TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education.

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Kremlin.ru – January 21, 2016)

Meeting of the Council for Science and Education.

The agenda covered the drafting and implementation of a long-term research and development strategy.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

At the previous Council meeting, we resolved to develop a long-term strategy for Russia’s research and development. It has to be ready by autumn. I believe that at the same time, without any delay, we need to develop specific practical instruments for implementing this strategy that would make it possible to take into account the global tendencies and challenges, to respond to the requirements of society and the economy and to new technologies, knowledge and education competencies. I suggest we consider all this today, and not only talk about it, but also make an effort to reach substantive resolutions.

I would like to repeat that this matter is of an essential nature. Having our own advanced technologies is a key factor of the nation’s sovereignty and security, of our domestic companies’ competitiveness, a precondition for economic growth and better living standards for the citizens.

With this in mind, I believe we should view the research and development strategy as a governing document along with the National Security Strategy. I would like the Government to make appropriate amendments to the legislation.

Colleagues,

Over the past years, we have laid some groundwork that makes it possible to implement large-scale research projects. We are strengthening the research infrastructure and its staffing potential. Thus, there is a larger number of young scholars, primarily in organisations involved in applied fundamental research aimed at resolving specific tasks. In certain areas, the share of specialists under 39 is over 50 percent.

Our leading higher education institutions are taking an ever more active part in research. These are the Moscow and St Petersburg state universities and federal and national research universities. Foreign experts are also noting the growing capabilities of our higher education. Several dozen Russian higher education institutions have been mentioned in various international ratings. In 2015, three Russian universities were among the top 100 in the world in natural sciences.

Serious work has been done to create world-class national research centres in nuclear power, aviation and cosmonautics.

We have merged the intellectual, human and material resources of our leading academies. This served as a basis for the creation of federal research centres that have been given the necessary authority and are designed to conduct large-scale interdisciplinary research in genetics, biotechnology and chemistry.

I would like to note that Russia now has more than 150 powerful state science institutes, centres and higher education institutions that are making a noticeable contribution to world and national research. They account for a vast majority – about 70 percent of all the patents issued in this country and 80 percent of highly cited works. Their developments are used in the real economy and the research results are widely cited abroad, as I have said.

At the same time, 150 make up only 10 percent of all the state education and research institutions. Now the question is: what about the others? How are they doing?

I would like to stress that the resources allocated to carry out research should go to strong research teams that are capable of creating breakthrough technology in areas especially important for the nation, and capable of competing with leading world centres. This is the logic we should proceed from in prioritising funding for developing the country’s research. I would like the Government to develop efficient mechanisms, including those involving project financing.

Colleagues,

The key principle in implementing our research and development strategy is the close interaction between research, education, businesses and the state, their joint responsibility for the practical outcome. Here I would like to set up special councils in each of the priority areas. They could be strictly departmental, but they should not limit themselves to purely professional research. They need to have a broad range of targets and tasks.

They should definitely involve representatives of research organisations and higher education institutions, the Russian Academy of Sciences and companies with public ownership. However, it is of key importance that they involve private businesses, and small and medium-sized innovative companies.

I would like to ask the Government together with the Russian Academy of Sciences to create by the end of 2016 such teams and to develop precise and clear mechanisms of their activity that would make it possible to promptly make specific decisions and achieve the set targets.

There are a few things I would like to highlight.

First, we need to single out specific research and education organisations capable of performing complex research in each of the priority areas listed in the strategy, and carefully examine their human resources and infrastructure to see what additional measures need to be taken to reinforce them.

Second, we have quite a few examples of successful cooperation between research institutions and businesses. Our scientists create unique technology, while domestic companies use them to make added-value products in demand not only within the country, but at foreign markets as well. We have to take such cooperation to a higher level, reducing the time between task setting and practical implementation of specific research.

Next, our education establishments should also be in line with our research and development priorities. We need to look beyond one or two decades and analyse which skills would be in demand in 10 and more years and what specialists we need to train today. This analysis should serve as a basis for proposals regarding the modernisation of educational programmes at all levels and at improving teacher training.

One more thing. We have good traditions of popularising scientific knowledge, and we need to make use of this experience.

Colleagues,

I would like to call on you and on all Russian scholars, professors and business representatives who have close ties with research, to take a more active part in educational projects on the Internet, on television and in print media, to tell about the achievements of our research, hold regular scholarly events at various locations designed for people of all ages, targeted at the younger generation.

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[featured image is file photo]