President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. I’d like to say a few words at the outset if you don’t mind. This meeting has been in the works for a long time and I am very glad to see you all here.
We have come together in this format in order to talk about student olympics, what they can contribute to your life and the life of our country, how participation in these school olympics promotes peoples’ careers, and the extent to which success in them can be converted into our common endeavours.
I am not going to speak much more right now. Let me just say that I am pleased to meet you. Indeed, in recent years school and student olympics have become one of a series of significant events in which our fellow citizens have received a large number of awards and scored top team points.
I checked it out: in the past five years Russia’s students have won 30 medals in mathematics, 30 in natural sciences, 28 in astronomy, 22 in physics, 20 in chemistry, 20 in computer science, and 16 in biology. These are very good results and of course it’s obvious that every year the level of these competitions is going up.
Not only have the actual Olympic games become more complex, but of course their academic counterparts have as well. So naturally it’s really great that we have obtained such excellent results.
However, we don’t often host an international olympiad in our nation. I think we’ve only done it three times. Maybe it makes sense for us to intensify our efforts in this area and to make a stronger case for holding international olympic events in our country.
Today we also have with us those who have received the so-called presidential scholarship. I think that we can talk about the system of incentives that already exists. Clearly this scheme is not ideal and doesn’t involve huge amounts of money; nevertheless, at least we have done something recently.
The special set of incentives and the special Coordinating Council that reviews contender works and submits suggestions for awarding the President of Russia’s prizes are both up and running. I would like to discuss this subject as well.
There’s another issue, the so-called Our New School initiative that I signed earlier this year. Of course it is of a more general character, but at the same time it contributes to improving our school education.
I don’t know if anyone has read this initiative, but if some of you have managed to read it, then I would be interested to know what those who now study and those who have recently studied in school think of the initiative’s various elements, the extent to which they seem reasonable and relevant to you.
Of course now we are interested in engaging as quickly as possible in developing new technologies and in introducing these technologies into our lives. As you are aware, we see continuous efforts in modernising the economy, in creating and implementing advanced technologies for our economy as one of our government’s top priorities. I talked about this last year.
This year we have already achieved some results. We have launched some administrative procedures — which is always an easier step – and we have come up with some very specific solutions and have allocated sufficient funds.
Quite recently we discussed the prospects of building an ultra-modern science and technology centre or even a kind of town, for the development and commercialisation of advanced technologies. In fact, this will be a new town, in which the centre would be charged with developing all five presidential high-tech priorities, all the areas designated for modernisation, primarily energy, IT, telecommunications, biomedical technology and nuclear technology. But of course this doesn’t mean other modernisation components may not be promoted there as well.
A week ago I met with my colleagues in the Government Cabinet to discuss where we should build such a town or centre. I would like to inform you, along with the representatives of the Government and the media who are here today, that I have decided to build the centre in a place where we have already made quite a good start, in order to do this quickly. Speed is of particular importance, so we will be building it in Skolkovo [near Moscow].
This town will be built especially for you, so that when you become our best scientists, engineers and other specialists you will be able to work and live in it, I hope, in a few years from now. I invite everybody here to participate in this endeavour.
That’s all for now. I am ready to listen to you. Just put up your hands – we don’t stand on ceremony here. Guys, please go ahead.