President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, good afternoon.
Today, our scientists, engineers, research equipment specialists, laboratory staff, and so on, are celebrating their professional holiday. They are wonderful people, devoted to their professions. They expand the horizons of knowledge and create a technological foundation for the advancement of our country.
And of course, using this opportunity, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on Russian Science Day, your day, and to emphasise that Russian researchers that are just starting their scientific careers are showing increasingly brilliant and innovative results in the most advanced areas.
In this context, I am pleased to introduce the winners of the prize to young scientists, who traditionally take part in the Council for Science and Education sessions.
This is a biologist from Vladivostok, Alexandra Dubrovina. She has created a new mechanism for improving the properties of agricultural crops and increasing the harvest. Her method is based on natural biological processes and is safe for the environment and for people, which is vital for developing eco-friendly agriculture.
Working in mathematics, physics and biology, researcher from Sevastopol Arseny Kubryakov has created instruments for more precise forecasts of the complicated processes in the world oceans, which have an increasing impact on the planet’s climate every year.
Leonid Skripnikov created a solid theoretical foundation for developing new materials and a quantum computer. Authoritative research teams are already using the precise calculations from this scientist from St Petersburg in conducting the most sophisticated experiments.
I would like to thank our laureates and their research teams – of course, this is always about team work – for their outstanding achievements. I am confident that you and your colleagues from these various fields of knowledge play an active part in implementing our large-scale programmes, which the State Council on Science and Education meeting will focus on today.
Today we will consider the most important innovative projects of federal significance, projects that were announced in last year’s Address to the Federal Assembly. Implementation will begin in the key areas for the development and security of Russia. I will elaborate on each of them.
I would like to start with the most topical and necessary task today: creating firm and reliable defences against new infections. Let me note here that, along with prompt responses, the Government has adopted an entire range of strategic measures to develop new medicines and a system to monitor and prevent biological risks and threats. We need to bring this work to a higher level, to enhance its quality, namely, to establish a strong technological base and infrastructure, so that we can quickly launch the production of effective medicines and vaccines when new and unknown infections and viruses appear. We have discussed this many times with our colleagues from the Government during our regular meetings.
To do this, we must have our own domestically made equipment, components, raw materials, as well as advanced and even unique competencies in the development and use of pharmaceuticals, including new generation medicines, such as those used to treat infections that are resistant to antibiotics, to modern antibiotics as well of course. It is also essential to ensure an up-to-date legal environment in order to organise work in this sensitive area, as well as lift barriers and create favourable conditions for the development of new technologies and their safe use.
Countering negative changes to the climate is the next essential area in science and technology. Its importance goes without saying, it is well known and widely spoken about in the world. Here, we have set specific goals: over the next three decades, the accumulated volume of net greenhouse gas emissions in Russia should be less than in the European Union, and no later than 2060 – this is a consensus arrived at with the Government’s input – Russia must achieve carbon neutrality.
We will have to adapt the entire Russian economy to the changing climate. We do not need to only rely on someone else's calculations in order to consider the possible risks here and coordinate our actions correctly; we need to determine the balance of carbon in the atmosphere ourselves, objectively and accurately. We have already accumulated significant experience. Roshydromet and our leading research institutes are monitoring climate processes and analysing climate data, and they are considered an authoritative source around the world.
However, let me stress that we need a comprehensive, integrated and, of course, reliable mechanism to gather and assess data on Russia’s contribution to the concentration of climate-active gases in the atmosphere. In this context, I believe it necessary to establish a scientific system for high-precision monitoring of emission and absorption of substances that have a direct impact on climate change as part of our innovative programmes. Its purpose will be to collect data on carbon emissions, and most importantly, to correctly assess the ability of our forests and other natural ecosystems to absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
It is necessary to set up production of advanced domestic equipment for both land and space measurements in order to launch such a system, as well as form Russian satellite constellations, develop methods and algorithms for high-precision calculations, and build appropriate mathematical models. At the same time, our data must be recognised by the world and used to make global decisions on climate.
We have discussed this many times, colleagues, and right now, I am addressing my colleagues in the Government. We can see what is going on in other countries and how the work is organised there in all these areas. And, of course, we must not tolerate unacceptable options and solutions to these vital issues being imposed on us somehow. In order to prevent this from happening, we have to lead in these areas.
Let me repeat: we will be reducing the negative impact of Russian industry, transport, and other sectors on the planet’s climate based on precise and verified data. At the same time, we have to accelerate and modernise economic growth. Of course, this dual task is not an easy one. Further transition to low-carbon, green energy sources is the most important part of the solution.
I have already said many times that it is too early to give up hydrocarbons: they will still be actively used, especially our gas resources, during the next 20–30, and maybe even 50 years. But still, we must understand where all of humanity, the entire planet is heading, and, I repeat once again, be ahead of the curve here. This is especially important, first of all, for the well-being of the environment and the quality of life of Russian citizens, which is a priority for us.
Our innovative projects should be aimed at creating just such advanced, safe and environmentally friendly technologies for energy production, transportation, storage and use. And what is fundamentally important: we need solutions for the subsequent reuse or disposal of resources and equipment, including energy storage devices. This is not an easy task: for example, what should we do with used batteries? This problem is becoming more and more acute in practically all countries.
I can add that, while ranking fourth in the world in terms of energy production in general, Russia already has one of the “cleanest” energy systems with a low carbon footprint. We constantly talk about this, and I think that our colleagues in other countries need to be reminded of this. But we definitely need to move ahead, especially since the geographical and natural features of our country, our scientific capacity allow us to successfully develop absolutely any type of environmentally friendly energy. I mean, among other things, controlled thermonuclear fusion and innovative plasma technologies, in which we are absolute leaders in the world, as well as the use of hydrogen in the chemical industry, metallurgy and transport. Then, a significant increase in the efficiency and environmental safety of both traditional and renewable energy sources. We have to talk about all this today.
Summing up, I consider it fundamental that all our most important innovative projects undergo meaningful scientific review at all stages of implementation, so that plans and actions are formulated jointly with specialists, scientists, experts and practitioners, of course.
As you know, following my instruction, core documents with specific tasks and approaches, with solutions, have been drafted for each of the projects with the participation of the scientific and professional community.
Let us discuss these issues today, starting with the climate agenda.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank all of you for the discussion that we have had and for the proposals that you have formulated.
In conclusion, I would like to note that, of course, we all understand that we will have to work hard, and that we have formulated really complicated tasks. This country does not implement such ambitious science and technology projects very often, especially in its modern history.
This is not merely a question of developing certain unique solutions. Colleagues from the Government have just said that guidelines have already been formulated in specific spheres. But our task is to set up entirely new directions in this country. Quite possibly, this implies entire sectors. As the Minister has just noted, we need to launch our own production and the most advanced equipment and means of production. This is extremely important in order to boost the level of our technological independence, conduct technological upgrading of existing facilities and build new ones, including new enterprises and laboratories, and in order to launch research projects, including the ones involving our compatriots and world-class foreign scientists and researchers. Today, we have to think about launching programmes to train researchers, engineers and workers for emerging economic sectors. Colleagues have also mentioned the human resources issue separately here.
Of course, the results of this work will directly depend on the efficiency and cohesion of specific implementation mechanisms and the actions of those involved in highly important innovative state-level projects. Mr Siluanov has just noted this, and I would like to discuss this matter some time later. Funding is already stipulated for many aspects, and there are also plans to organise the required work. Of course, we need to integrate all this.
In this connection, I would like to note that we adopted a number of landmark decisions exactly a year ago. We expanded the powers of the Council for Science and Education and the Government of the Russian Federation as regards R&D management. In a nutshell, these decisions are aimed at facilitating joint coordination, at clearly dividing responsibility between ministries and agencies, research centres, state-owned higher education institutions and private companies, and at organising all this work in line with technological contours, that is, from research and development projects to obtaining specific goods and mass-producing them.
And I am asking our colleagues from the Government to draft and approve the highly important state-level innovative projects (that we have just discussed) in line with this strict managerial logic and to pay attention to all proposals of the specialists, scientists and experts that were voiced today. This is the first thing.
Second. We have agreed that our innovative programmes will receive support from the state at all stages – from getting fundamental knowledge to making product market-ready. In this regard I ask the Government to devise a clear, efficient and workable financing mechanism agreed by everybody. Mr Siluanov spoke about it in general terms. Of course, it should be borne in mind. However, we should also remember that we need to finance on a priority basis what we already have in the budget for 2022. I want to emphasise this and the Finance Minister has already mentioned it: he spoke about additional sources. They always emerge in the course of our work on the budget. It is clear that everything has been finalised for 2022 but we are distributing additional resources too. In allotting these additional resources please keep in mind that we are discussing one of the priorities today. And, of course, we have to look attentively at the 2023–2024 planning period and make timely amendments or additions.
I want to underscore again: we need to give priority attention to the most important innovation projects that have high status – the status of state importance. Without any exaggeration, they should have a serious, big influence on strengthening our security, our sovereignty, on the country’s development and on raising the wellbeing and the quality of life of our people. They are to provide for a fundamentally different level of health protection for people, advanced and ecologically safe technology for building housing and managing public transport, a modern economic image and, finally, new spheres of applying the labour and personal fulfilment efforts of our people, including young people, who are becoming increasingly more active in solving environmental and climate problems.
Of course, Russia, being a responsible state with a powerful fundamental science capacity, can and should be active in tackling global tasks. I am sure that Russian scientists are capable of making a meaningful contribution to the search for efficient answers to the big challenges facing all countries.
In conclusion, colleagues, I want to congratulate you again on Russian Science Day. All employees of our research centres, universities and, of course, members of the Council for Science and Education, I want to wish you success and good health.
It happens that the birthday of St Petersburg State University Rector Nikolai Kropachev coincides with Russian Science Day. We all warmly congratulate you and wish you a happy birthday and all the best, Mr Kropachev.
Thank you everybody for the joint work today. All the best.