Aleksandr Lukashenko presents doctor of sciences diplomas and professor certificates

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The main criterion to assess the work of scientists is its impact on the growth of the national economy, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he presented doctor of sciences diplomas and professor certificates on 24 January.

The head of state pointed out that the year 2013 was crucial for the national science. “There were vigorous debates as to the further development of the scientific sector in the country and its flagship, the Academy of Sciences,” the President said. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that embarking on the reforms, the country, first of all, proceeded from the belief that breakthrough science is not only the matter of prestige but also is one of the guarantors of the national security. “Here it is very important to tread carefully and preserve our strong Academy and other scientific centers being the sources of intellectual energy, able to generate innovative ideas for the country’s successful development,” the head of state believes.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that every effort had been taken in the country to avoid radical measures. Scientists took an active part in the development of the national comprehensive scientific development program. The program envisages a gradual modernization of the sphere. According to the President, its implementation will allow bringing the operational framework of the scientific sphere in compliance with the needs of modern Belarus, prioritizing breakthrough research aimed at innovative manufacturing and development of cutting-edge information, space, chemical, biological, engineering and agricultural technologies.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that Belarusian researchers would take the most active part in its implementation. The President also stressed that a part of the program focuses on the improvement of the training and attestation system for the scientific personnel. It is designed to secure a bigger number of researchers, first of all, in the strategically important areas, and develop national scientific schools.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that in due time the country took a decision to preserve the state system of awarding academic titles. "Doctor of sciences and professor titles in Belarus is the testimony of really high scientific qualifications recognized all over the world," the head of state said. Last year, 39 people were awarded the title of doctor of sciences and more than 500 became candidates of sciences. The academic title of professor was conferred on 49 people, associate professor on 369. More than 60% of the theses were the works on natural, technical and agricultural sciences determining the level of socio-economic development of the state.

However, the President believes that there is a need to improve the training system beginning with magistracy and postgraduate study. In his opinion, it is necessary to enhance the responsibility of supervisors and scientific councils of organizations for the relevance and practical importance of research, implementation of research results in the production, educational process or their use in managerial decision making. The head of state remarked that the Higher Attestation Commission should coordinate this work, from the earliest stages to the quality of theses, and make sure pseudoscientific works do not make their way to science.

Aleksandr Lukashenko presented doctor of sciences diplomas to the authors of fundamental and advanced research in natural, applied and social sciences. "Your results confirm that Belarusian researchers hold the leading positions in different areas," the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko presented a diploma to Yelena Vorobyeva, head of the laboratory of the NASB General and Inorganic Chemistry Institute. She has developed an innovative technology for the dehydration and complete processing of sylvinite ore wastes. This is the most advanced technological achievement in the mining industry which is already used at OAO Belaruskali.

Leading researcher of the N.N.Aleksandrov Oncology and Medical Radiology Center Viktor Malkevich has introduced new methods of esophageal cancer treatment which helped to double the survival rate of patients. According to the President, such results are especially significant because they testify to the high quality of medical services in Belarus.

The head of state pointed out that the works of Nadezhda Yuvchenko, head of the music art department of the NASB center for the research in the Belarusian culture, language and literature, helped systematize, preserve and promote the Belarusian musical legacy.

The professor certificates were bestowed upon First Provost of the Vitebsk State Academy of Veterinary Medicine Alexander Subbotin who specializes in the biological methods of preventing parasitic diseases in wild and domestic animals, chief of the intensive care department of the Mogilev Oblast Hospital Alexei Marochkov, chair head of the Belarusian State Arts Academy Vladimir Slobodchikov and other lecturers.

The President extended congratulations to the honorees on the Belarusian Science Day and the anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, wished them new creative achievements and meritorious students.

After the reception the head of state invited the scientists to take part in the discussion of the development prospects of the Belarusian science.

Leading researcher of the N.N.Aleksandrov Oncology and Medical Radiology Center Viktor Malkevich told the President about the implementation of the cancer treatment development program. As part of the program a number of specialized institutions were modernized and new equipment was purchased. “At present we conduct the surgeries that were considered impossible or unique ten years ago,” he stressed.

Viktor Malkevich also pointed out huge attention that the President gives to the development of cancer treatment and asked the head of state to consider the issue of setting up a nationwide anti-cancer fund.

Aleksandr Lukashenko promised that he will pay a visit to the research center this year to discuss the implementation of instructions he had given and to consider proposals, including on the need to establish the fund. “We will consider these issues and make corresponding decisions. A lot has been done for the healthcare sector in recent years. We have invested huge funds to shake it up, upgrade it and introduce the cutting-edge standards,” the head of state remarked.

The President said that during the visit to the center it would be good to discuss the prospects of the healthcare system in general. “The biggest problem of our healthcare is that people take their health for granted. Maybe, this is because healthcare services are free? Our people are unable and even unwilling to take care of their health like they do in the West, in rich America, and even Russia. People there are afraid of falling sick, because it is bad and because they will spend a fortune on treatment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Therefore, we need to hold a serious discussion about it. I do not mean that we will introduce fee-for-service medicine. Maybe, it would be wrong and those post-Soviet nations that did it now have enormous issues. However, we should do something about it,” the Belarusian President said.

Professor of the Vitebsk State Technological University Dmitry Ryklin raised the topic of the contribution of industry-specialized research to the social and economic development of the country. The textile industry is currently going through large-scale technical upgrade using the state support. In this respect the Belarusian science has to address a number of issues, namely to raise production efficiency and to diversify the product range against the backdrop of tough competition with foreign manufacturers. According to the scientist, the most important tasks are to improve flax processing technologies, promote import substitution and resource saving.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that he has always kept the flax growing and processing industry on his radar. “I cannot say that this serious attention gave the result that I had expected. The flax industry is not a success here. We seem to know what to do, but we cannot overcome the technological barrier which exists today. Yes, we satisfy our demand for flax, but still it is necessary to step up its quality,” the head of state said.

According to the President, the main priority is to get economic effect from the flax growing and processing industry. The same pertains to the light industry in general. “This is one of pending issues in the Belarusian economy. Of course, in the near future we will take a closer look to this industry and will involve scientists who will unravel bottlenecks and give recommendations,” the Belarusian leader said.

In this respect Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that scientists should focus on the resolution of existing problems in the country. “I want to say that the scientists should make more proposals to the country’s government regarding ways to handle topical political and economic issues,” the head of state said.

Professor of the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy Bronislava Shelyuto made a number of concrete proposals on raising the efficiency of cattle husbandry by means of changing the structure of areas under forage crops.

Speaking about agriculture, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the country has done a lot in this sphere in the recent years. The high quality of Belarusian products is acknowledged both on conventional markets and in the European Union despite sometimes there emerge artificial barriers for local products. Further improvement of agribusiness and higher cost-effectiveness of the industry depend on the scientists.

The head of state is convinced that robust agriculture is crucial for the country’s development. Therefore, the industry needs highly-qualified workers.

Bronislava Shelyuto suggested attracting more people from rural areas to agrarian universities.

“You are absolutely right and we will do it this year,” the President said.

The President stressed once again that the quality of products is more important than the quantity. “I am convinced that the Academy of Sciences understands that and together we will make progress in this field in the near future,” the head of state said.