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“Forecast until 2040 - on the prospects for the development of science and international cooperation”, interview with Alexander Shumilin BELTA

“Forecast until 2040 - on the prospects for the development of science and international cooperation”, interview with Alexander Shumilin BELTA

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“Forecast until 2040 - on the prospects for the development of science and international cooperation”, interview with Alexander Shumilin BELTA

It is interesting to imagine what the world will be like in a couple of decades. Will the usual way of life change beyond recognition under the influence of the rapid development of technology? What directions will be priority for the economy of the future? To keep up with the times, you need to look for answers to questions about tomorrow. Of course, the prospects for technological development of the country could not remain without the attention of experts. In Belarus, a comprehensive forecast of scientific and technological progress was developed for the years 2021-2025 and for the period until 2040. Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology Alexander Shumilin spoke about the results of the forecast of innovative entrepreneurship and international projects in an interview with BelTA.

- Alexander Gennadievich, at what stage is work on a comprehensive forecast?

- The forecast results were reviewed and approved on December 27, 2019 at a meeting of the Commission on State Science and Technology Policy under the Council of Ministers. New priorities of scientific, scientific, technical and innovative activities for 2021-2025 are proposed, promising areas of research and development for the period up to 2040 are identified.

The medium-term forecast contains detailed information on more than 300 technologies, goods and services, the development of which is expected on the world market from 2021 to 2025, as well as their ratings. Long-term includes ratings of more than 330 technologies, goods and services, the appearance and development of which is expected in the markets until 2040. The forecast was created in the context of 14 major sectors of the economy, producing more than 70% of Belarus' gross domestic product.

- What technologies, products and services will be the most promising in the coming decades?

- In the long term, technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles for delivering passengers and cargo, computer modeling of materials and processes, as well as the architecture of intelligent spaces: smart city, smart street, smart multi-unit and individual houses, may become the most promising. And, of course, the national e-government.

In the field of energy, ecology and environmental management, technologies for energy storage using hydrogen, environmental safety systems, early detection and prediction of natural and man-made emergencies will be relevant. Efficient construction materials (composites, metals, industrial ceramics), flexible electronics based on 2D materials, 3D bioprinting, electrically conductive threads for creating smart textiles, technologies and equipment for additive manufacturing in various industries will be in demand.

- And bioengineering, chemistry, medicine?

- In these areas, cell technologies are promising for the restoration of damaged organs and tissues, chemotherapeutic agents for changing the activity of enzymes and receptors, including drugs for targeted (targeted) therapy of cancer, technology for creating new drugs using bioinformatics (computer drag design). It is worth paying attention to cellular technologies in organ transplantation as an alternative to existing immunosuppressive therapy.

In engineering, photonics, micro-, opto- and microwave electronics, technologies and equipment for the production of steels and alloys based on the electric power industry, as well as laser, electron-beam, electron-ion and electron-plasma technologies will be relevant. We also predict the development of medical robots - surgical, assistant robots for bedridden patients and people with disabilities.

In the field of agricultural and food technologies, we are waiting for smart agriculture, agricultural robots, highly productive enzyme preparations to improve the efficiency of food production, cultivated (cell) meat grown in a nutrient medium.

- What mechanisms of stimulating innovative business exist in Belarus?

- The legislation provides and operates a number of incentive measures. Income tax incentives are provided when it is received from the sale of goods of own production that are innovative or high-tech in accordance with the lists determined by the Council of Ministers. Science and technology parks and their residents, technology transfer centers pay income tax at a rate of 10%.

The funds allocated for the implementation of research, development, experimental and technological works registered in the state register of R&D, as well as equipment, instruments, materials and components imported by residents of Belarus to Belarus are exempt from value added tax the territory of the country in the prescribed manner.

The introduction of additional incentive mechanisms and incentives for innovative businesses will be made as the practice of applying the current system.

- Will they create new technology parks, technology transfer centers in Belarus?

- There are 25 subjects of innovation infrastructure in Belarus: 16 technology parks (including 3 private), 8 technology transfer centers and the Belarusian Innovation Fund. The network of technology parks covers all regional centers. The SCST together with the regional executive committees forms regional innovation sites in large regional centers. Technoparks are already operating in Pinsk, Novopolotsk, Gorki, and Lyakhovichi district. The plans include their creation in Baranovichi, Bobruisk, Borisov, Orsha and Molodechno. In January 2020, the status of a technology transfer center was assigned to Baranavichy State University in order to implement the development of university science in the real sector of the regional economy.

The SCST developed and introduced systemic measures to develop technology parks as regional innovation sites for organizing high-tech industries. They were given the opportunity to pursue a flexible rental policy, taking into account the level of technological structure of production and the duration of residents. Technoparks and their residents are exempted from VAT and import customs duties when importing into Belarus technological equipment and components for sale projects under the State Program for Innovative Development. In addition, technology parks form special trust funds for innovative development. These funds finance activities to organize activities and develop the material and technical base of technology parks. In addition, funds are allocated for the implementation of innovative projects involving the commercialization of scientific and technical developments by residents.

- What did you manage to achieve in 10 years of the republican contest of innovative projects?

- This, in fact, is the country's main competition for identifying and promoting young talented and promising specialists. Winners have the opportunity to receive financial support for the implementation of innovative projects. Participation in the competition promotes promising developments, informs potential investors and consumers about them. From 2010 to 2019, nearly 1.3 thousand projects were considered. The number of participants is growing every year, which means that such a support mechanism is in demand among developers. The Competition Council is now working on a new concept for its implementation, taking into account the accumulated experience and best international practices.

The main objective of the organizers has always been the search for innovative projects that can be commercialized. Even the best innovative ideas should be “dressed” in the appropriate shell - the business plan of the project. Therefore, training seminars are held annually for participants with the participation of leading Belarusian and foreign experts in innovative and venture activities, business planning. Over the past few years, not only authors of projects who have applied for participation in the competition, but also developers, entrepreneurs interested in developing their own business have taken part in training seminars.

- What will be the new intellectual property strategy being developed in Belarus?

- The strategy is intended to be a continuation of work on the development of the national system in this area. This includes legislation, improving infrastructure, and improving the efficiency of protection, assessment and management of intellectual property at various levels. It is necessary to develop national branding based on national sectors of the economy, as well as a set of incentive tools to expand the practice of creating and using intellectual property. The result of the implementation of the strategy should be to increase the competitiveness of Belarusian producers and the national economy as a whole.

At the end of 2019, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the World Intellectual Property Organization on the procedure for alternative dispute resolution in this area. The plans for 2020 include determining the personnel of mediators and support staff, their training, obtaining the necessary permits, preparing the material and technical base. The opening of the mediation center on the basis of the National Center for Intellectual Property is planned in 2020.

It is important to note that the economy of intellectual property has recently been characterized by significant rates of development. Thus, the export of services in the field of fees for the use of its facilities in 2019 reached $ 100 million, which is twice as much as in 2017.

- What changes have been recently prepared in the legislative framework in the field of intellectual property?

- Active and painstaking work continues to further improve national legislation in this area. In July last year, the head of state signed the Law "On Amending the Law of the Republic of Belarus" On Copyright and Related Rights, "certain provisions of which have already entered into force, others will come into force on May 27, 2020. It includes, among other things, clarification of objects of legal protection, individual wordings of the conceptual apparatus, optimization of the legal mechanisms for protecting copyright and related rights.The law also provides for the improvement of the mechanism for paying royalties along with the expansion of permissible cases of free use legally published works while ensuring the educational process.

In addition, work is underway to sign the Treaty on the Laws on Industrial Designs and Belarus to join the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Joining this agreement will allow you to take advantage of it. First of all, the applicant will be given the opportunity to receive protection for his industrial designs in a number of states. To do this, you need to file one international application in one language with the payment of patent fees in one currency to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (including using the electronic system). Thus, applicants get rid of the need for separate national registration in each of the states in which they seek protection.

In addition, the holder of the international registration in relation to an industrial design will be able, in a similar simplified manner, to take measures to maintain its legal protection in force, as well as make the necessary changes to the international registration. At the same time, the costs of providing legal protection and maintaining a patent in force are significantly reduced.

- Belarus and Russia are developing new draft concepts for joint scientific and technical programs. In what areas?

- Draft concepts touch on many pressing scientific issues. Among them are intelligent information analysis systems, new laser materials and technologies, optoelectronics and microelectronics, space, multifunctional unmanned aerial systems, ultra-high energy storage devices and drives based on them, nanoindustry equipment, additive technologies (3D printing). Significant areas for further joint research include products of deep processing of peat and sapropels, physiologically active substances in the pharmaceutical industry, technology of regenerative medicine and the prevention of human dysfunctions, and much more.

- What applications were received for the Union State Prize in the field of science and technology?

- The cooperation of Belarus and Russia in the scientific and technical field, including the development of mechanisms to support our scientists and research teams, seems to me very promising. This is what our countries need. And a lot of work has been done in this direction.

In total, 18 applications were submitted for the Union State Prize in the field of science and technology. The scope of scientific work is very wide. For example, space subjects -  

joint research by scientists in space exploration using the Belarusian space system of remote sensing of the Earth and the Russian-Belarusian orbital constellation of the BKA and Canopus-V satellites. Scientific works also concern high-performance information and computing technologies, ecological farming and animal husbandry, the creation of new highly effective and biologically safe products, and medicine. We expect that joint scientific activity will receive a powerful impetus due to the assessment by the heads of our states of the best achievements.

- What other countries have active scientific and technical cooperation?

- Belarus has agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with more than 50 countries of the world. From 2016 to 2019, new agreements were concluded with Algeria, Georgia, Israel, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Serbia, Slovakia, Latvia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Cooperation with China in the scientific and technical field is expanding. If in 2015-2016 21 Belarusian-Chinese projects were implemented, then in 2019, 35 joint projects in the field of microelectronics, optical and laser technologies, biotechnologies, and new materials were approved for implementation (an increase of 60%). In 2019, Belinfond joined the Association for the implementation of the ISKRA program in the Sino-Belarusian Great Stone Industrial Park. The Association supports the development of small and medium-sized innovative enterprises in Belarus, including start-ups, high-tech industries, and also promotes the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements in industry.

Over seven years of participation in the 7th framework program of the European Union for Science and Innovation (from 2007 to 2013), our scientists took part in 64 projects with a total funding of 5 million euros for the Belarusian side. Moreover, the participation of Belarusian organizations in the Horizon 2020 program from 2014 to 2019 made it possible to attract financing in the amount of already 7 million euros for 48 projects. I am sure that in the Horizon Europe program that is replacing Horizon 2020, this amount will be significantly increased.

Source: BELTA