The key indicator of the level of the country’s development in the modern world remains its scientific, technical and industrial potential.
Unfortunately, Ukraine has been consistently degrading over the past four years in this criterion.
Focusing its efforts on building an “agrarian superpower”, the Ukrainian government put aside the issues of the development of the national industry and the development of scientific and technical potential, which is a huge mistake from the point of view of state administration, so the country loses hope for a high-tech future.
Ukrainian science, especially its fundamental component, was on the periphery of the state’s attention. In comparison, in 2013, the financing of the Ministry of Education and Science was equivalent to $ 3 billion, including $ 56 million for the direction of scientific and technological developments. In 2017, the budget of the Ministry of Education and Science was equivalent to $ 1.23 billion, of which $ 32.6 million for scientific and technical development. Finally, in the State Budget 2018, similar items will be financed, respectively, by $ 1.07 billion and $ 31.7 million.
Despite the declared stabilization of the economic situation, support for the country’s scientific sphere continues to decline. As a consequence, research institutes, at best, work part-time, at worst – they are closed. Only in 2016 the activities of six institutes were terminated.
Not having enough support from the state, domestic scientists accept invitations from other countries, which understand the need for investments in science. It is not by chance that the trend of recent years, even in the most developed countries, such as the US, is the support of science and the return of science-intensive production to its territory.
And these countries are becoming more and more: for the period 2000-2014 the science intensity of the world economy has grown from 2.1 to 2.4% of GDP. And only in Ukraine over the past quarter century the absolute amount of spending on science fell by 7.5 times.
The scientific potential and industrial base allow Ukraine, with the correct state policy, to stop the spiral of falling into the niche of the agrarian and raw country and to regain its place in the modern world.
For this, firstly, it is necessary to ensure the prioritization and full state financing of fundamental scientific research. State support for promising scientific developments should be at least 1% of GDP annually.
Secondly, it is necessary to stimulate the influx of private investment in research and development programs. If it is possible to deduce the volume of financing of such programs and projects to the level of $ 3-5 billion, the share of innovative products in the total volume of industrial output will increase 4-fold.
Finally, it is necessary to optimize the connection between science and production. This is a task for business together with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, national industry academies, research institutes. Their units and centers should actively interact with the real sector of the economy, and, importantly, private investors. Promising forms of work worldwide are techno and technology parks. We need to strengthen this area by adopting appropriate legislation.
The conclusion is simple. Only by changing the priorities of state policy and the purpose of budget financing, it is possible to change Ukraine’s prospects for the better. Today, when the scientific, technical and industrial base is not completely destroyed, such a chance still exists. But the window of opportunities for reforming the scientific sphere is not unlimited. A few more years of falling – and it will close forever.Follow @serhiylovochkin