Results act as good foundation
By Oksana Potvorova
According to the World Bank, Belarus has ascended to 45th position (up from 52nd in 2009). “Our country is ahead of the rest of the CIS — with the exception of Russia — as regards its index of knowledge competitiveness: the ability to generate, accept and distribute scientific knowledge,” explained the Chairman of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences’ Presidium, Anatoly Rusetsky, speaking at a session of the Council of Ministers’ Presidium. Belarus is 59th in the Knowledge Economic Index (up from 73rd in 2009) — only behind Russia and Ukraine within the CIS.
According to Mr. Rusetsky, these indices prove that the science sector in Belarus functions well and is developing dynamically. Of course, problems do exist, as he admits, “First of all, this is GDP’s science-intensiveness. Unfortunately, spending on research and development (R&D) is lower than the threshold specified by the national security policy. We finance only 0.28 percent of R&D from the budget; the rest comes from our own funds and borrowed funds.” The figure is truly low.
The First Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, notes that Belarus should pay attention to the development of science — since it has few mineral resources. Rather, intellectual potential, innovations and R&D are needed to propel the country to a new level. We must analyse in detail the role of all scientific institutions and laboratories in R&D, to make science more effective.
“We need to define who will remain under conditions of optimisation. Simultaneously, we need to raise the salaries and the prestige of scientists,” Mr. Semashko adds. He asserts that these professionals can most effectively integrate academic, university and industrial sciences, while strengthening relations with industry.