. “We will have about 1,000 apartments in Minsk alone within a year,” the head of state said. “Thus, people will have the vital thing — a roof over their heads. And if science is their calling, the scientists will work. Science is not the place where it is possible to earn money right after arrival,” the President remarked.

    The President congratulated the attendees on the Belarusian Science Day and expressed hope that the meeting will inspire scientists on new discoveries.