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Cream of science gathers in Minsk

Branch of Skolkovo Foundation to develop science and modernise economy of Belarus
By Vladimir Semenov

On meeting the Belarusian President, six months ago, Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov offered to conduct an offsite meeting of the Skolkovo Advisory Scientific Council in Belarus. Recently, in Minsk, the Russia — Belarus — Skolkovo: Common Innovation Space forum gathered about 500 leading Belarusian and Russian scientists.

Never before had so many luminaries of world science met in Minsk and few European capitals can boast such attention from the scientific community.

For our scientists (most from the National Academy of Sciences) it was a great opportunity to compare the latest innovations in scientific research. Debates and ‘round table’ discussions on 21st century technologies provided a unique opportunity for us to compare world scientific progress, while promoting domestic projects to potential investors, including the Skolkovo Foundation.

New high-tech devices and resources relating to biomedicine, computer science, space and nuclear research, and energy conservation were high on the agenda. Meeting his guests at the NASB Presidium, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Alexander Radkov, stressed the great importance of science to the present and future of Belarus. He conveyed the greetings of the President to all those present, noting that high-tech innovations are among his priorities.

The forum became possible due to the interest and support of Mr. Lukashenko. On meeting the Nobel laureate and Vice-President of the RAS, Mr. Alferov, the President approved his proposal to use Minsk as an offsite venue for the Skolkovo Advisory Scientific Council — of which Mr. Alferov is a Co-chairman. The latter has told journalists that Berlin and Novosibirsk have hosted similar events, allowing the scientific community to learn more about applying scientific theory in a commercial manner, underlining that Belarus has much to offer the world, benefitting not only itself.

The first day of the forum was held under the motto ‘Russia — Belarus — Skolkovo: Common Innovation Space’. At plenary sessions and during several thematic sections, common viewpoints were found, ready for conversion into specific agreements. Belarus’ Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich met members of the Skolkovo Advisory Scientific Council to discuss how best to boost science via the opening of a Skolkovo Foundation branch in Minsk. “We’re ready to work together to promote partnership and mutual benefit. The Belarusian Government will create favourable conditions for the formation and activities of the Skolkovo Foundation here,” remarked Mr. Myasnikovich.

The work of the Skolkovo Advisory Scientific Council has been intensive, liaising with the Academy of Sciences and the High-Tech Park. Inside the NASB Presidium, guests were able to tour an exhibition of the most brilliant achievements of Belarusian Science. Meanwhile, in the National Library, the final plenary session of the Advisory Scientific Council took place, summing up the results of the forum. According to the organisers, a significant new chapter of co-operation between the scientists of many countries is commencing.
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