The research and production cluster for the development of the chemical and petrochemical industry was created on the basis of Mogilevkhimvolokno
The agreement on the creation of a research and production cluster was developed and signed in June last year as part of the implementation of the President’s decree ‘On the Development of Mogilevkhimvolokno’. The expediency of creating such a cluster in Mogilev is due to the fact that a school of chemists has been formed here — educational institutions that train dedicated experts for the enterprise.
Mogilevkhimvolokno is the industrial core of the innovative structure. The cluster also includes the Mogilev City Executive Committee, the Belarusian State University of Food and Chemical Technologies, the Belarusian State Technological University, and the Mogilev State Industrial College.
According to Director General of Mogilevkhimvolokno Vladimir Markov, the company is working with scientific institutions on projects for the further development of the petrochemical industry, with the focus on import substitution, “The company is embarking on a new stage of modernisation, which is impossible without innovative technologies and building mutually beneficial co-operation between partners. Personnel training, scientific research will allow us and our partners to be more sustainable. We plan to include commercial organisations that are in the value chain of goods in the cluster. Mogilevkhimvolokno is part of FEZ Mogilev: vacant production areas can be used by cluster members.”
The purpose of creating a research and production cluster at Mogilevkhimvolokno is defined by its participants as follows: the consolidation of the production, scientific, educational, and administrative potential of the participants, aimed at developing the chemical industry. One of the important tasks is to promote the development of scientific, industrial and organisational co-operation within the cluster, the transfer of technological innovations according to the ‘science-production’ scheme.
An increase in the export of science-intensive products with high additional cost is the expected economic effect
The Belarusian State University of Food and Chemical Technologies is one of the cluster members. Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, and Vice-Rector for Research Aleksandr Akulich believes that the scientific potential of the teaching staff of the university should be involved in solving production problems, “Our main profile is educational: we train personnel for Mogilevkhimvolokno. However, on the other hand, we are also engaged in science, so we would like to have contracts from the enterprise to carry out research within our skill sets with the condition of financing on an economic contract basis. We already have experience of such interaction with other organisations in the country. The second point is to strengthen the material and technical base for scientific research.”
The branch of the Chemical Technology of Macromolecular Compounds Department operates on the basis of Mogilevkhimvolokno, the training of chemical engineers-technologists is practice-oriented. The Head of the Department, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Associate Professor Leonid Shcherbina is convinced that the role of science in the development of the petrochemical industry is dominant, “It is crucial to develop your own technologies and build enterprises in order to be absolutely independent in today’s economic realities. There is everything for this, many technologies are capable of mastering and developing themselves, but financial resources are required. We must be able to try, as any innovative technology goes through a thorny path, to be more courageous in attracting funds from the innovation fund. We practically do not have our own petrochemical raw materials, hence the need to develop unique, science-intensive, high-tech products. More attention needs to be paid to the orientation of the industry towards biorenewable, carbohydrate-containing raw materials. Today, the whole world is moving towards the creation of composite materials based on carbon fibres. We have a powerful polyester complex in the Mogilevkhimvolokno branch, where we could also work in terms of creating new products. Foremost, it is important to invest in science. At each enterprise, it is necessary to create an industry centre or conduct centralised research.”
The Mogilev State Industrial College has been preparing personnel at the level of vocational technical training for the company for more than half a century. Director Olga Chumakova emphasises that the masters of industrial training should be aware of all the know-how at the chemical giant in order to prepare personnel ahead of the curve, “Utility operators we train are directly the people who produce the products. These professions are unique, only we are able to prepare them in our country. If training workshops are the classics of training in vocational technical training education, then our training is structured in such a way that our students go to the enterprise with industrial training masters literally from the first day. Inclusion in the cluster is an opportunity to keep abreast of innovations for us.”
Work has been actively carried out to form clusters in the Mogilev Region in recent years. The Mogilev Regional Development Agency became the coordinating organisation of the IT cluster. A tourist cluster is being created in Bykhov, Kirov and Slavgorod Districts, Gorki District represents an agrotechnological cluster, while Krichev District represents a construction cluster. Clustering is called one of the most important driving forces for the development of economies today. The main idea of cluster formation is to create commercial mechanisms for bringing the industry to a higher level based on scientifically sound and technologically feasible solutions. The formula for success lies in the close integration of science, education and production.