New dimensions for scientific career

Belarusian scientists actively joining European research programmes
By Alexander Pashko

The Actual Possibilities for Scientific Career Development and International Mobility of Scientists seminar, hosted by Minsk, aimed to present opportunities for co-operation in science and technology between Belarus and the EU. The forum, organised by the State Science and Technology Committee of Belarus and the Belarusian Institute of System Analysis and Information Support in the Scientific and Technical Sphere, coincided with the last cycle of contests within the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which recently opened.

The forum presented FP7 opportunities, as well as the ERASMUS MUNDUS programme and others aiming to promote international sci-tech co-operation, mobility of researchers and international collaboration.

Alexander Zhigulich, Deputy Chairman of the State Science and Technology Committee, noted at the seminar that participation in EU Framework Programmes allows Belarusian scientists to make their own contribution to solving global problems, while enabling our country to benefit from international efforts. As of last November, over 30 Belarusian partners were taking part in 26 projects — funded by 1.84m Euros by Belarus. This gave our scientists access to knowledge valued at 152.4m Euros (90-times more than their contribution).

Mr. Zhigulich notes that international mobility is not a goal in itself but promotes international collaboration, enhancing science and furthering innovation. International co-operation gives Belarusian scientists access to scientific infrastructure, in addition to foreign sources of financing. In 2010, these sources accounted for around 14 percent of total expenditure on research and development. However, the most vital element is that domestic science receives access to foreign markets, where we can trade our intellectual property and sci-tech services in areas in which we are competitive.

Ambassador Maira Mora, the Head of the EU Representative Office in Belarus, spoke at the forum, noting that the EU and Belarus will only benefit from Belarusian scientists taking part in programmes promoting international mobility, since this aids integration with European science.

The State Science and Technology Committee has been supporting our country taking part in EU Framework Programmes for nine years. The National Information Point of Framework Programmes operates for this purpose, as do FP7 thematic contact points. The department annually finances several national events which aim to inform and train potential participants and to promote programmes of international co-operation with the EU, while sharing experience of project implementation.
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