April 22, 2016

Ukrainian Science Urgently Demands the State's Attention

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

It has become fashionable or even a must to talk loudly about the reforms in Ukraine, without getting to the back of them. Frankly speaking, we have come to a need to urgently reform everything. Not just to talk on reforms but to carry out systematic reforms.

It would be appropriate to recall that at the dawn of the resumption of the current independence, a significant part of transformations was developed by Ukrainian opinion leaders, but, unfortunately, it has never been taken into consideration, let alone implemented by the leadership of the state. However, just to be fair, it is worth noting that now we remember of the past. Today's and future generations of Ukrainians perceive better what needs to be done right now. After all, since then conditions have changed significantly, and new approaches are needed, based on, first of all, Ukrainian scientific research, taking into account world achievements. In turn, this means that our government and our multinational society should seriously develop our national science, including — through a rational personnel policy in scientific and educational institutions and its (science's) proper funding.

Of course, we could and should analyze the above-mentioned Ukrainian developments, at least, in order to implement to conceptual things, as well as for the sake of history and for awareness-raising work in our society and in the world.

World experience shows that only those countries are developed successfully, where there was a transformation in their principles (national) of scientific research, as well as were taken into account the achievements of world science and latest technologies. Countries which do not develop their science, just borrowing someone else's developments, in particular for the scientific justification of reforms, for some time flourished and provided benefits to their citizens, but then... disappeared. Current Ukraine in this respect, unfortunately, reminds the latter countries.

The only hope is the awareness (with the declaration of the new government) that not a single official-foreigner can build a state for Ukrainians, because he/she has neither lived not been formed in the Ukrainian conditions, and, consequently, can't objectively feel all the peculiarities of our mentality. Although the experts invited do sincerely wish to develop Ukraine. They are our friends, but they can't become 100 % Ukrainian officials. And without the latter we can only dream of the Ukrainian statehood, like it has happened many times in the past three or four centuries.

For the first time in the current independent Ukraine came into force the Law of Ukraine on Scientific and Technological Activities of 13 December 1991, where Article 34 provided for government funding of science not less than 1.7 % of GDP per year. Since then almost every year this Law was amended and added to, in no way to improve the level of science funding from the state budget. Eventually, November 26, 2015 (! recently) a new Law of Ukraine on Scientific and Technological Activities was adopted, where Article 48 also provided government funding of science and technology at the same level — no less than 1.7 % of GDP per year.

In reality, however, even taking into account the transitional provisions of the Law of December 13, 1991, starting from 1992 and till the present day, in Ukraine for the financing of science and technology the government have been allocating a fraction of the stipulated by the Law — that is, leftovers. Not much more has been allocated for the development of national science and technology by the industry, which money was also approximately an order of magnitude less than the average in the EU, not to mention the world's leaders of development. It should also be noted that during this time in some of the central authorities, unfortunately, disappeared units, which were commissioned to provide scientific and technological development of industries and regions of our country as a whole. In this regard, the question arises: “In what capacity are we going to integrate into the EU and are we still going to?”

A lot of energy and efforts once put the Ministers of Science and Education of Ukraine Vasyl Kremin, Stanislav Nikolayenko, Ivan Vakarchuk, Serhiy Kvit, former Chairman of the GCST Serhiy Ryabchenko and their deputies in order to increase funding for the development of Ukrainian science and technology (those who were deliberately destroying this sphere are not worth remembering).

Now this mission falls on Lilia Hrynevysh. A heavy burden.

It should be noted that not everything depended and depends on the above-mentioned persons. To some extent, the inadequate funding of the development of science and technology in Ukraine is determined by the modesty of researchers and their ruggedness. But only — to a certain extent.

True, there is little money in the state budget, and the needs of the branches are big enough. On the other hand — this status quo of the Ukrainian science contributes to a long anti-state campaign against Ukraine. After all, the national science is one of the most sensitive sectors in this context.

Based on the current Ukrainian realities, it is impossible to mention all the ways to increase funding for Ukrainian science and technology. Anyway, for this should not be reduced funding for other items of expenditure. One method of increasing budget spending on science and on other priority sectors is by de-shadowing of the economy, which, in turn, would help increase the revenues to the budget as a whole.

Apparently, there are other ways and methods. The government has a choice here. At the same time, it is worth noting that the easiest method to ensure the increase of budget revenues is to resort to the experience of the People's Rukh of Ukraine activists of the early 90-ies of the last century, when, thanks to their activity smuggling at border crossings was minimized.

But in any case we should immediately identify the priority sectors in Ukraine, to be financed properly with a view to ensuring the development and in general the existence of the state and society. For example, public health care, science and technology, awareness raising work, and so on. After such a determination, in case of additional revenues to the state budget, they should be urgently redirected to the priority spheres — without any “regular discussions” and other non-transparent actions. That is, without corruption.