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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Osipov, let’s talk about the different areas of work and the various results.
President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yury Osipov: Mr President, we are in the process of reviewing the results right now. As you know, we always hold our general annual review meeting in May. We have already sent our report to the Government. I can tell you that we have achieved big results, fundamental results, in a number of the most important areas of modern science, including in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, the Earth sciences, space research, and fundamental medicine. Results have also been achieved in the humanities and social sciences, of course.
I want to inform you that we have made progress in innovation activity too. This is part of the mega-projects currently underway in the country. Results here include new catalysers, medicines, medical instruments, materials, developments in petrochemicals, and much more.
We have also greatly stepped up our work in environmental protection, in particular through the programmes that you initiated on protecting biological diversity. This work is going very well. People are enthusiastic about these projects and the work is very interesting. In the past, this kind of work did not get any kind of special support, but now it is being supported.
Turning to the problems, with your support we launched a pilot project several years ago to raise scientists’ wages. We launched that project and did indeed achieve results, but we did not receive any funding for carrying out the project and financed it ourselves through internal cuts. This has distorted our budget somewhat, with around 70 percent now going on wages, which is not a normal situation.
If you recall, when you last came to our general meeting, you expressed your support for our idea on a pilot project to modernise our material and equipment base. The idea then was not to spread resources thinly across all institutes, but to establish top-class centres for collective use of unique equipment.
Universities would be able to use these centres too. You expressed your support for the idea then, but sadly, the crisis then came along and is still dragging on, and the matter remained unresolved. I completely understand the reasons for this, but it is perhaps important to return to this discussion now, all the more so as young people are going into science now, young scientists have started receiving housing, and wages have risen a little. If we could make that extra effort now it would be very important.
Vladimir Putin: Good, let’s look at it, discuss it with our colleagues and think it over.