This year’s prizes were awarded for research in biomedicine, organic synthesis, elementary particle research, and research into ancient Russian culture.
The award ceremony took place at the Grand Kremlin Palace’s Catherine Hall.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, laureates,
Today is Russian Science Day, and it is our tradition on this day to pay recognition to our young scientists who have achieved outstanding results by awarding them the President’s Prize.
I congratulate on this professional holiday the laureates and everyone who has devoted themselves to science and the pursuit of knowledge and who truly loves their work and gives it all their heart and effort.
Scientific achievements shape a nation’s cultural, educational and intellectual potential. It is clear that a vigorous science sector and the ability to generate new knowledge and technology are the guarantees of any country’s independent and sovereign development in the modern world, and this is true for our country too of course.
”Scientific achievements shape a nation’s cultural, educational and intellectual potential. A vigorous science sector and the ability to generate new knowledge and technology are the guarantees of Russia’s independent and sovereign development in the modern world.“
Russia has ambitious goals before it today. We all know that time for their implementation is limited, and the results will determine the future of our statehood and the prosperity of millions of our citizens. I think there are two key issues we are to look at in this context.
First, we should make Russian science once again one of the leading institutions in developing our society and economy.
Second, we must ensure that science specialists have the possibilities they need to realise their potential, know that they are needed, feel a sense of professional pride, and see that society and the authorities give their work the recognition it deserves.
Of course we need projects on a scale with our past undertakings – the conquest of outer space and development of nuclear energy. These were projects that in their day gave an impulse to practically all areas of science and technology.
We have strong reasons to be able to say today that Russia and its science sector is capable of making new breakthroughs. We can and will put the required resources into these tasks. Russia is one of the world leaders today in terms of the amount of GDP it spends on civilian science. Federal spending on civilian-sector science grew 3.4-fold over 2006–2012. Along with support for our top universities and scientific centres, we are also giving more attention to individual laboratories, researchers and research teams, that is, to the people who are really in the process of creating new knowledge.
We will therefore continue actively developing the system of grants, which has individual scientists as its central focus. Financing for state research funds will also increase and reach 25 billion rubles [$800 million] by 2018. The Fund for Advanced Research has already been established to help us in our work on modernising the defence industry and related sectors.
”We should make Russian science once again one of the leading institutions in developing our society and economy.“
Demand for modern scientific achievements must come not only from the government but also from business. One of our key priorities is to open the economy up to innovation and stimulate continuous modernisation of job and companies. We will therefore put projects aimed at integrating science and industry and fostering cooperation between business, research centres and universities on a systemic footing. We have already built up good experience in this area through co-financing of research programmes and research centres. We will stimulate growth of new science and research centres around the country and develop the scientific infrastructure in general.
Technical and equipment resources in the research and development sector have increased by a third since 2005. Russia now has around 100 collective-use centres equipped with the most advanced technology. We are launching unique projects such as the Gatchina high-beam research reactor, the NICA superconductor collider in Dubna and others.
Of course, the main thing is that we have the support of this strong base of professionals that has developed in our science sector over all these decades. Although we have many problems – and are well aware of them – our scientists remain of the highest world standard.
We have gradually managed to turn around the trend that saw people leaving science and left us with an aging personnel base. There is still a lot of work to do of course, but the fact remains that talented young people are once again going to work in laboratories and see their future in science.
Since 2006, the share of young people among science personnel has increased by 1–1.5 percent every year. This is a substantial increase for the science sector according to international assessments. To give you the figures: the average age of researchers in Russia today is 48. More than a third (37.5 percent) are under 40, while in 2006 we had 30 percent of researchers under 40. We thus have an increase of 10 percent, which is not a bad result overall.
”We must ensure that science specialists have the possibilities they need to realise their potential, know that they are needed, feel a sense of professional pride, and see that society and the authorities give their work the recognition it deserves.“
The programme for attracting top researchers from around the world into Russian science and bringing them to Russian universities and laboratories has also proved its worth. It is pleasing to see that many of those taking part in the programme are our compatriots who are coming back to work in Russia.
I add too, that more than half of young scientists and post-graduate students in Russia today – 70,000 people – are involved in science projects through the various federal targeted programmes.
Since 2006, the average wage of science-sector specialists has increased more than 2.5-fold, and the average wage in the Russian Academy of Sciences has risen more than 5-fold.
By 2018, the average wage in the science sector should be more than double the average wage in the particular region of the country. This is most definitely a goal that we will achieve.
The new approaches we are using in organising and financing science and training scientists are bearing fruit. Our researchers are at the forefront in sectors such as developing composite materials for the aviation and space sectors. We have also had good results in developing supercomputers.
The Russian Academy of Sciences has launched large-scale projects in medicine and genetic engineering, including in very important areas such as treatment of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and in other areas of vital importance for maintaining and improving health.
I am pleased to see that young researchers have played an important part in many significant developments and breakthroughs. Such young people are here today. Their work is already shaping the future of our country’s science and thus the future of Russia in general.
You have already heard their names, but I repeat them again. One of them is Nadezhda Bokach, who is a doctor of chemistry and the most-cited young scientist at St Petersburg State University. The results of her work have opened up the road to new composites and materials with the broadest range of practical applications.
”Demand for modern scientific achievements must come not only from the government but also from business. One of our key priorities is to open the economy up to innovation and stimulate continuous modernisation of job and companies.“
Also among the laureates are Fedor Ignatov and Kornely Todyshev of the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Their achievements reflect the huge potential of Russia’s fundamental science and boost Russia’s position in key areas such as microelectronics and cosmonautics.
Also present today is historian Andrei Usachev of the Russian State University for the Humanities. He has made a big contribution to the study of Russian statehood and ancient Russian literature, and has discovered previously unknown written monuments of our history.
Dmitry Chudakov, doctor of biology from the M. Shemyakin-Yu.Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, has produced results that will find much use in neurobiology and immunology.
I sincerely congratulate our laureates on these high awards and I also have the highest praise for their teachers, mentors and colleagues. I wish all of you good health, prosperity and new successes, and I congratulate everyone once again on Russian Science Day.
Thank you very much for your attention.