Researching is good, but inventing and implementing is more vital

Is it really possible to diagnose an illness and select appropriate treatment relying on genetic information? Can we pilot a helicopter or drive a car in complete darkness? How can trains fly over rails and what makes polyethylene film dissolve? What is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the damaging effects of mobile phones? These and many other questions were easily answered by scientists at the Youth Innovation Forum, also attended by Alexander Lukashenko, at the National Library

By Igor Slavinsky

There were 136 exhibits on show at the Forum, with every scientific institution and university bringing something unique. Several hours were needed to even have a short glance at them all. The President changed his schedule to devote enough time to these talented researchers and their work, since innovations are a top priority for the state.

The USA is a global leader not only because of its huge military expenditure and a printing machine for dollars; a third of all global patents are issued there. It has a ‘zest’ for experimentation and forward thinking — something Belarus also aspires to.

The Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences, Mikhail Myasnikovch, spoke for a while about preparations for the Innovation Forum. He explained, “We had to organise a preliminary selection contest, since two hundred applications were received to participate. Thank God, we had so many to choose from; a decade ago, this was hardly possible. Today, twenty percent of all Academy of Sciences’ researchers are under the age of 30.”

Our clever young Belarusians are already in demand countrywide and are much respected abroad. They directly participated in the major experiment of the 21st century: the Large Hadron Collider. The Forum included reports on how our young scientists’ developments are being used in China and Russia, alongside the USA and Venezuela. The President was keen to learn about the latest breakthrough in cancer treatment. Surgeons can now learn whether they have removed all dangerous cells from a patient’s body within seconds; they don’t even need to leave the operating room. The device is soon to pass clinical tests and, within a year, could be applied in medicine.

Speaking about nano-technologies, Mr. Myasnikovich noted with criticism, “We’ve achieved so much in this sphere but no boom has been observed.” He does believe that our young people have the ability to do well on the scientific market. Seven of the technologies and materials on show at the Forum were worldwide novelties, while 17 inventions were new to Belarus.

“If these developments are export oriented and import substituting, then they should be implemented into production,” noted Mr. Lukashenko. “Here, at the National Library, all interested people should be present — to see everything with their own eyes.” On addressing the officials, the President said that their role ‘is not merely to praise, but to take the developers by hand and establish their contact with manufacturers’.

The President has promised to increase support for science if it brings tangible fruit from the results seen at the Forum.

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