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Belarus and Italy: prospects for cooperation

IGOR VOYTOV: BELARUS AND ITALY HAVE GOOD PROSPECTS FOR COOPERATION IN RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY
 

Italy is one of the leading European partners of Belarus in the field of research. Belarusian and Italian scientists successfully cooperate in international programs and projects of the European Union in such areas as physics, chemistry, mathematics, information technologies, and environment. On the eve of the Day of Science which is celebrated on the last Sunday of January, the Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus Professor Igor Voytov answered the questions by «Innovazione Veneto» Magazine on innovation, science and technology cooperation between Belarus and Italy.
 
Belarus has important scientific and academic organizations and companies in the aerospace industry, which are the main domains you are developing?
 
"Aerospace development is virtually on the top of the scientific and technological progress. This area stimulates elaboration of science, technology, economy, security and informatization.
 
The main types of space activities in Belarus are defined by the National Program for Space Research and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes. Within this Program several crucial results have been already achieved. In particular, Belarusian Earth remote sensing has been developed in the National Academy of Sciences. Being composed of a ground-based control center and a Belarusian spacecraft launched on 22 July 2012, it forms a functionally complete system.   
 
Second, developing of a system of aerospace monitoring and processing of remote sensing data is on the way. For instance, scientific and technological basis for producing the high-resolution targeting remote sensing devices has been created at JSC "Peleng". Moreover, a number of systems employing aerospace data have been developed, such as a system for evaluating the current state and forecasting dynamics of natural and anthropogenic geosystems, a system for monitoring the state topographic maps and plans of settlements, a system for monitoring the land reclamation.
 
Thus, within the national space program Belarus has attained significant research and technological capacity and laid firm basis for professional aerospace education.
 
In Belarus, over 20 companies, organizations, academic institutions and universities are involved in space research and development on national and international level. Intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in space activities have been signed with Russia and the Ukraine, the agreement with Kazakhstan is under preparation.
 
The further development of space activities in Belarus is carried out within the second period of the national space program (2013 – 2017). The aim of the second period is to bring together all activities, to preserve, develop and use effectively the national scientific and technological potential in space systems and technologies for solving social and economic challenges, to promote the developing of different branches of the national economy, as well as to increase the national security and raise the level of science and education in the country.
 
Undoubtedly, the implementation of the national space program will provide effective solutions for the space development in Belarus and allow our country to follow the path of high-tech and innovative development".
 
Which sectors do you think Veneto and Belarus universities can co-operate?
 
"Italy is a country with an ancient culture and tradition. The oldest university in Europe – Bologna – was set up there. As far as I know, now the education system in Italy is experiencing a period of reform within the framework of the Bologna process aimed to create a common European educational space. The Italian universities gradually introduce a three-stage educational model. Its first stage, corresponding to an undergraduate level, is designed for 3 years. The second stage includes training programs, graduate programs of the first level and master of the first level. Depending on the specific program, the training period may last two or three years. Postgraduate education in addition to graduate with a thesis defense and an award of a PhD includes specialization and master's programs of the second level.
 
The Republic of Belarus is experiencing similar evolution of the system of education. We have applied for accession to the Bologna process, and upgraded law and educational practice accordingly. The new Education Code and a number of other regulations were adopted in 2011. I believe that today we are more than ever prepared for effective collaboration with Italian universities, but, first of all, in postgraduate education.
 
Together with the universities of Veneto we can consider the organization of exchanges, for instance, of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students of the Belarusian State University, Belarusian National Technical University and other universities in diverse directions of research.
We should also pay attention to other similarities between Belarus and Italy. For us, as well as for you, it becomes more and more cumbersome to keep young strong researchers due to relatively low wages and fewer opportunities for career growth in the home country when compared with the international market. We believe that cooperation between Belarusian and Veneto universities in the form of research staff exchanges can reduce the "brain drain" problem".
 
Veneto Innovazione is the regional reference of Enterprise Europe Network for technology transfer, which are the main Belarus centres for the exchange of technologies?
 
"In Belarus much attention is devoted to improving commercialization of the research findings, in the first place publicly financed, and creating mechanisms for promoting innovation activities. For this purpose the National Center of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Belarus (NCIP) continuously monitors and picks out inventions matching the national scientific and technical priorities. This information is then transferred to public agencies and enterprises.
 
To further develop the emerging IP market and to intensify commercialization of IP in Belarus the NCIP has launched new project: the “Intellectual Property Exchange”. The aim of this project is to provide a potential acquirer with information on the Belarusian patents in force, offers for commercial licensing or other IP commercialization options. Moreover, it also provides information about inventions, which are recognized by the NCIP as advanced.
 
Today there are 910 advanced inventions and commercial offers listed on the “Intellectual Property Exchange”. When assessing this value one should consider that on January 1, 2013 there are in total 3,907 patents in force granted to the residents of the Republic of Belarus.
 
Implementation of the project allowed to raise amount of the concluded license contracts, contracts for IPR transfers in the republic. The practical significance of the project is reflected website statistics of the official website of the NCIP (http://belgospatent.by/eng/, about 30,000 hits from more than 50 countries, including Italy), where the “Intellectual Property Exchange” is located".
 
Enclosed some key facts of the Republic of Belarus

AttachmentSize
Republic of Belarus Key facts.doc91 KB

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