Ukraine's historical scientific prominence feeds its future potential
The nation’s scientific and engineering pioneers have left an impressive legacy that has provided a substantial basis for progress and development. It is an endowment that will play a key part of the country’s future. “The economic reform programme for 2010-2014 envisages the implementation of a number of strategically important national projects. Research intensity and innovation should play a decisive role,” says Prof Boris Paton, president of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NAS) and the first person to have been awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine – the highest state decoration that can be awarded to a citizen.
Multi-disciplinary research at the NAS includes advancing nanotechnology, the development of energy efficient LED lighting and the reduction of carbon emissions in the energy industry. “With proper funding of innovative projects and activities we will be able to halve the consumption of natural gas within the next five years,” Prof Paton adds. “Also, the IT industry can be one of the leading industries of our country if appropriate investments are attracted.”
The nation’s IT outsourcing industry is currently worth $1 billion and is expected be valued at $5 billion by 2015. According to Prof Volodymyr Semynozhenko, head of the State Agency on Science, Innovation and Information of Ukraine, the IT sector grew by 40 per cent last year. “By 2015, we expect it to account for 8 to 10 per cent of Ukraine’s GDP,” he says. “Ukrainian specialists are producing electronic driving licences for EU countries and electronic passports for Interpol. Our specialists also participate in huge projects in such spheres as oil processing and rocket building; they create not only programming outsourcing companies but also complex enterprises.”
Prof Semynozhenko says the government is currently involved in devising a tax stimulus package for innovation, the creation of scientific and technological parks, and a support fund for small innovative science-intensive enterprises, as well as establishing a patenting fund and the setting up key laboratories that employ the latest achievements and technologies.