A Historic Chance to Revitalize Ukrainian Science

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room LL20B (San Jose Convention Center)
Nataliya Shulga, Ukrainian Science Club, Kiev, Ukraine
Science and technology in Ukraine have been declining in the past 20 years mostly due to outdated poor governance and lack of political wisdom.  The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, as the highest state institution for governing and conducting research, failed to respond to the challenge of independence and a society turning toward democratic values. For many years young and ambitious researchers were leaving the country and not many vacancies were open for those under 35.

Since 2005, a group of enthusiasts have been working on new legislation for science and technology. Finally in 2014 those idealists finally got the chance to promote reform in education and science, even though the chance came at the brink of real war.  The revolutionary higher education law, passed in July of 2014, grants greater academic, financial, and organizational autonomy to all of Ukraine’s universities, providing students with the opportunity to be exposed to real research from day one of their studies.

Additional legislation is already registered to: establish the network of State Key Laboratories (Centers of Excellence);  the National Research Fund to increase the share of research funding distributed on a merit basis to individual researchers, groups and virtual labs; to bring Academy research institutes into closer cooperation with universities; and to create the opportunity for interdisciplinary research activity, innovative programs and even to support initial stages of startup companies.

Ukrainian researchers are hoping for the acceleration of international collaboration with their colleagues within the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” as well as with partners from US universities, institutions and companies. Ukraine is going to become very soon a leading country in software production, radiophysics, and agroscience technologies which will ultimately help the recovery and development of Ukraine’s economy.

New legislation is aimed to cope with the turmoil and demands of a new age. Ukraine needs to bring back and support excellence in basic research and engineering together with the education so crucial for society’s survival.