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Lukashenko urges to use more extra-budgetary resources in science

MINSK, 5 August (BelTA) – There is a need to attract more extra-budgetary resources into science, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at a government meeting on 5 August to discuss the development of science in Belarus, BelTA has learnt.

“The scientific community always complains about the lack of funds for the scientific sector. Yes, the knowledge content of GDP in Belarus is much lower than in technologically developed countries. If you say that our science has become more results-driven, then why should the state pay for all kinds of scientific developments? What about manufacturing industry and commercial companies?” the head of state said.

The President believes it is vital to use the state procurement instrument in the strategically important areas while extra budgetary resources should be attracted into other research areas.

“No unreasoned allocation of funds starting from 1 January 2014, including for scientists. Scientists are smart people, they should know how to earn for themselves and for the country,” the President noted.

“Why should we waste budgetary money for no good purpose, while giving away everything we have for breakthrough ideas? The areas which we believe and see are going to produce results, will get our money because we will know it will pay back,” the head of state said. "In all times science has been profitable. In Soviet times, one ruble invested in science generated 10," he added.

Alexander Lukashenko also believes that it is time to take a final decision on the future of fundamental science. "Our country is not that big and rich to afford to develop a wide range of areas of fundamental research. And perhaps, this is not the point. The point is how much we need fundamental research, and how successful we could be. I look at it pragmatically; we should not throw money down the drain. We’d better spend money on several breakthrough areas, say, on the 6th technological wave, and will further develop the areas where Belarus has developed the world-class traditions, for example, optics, laser physics, thermal physics, bioorganic chemistry and materials science, and they serve as the foundation for further applied research and development of higher education,” the President said.

“There is another question. For example the country does not need a certain product, but you believe the prospects are good. Please go ahead, find partners in China, Russia, America. Let them fund you. And they will finance you if they see that you can produce results tomorrow," the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that a pragmatic approach should be applied to participation of Belarusian scientists in large international projects such as the exploration of outer space, Large Hadron Collider. These projects should not only meet the scientific interest but also become an incentive for the development of high-tech industries in Belarus. "But we must participate in such projects only on the basis of deep pragmatism," the President added.