By Denis Patomichev
Belarus’ Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich who recently headed the National Academy of Sciences, knows well the importance of innovation and was already familiar with many of the novelties on show at the exhibition. Nevertheless, he chatted animatedly with those demonstrating their projects, giving them the chance to share their plans for promoting their new designs, to discuss their problems and, as ever, ask for assistance.
Over 100 enterprises, including 28 private, took part in the exhibition at the National Library of Belarus, demonstrating over 800 innovations. The latest medical breakthroughs perhaps claimed the greatest attention: ‘Nitargal’ — used to cure cardiovascular illnesses; equipment to protect from mobile phone radiation; and nutritional foods for children. Meanwhile, people crowded to see the pilotless aircraft. Light-emitting diode lamps and a modular road-train were also intriguing.
Some stands were really only of interest to specialists: Belarusian ‘Avtokroi’ fashion design system caused a stir among clothing manufacturers, while public services and drinking water producers were keen to learn about new water purification methods. New DNA-diagnostic tests aroused interest among investors from several countries.
To be innovative, a design should be original, although it may improve on an existing invention. Of course, to be useful, an innovation must also have a practical application. A square wheel would certainly be novel, but not very marketable! Application on commercial markets is of the greatest importance.
The universities produced the greatest impression, as the shining eyes of teachers evinced. Brest Technical University has joined its German colleagues in launching a project in the sphere of robotechnics and now seeks an investor to bring the design to life. It’s not enough to think of a new idea, make it and test it. Scientists now also need investors, business plans and marketing experts.
Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that he was most impressed by pharmaceutical projects — particularly a drug for treating cancer, called ‘Cisplatin’ (whose analogue exists only in the USA). Clinical investigations have shown that 51 percent of patients in the 1st and 2nd stages of cancer recover fully and a further 40 percent gain longer life expectancy after surgery. During the 3rd and 4th stages, their life expectancy doubles and there are also cases of full recovery. No chemotherapy is needed and the cost is just $300 — against $15,000 for the American analogue. Mr. Myasnikovich was also pleased with the diagnostic equipment on show, saying, “Biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and molecular technologies can help us put ourselves on the map. We should also be working more actively in the field of power engineering, introducing technologies and developing our own. This is our future.”
The exhibition proved that innovations exist not only in words but deeds, which can be useful and competitive. All else will follow.