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The catastrophe of Ukrainian science

Катастрофа украинской науки

I remember in the early 90-ies, when Ukraine began the total reduction of financing of scientific institutions, the then Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in response to a question about prospects of development of science shrugged, “We don’t care about science, science can wait.” The waiting dragged on for a quarter of a century and has come to the point, when to wait already seems to be nothing, and could soon become nobody.

Who remembers now that the Ukrainian Soviet socialist Republic (SSR) was one of the most powerful scientific and technical potential among the Soviet republics, but also among the many countries of Europe and the world? Here for the first time the Soviet Union had split the atomic nucleus, the successful development of fundamental and applied research in physics, mathematics, medicine, biology, engineering, aircraft construction, shipbuilding, rocketry, instrument making, space industry, agriculture. In the late 70’s-early 80-ies in Kharkov for the first time in the Soviet Union began to work Institute “Monocrystals”, are engaged in developments in the field of nanotechnology, although at the time, and the word is that this was not…

Since 1991 every new President of the independent Ukraine proclaimed science and innovation one of the most important strategic components of the government’s science policy and socio-economic development of the country. Proclaimed and deceived. Over and over again.

About what will happen to science in Ukraine further, and most importantly, a sacrifice which she brought, frankly all in favor of the current President Poroshenko. Speaking on July 9, 2014 in Slovyansk, he said: “No more spending of billions of public funds, taxpayers’ money on useless research programs… Today the Ukrainian production will be loaded with precision weapons systems, Ukrainian drones, everything the Ukrainian army needs, starting from armor and ending with thermal imaging”. That’s all. Later, however, it was a memorable saying of Peter the great from the official site of the President of Ukraine was removed, but the word is not a Sparrow. The word says: “money on useless research programs” will not! They are not.

In annually published reports on the work of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) there are many materials which show what happened and is happening with science and employed it people in independent Ukraine.

If in 2007 in the system of scientific institutions of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) worked 43.2 thousand person, in 2011 – 41.7 thousand people, in 2012 – 38,5 thousand persons, and in 2015 – already 37,4 thousand. That is only 8 years scientific environment “shrunk” by 5.8 thousand people.

As a result of the Ukrainian government policy for a quarter-century of independence, the number of employed in Ukraine in the sphere of innovation has decreased 3.3 times (in the U.S. and Western Europe has increased in those same years, 2 times in South-East Asia – 4 times). During the same period, 3.5 times decreased the number of researchers in the field of technical Sciences. At 14.3 times (!) decreased development of new technology. 5 times (from 56% to 11.2 %) was the percentage of innovation-active industrial enterprises (even in not very developed Poland their share is 16 % in the whole European Union – 60 %). The growth in gross domestic product due to the introduction of new technologies in Ukraine is 0.7 %, while in industrialized countries this figure reaches 60% to 90% (!).

In the global competitiveness report involving 142 countries, Ukraine has dropped in recent years from 69 to 89 th place, behind Kenya and Botswana and in the innovation ranking even lower on the 74th place.

What do all these numbers? That the destruction of the scientific sphere and the de-industrialization of Ukraine go hand in hand – and go at a very fast pace. That is the reality of a country that finds money on useless research programs,” whatever they told Mr Poroshenko, echoing from time to time that Ukraine’s economy will be the locomotive for the EU economies.

You can certainly argue about whether another Ukrainian science on the brink of disaster or has she already crossed that line, but the most compelling and eloquent argument speciallady posters, which hundreds of representatives of the scientific community of Ukraine was released on June 15 at a protest in Central Kiev, put forward to the authorities of the collective murder of science: “We are outraged by the state policy in the field of science!” “Science mendicant!”, “A country without science a country without a future”, “Not bury the science!”, “The financial murder of the scientific sphere returns society to the caves!”…

At a rally under the walls of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and held on the same day in the UNIAN press-conference of Ukrainian scientists was given damning evidence. The underfunding of science adopted a “catastrophic and unprecedented character; for the last two and a half years (this is the age of the “revolution of dignity”), the rate of reduction of budget allocations for the Ukrainian science TWICE surpassed the rate of decline of GDP; a bill to increase funding of the NASU and specialized academies, prepared after the spring protests of scientists can be locked and even can not pass the budget Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. Ukrainian science in the literal sense of the word kill. People endlessly deceiving, not much hope that the government will fulfill its commitment to increase science funding by 2020 to at least 1.7% of GDP (in addition to 2020, is still required to live). “Yes it is not necessary to 1.7%, they say. – It would be 0.7 percent – it would have been three times more than today!”

So these low expectations even began to come true, the President of the newly-fallen snow should start to publicly renounce the words that he uttered on July 9, 2014 in Slovyansk.

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