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News
25.05.2018

Science is Doing What Politics Cannot Do

KEY CONCLUSIONS

The international climate is having a negative impact on collaboration in science and technology

“The current political issues we are witnessing, alongside geopolitical confrontations and sanctions, are limiting opportunities for collaboration in science and technology. There are plenty of examples of this. As scientists, it is something we encounter. Take scientific cooperation with the US. Our access to their national laboratories is blocked – we’re simply not allowed in.” – Alexander Sergeev, President, Russian Academy of Sciences

“Collaborating is difficult when there is an absence of trust. Indeed, when the European Union tells us that islets of stability have been preserved and that science is safe, we understand the deception behind it. On the one hand, our collaboration with CERN, for example, is being curtailed, while on the other hand, funds are being allocated to improve scientists’ mobility.” – Evelina Zakamskaya, Editor-in-Chief, Doctor Channel

Science is bridging political divides

“Science can do a lot that politicians cannot. What’s more, science often works in defiance of political trends.” – Vladimir Fortov, Academician, the Russian Academy of Sciences

“Science is one step ahead of politics when it comes to identifying solutions to humanity’s problems, such as water security and food security.” – Markus Ederer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation

“Global challenges are becoming ever more serious. <...> This is true of sustainable development and climate change. <...> I worked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and we reached the conclusion that this was an area where scientists could work freely and collaborate very closely, without any major restrictions from the political arena.” – Rae Kwon Chung, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

“Science can often lay the foundation for political rapprochement. An example of this is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” – Markus Ederer

“In my opinion, sanctions – at any rate those which have affected our university – have strengthened our international ties. I can say that unequivocally. This is in relation to the International Council.” – Vladimir Vasiliev, Rector, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics 

PROBLEMS

Insufficient funding for the Russian Academy of Sciences

“The amount of funding allocated to science in our country is 1.18% of GDP. That places us 30th in the world! <...> And this is at a time when there is an explosion of interest in science across the globe.” – Vladimir Fortov

Science in Russia is lagging behind its global competitors 

“According to UNESCO, the number of scientific publications in China has increased 9.6 times over the last 15 years. In India, the increase is four-fold. In Russia, it’s 15%. <...> In terms of the number of scientists per 1,000 of the population, we rank around 23rd–24th.” – Vladimir Fortov

The commercialization of science is hindering international cooperation

“There are sectors where commercialization and competition for patents has a strong foothold. Politics is not the only force hindering collaboration today. Commercialization also hinders collaboration between scientists based in different countries, due to issues related to patents and industries.” – Rae Kwon Chung

Differing views on global development held by politicians and scientists 

“The conflict between these forces – political strength, war, and power versus the human mind, the perception of who we are, why we’re here and where we are headed – will determine the existence of our planet and of humanity in the near future. I think this is the main issue to which we should direct our resources.” – Yuriy Balega, Vice-President, Russian Academy of Sciences

A deficit of trust between science and society

“The question of trust between scientists and society – in fact, of trust between people – has always been key element in the evolution of society, and will remain so. <...> Codes of validation and verification are not universally accepted.” – Emmanuel Tric, President, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis

Migration policy is hindering academic mobility 

“Bringing students and instructors here is a major problem. And bringing school teachers here from other countries is a particularly big problem.” – Vyacheslav Nikonov, Chairman, Committee on Education and Science of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

SOLUTIONS

Openness in sharing scientific research 

“Twenty years ago, when I was working at the UN, I put forward the idea that governments could work together and facilitate collaboration in science and technology through distributing the results of research which had been publicly funded. <...> This could be a cornerstone of global collaboration.” – Rae Kwon Chung

Interaction between politicians and scientists to resolve global problems

“Scientists are unlikely to overcome this barrier by themselves. <...> There needs to be the political will to open up the capabilities of laboratories, to allow an understanding of the entire logistics and movement chain. Essentially, this would be a shared international laboratory.” – Andrey Kaprin, Director, National Medical Research Radiological Centre

“Today’s politicians do not sufficiently employ science to achieve their aims. <...> Science can help politics, as it has the tools to dispel many of the fake statements which currently abound.” – Riccardo Valentini, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

An inter-disciplinary approach to developing science

“The objective has to be to <...> create a kind of globalization that is inclusive and open to all. It is necessary to develop and adapt specific competencies in this third industrial revolution – the era of artificial intelligence.” – Milano Jose, Director General, KEDGE Business School

Increasing government support for science

“If we are serious about academic mobility, if we are serious about properly equipping laboratories, then there absolutely needs to be a major increase in funding. In fact, it is something the President has spoken about in his May decrees.” – Vyacheslav Nikonov

“First of all, the state must say that it values its scientists.” – Dmitry Pushkar, Chief Urologist, Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation

A pivot East for scientific collaboration

“If we consider that today’s leaders in numerous scientific fields – and today’s undisputed leaders in education – are Asian countries which do not participate in this game, then a pivot East on the part of our scientific collaboration naturally has a very positive value.” – Vyacheslav Nikonov

Analytics on the topic