Excerpts from transcript of ceremony presenting 2014 President’s Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists 2015-02-12 14:40:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive office Sergei Ivanov: Good afternoon, friends. Our annual ceremony is traditionally timed for Russian Science Day. This is, as I have said, a very good tradition. This is our recognition of the contribution made by young scientists to the development of new knowledge, the creation of promising technologies and raising Russia’s status as a nation of scientific research with an enormous intellectual and creative potential. The President’s Prize is by right awarded to the best young researchers. I would like to note that competition grows every year along with the growing numbers of contestants demonstrating substantial results. By the way, this year for the first time we had young scientists from Crimea taking part. Before we move on to the ceremony, I would like to highlight a few things I consider important. First, despite the current economic difficulties, we will not discard development and will continue investing in our future. This is an investment in human resources, in science, education, new technologies and production facilities and in creating conditions for people to use their potential. This, in fact, is our response to the challenges facing this country. We will continue expanding opportunities for fruitful scientific research in Russia and supporting young people’s aspirations to solve complicated scientific problems. As you may know, we are improving the system of funding scientific research, with the best projects and teams receiving grants. I believe this is the right thing to do. Importantly, one of the conditions for these grants is the participation of young researchers in these projects. I will quote some figures. Last year the programmes of the Russian Science Foundation involved about 14,000 scientists, most of them under the age of 39, including undergraduate and postgraduate students. By the way, I am very happy to see some of them here today. The youngest head of a research team to receive a grant of the Russian Science Foundation is 27. This is great. Secondly, we must create conditions for the creative development of young scientists in the regions as well, or maybe even first and foremost. Here, I believe, we need professors from leading universities and research centres to become more broadly involved with students at regional universities and research laboratories. We will carry on the programmes that involve visits by outstanding scientists and professors from other countries, including our compatriots. We also find it expedient to expand the practice of international scientific forums, where scientists can exchange experience and knowledge. We intend to give special attention to research team leaders who are good at team building, at creating a specific creative atmosphere and introducing new practices. Regardless of their age, these people should be promoted to leading positions, and not only in science. This equally applies to education, the economy and public administration. I would like to add that following the recent meeting of the Council on Science and Education, the President issued instructions to create a human resources pool in science and technology. We will make good use of this pool. Friends, in the coming years national science will be facing some very complicated tasks. Primarily, we must make this country technologically independent in a number of vital areas: the industry, infrastructure, medicine and defence. We will need our own technologies capable of improving people’s living standards, and this primarily applies to environmental studies, food products and medicine. We expect our young researchers to not only proceed from the existing practices, but to also work on their own original approach. We have to look into the future, 10, 20, 30 years ahead. In his Address to the Federal Assembly, the President of Russia announced the launch of the National Technology Initiative, aimed at creating in Russia sectors operating in a new technological environment. There are unique teams at our universities and research centres that are already working on the creation of completely new solutions and technologies. We believe that young researchers should become the driving force behind the implementation of the National Technology Initiative as a breakthrough project of a national scale. The most important things here are talent, perseverance and scientific enterprise. You should not fear taking on problems that nobody has yet resolved. “What seemed impossible for ages, what was a daring dream only yesterday today becomes a real task, and tomorrow — an accomplishment” – these are the words of Sergei Korolev, in case some of you do not know. One more thing. We possess a key factor that allows us to look into the future of national science with confidence. This is a sincere interest on the part of our young people in science, technology and design. Our school and university students and young researchers prove they are the best even at major international competitions and contests. I am certain that the current and future generations of scientists will cope with any task and any challenge, and we will help you succeed. Friends, on behalf of the President I am happy to present our new laureates. Despite their young age, they all fully deserve the respect of the academic community. Irina Didenkulova brought us closer to solving the mystery of unusually high waves by developing physical-mathematical models of marine natural hazards in coastal zones and recommendations on minimising their consequences. The results obtained make it possible to raise the efficiency of efforts to secure coastal areas in Russia, mainly in the Far East. Alexandra Kalashnikova receives the prize for her contribution to developing superfast magnetic phenomena. Her discovery makes it possible to create unique advanced methods of data processing and storage. Nikita Kuznetsov studied mechanisms for preserving the human DNA. National science now has new data to develop treatments for oncological patients and anti-tumour medications that can find application both in national medicine and on the global biotechnology markets. The accomplishments of a group of researchers, consisting of Alexei Shatikhin, Vitaly Danilenko and Georgy Vasilyev, have a direct impact on raising the country’s defence capability in terms of high-precision armaments. President of Russia Vladimir Putin asked me to congratulate you and extend his best wishes. Thank you for your work, for your desire to move ahead to pursue great goals. I wish you new discoveries and interesting work for the benefit of the nation. Now I would like to ask to read out the Executive Order of the President of the Russian Federation and we will proceed to the most important and pleasant part – the awards ceremony. <…> My congratulations to all the laureates once again. Attending this ceremony are renowned scientists, the leaders of our national academic community. I believe they are just as happy to see these outstanding intellectual young people as I am, because they are our future. It gives us a peace of mind to know we have such young people who, I am certain, will move our science forward, all of its manifestations and its branches. It was mentioned today that oceanology is not a very popular branch of study. Russia is actually a maritime nation – why should it not be popular here? We should be setting the standards here as well. As for physics, the Ioffe Institute, medicine and, of course, defence – here, I am certain, we have to be at the fore, firmly standing on our strong young feet. My sincere congratulations to you, once again!