Rector of MAI about scientific and technological development of the Russian Federation

13 November 2018

Rector of MAI about scientific and technological development of the Russian Federation

On the eve of the general meeting of members of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), which will be held on November 13 and 14, Rector of Moscow Aviation Institute, academician of the RAS Mikhail Pogosyan told the scientific community newspaper “Poisk” about the work of the Council for the priority of scientific and technological development “Coherence of the Territory of the Russian Federation”.

Councils were formed on the seven priorities of the scientific and technological revolution by the Government of the Russian Federation in October of this year as part of the implementation of the Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development approved by a presidential decree.

The Council, which is headed by Mikhail Pogosyan, should ensure the formation and selection of comprehensive scientific and technical programs and projects aimed at ensuring the coherence of the country’s territory through the creation of intelligent transport and telecommunication systems, the effective development of air and outer space, and the oceans.

 - Mikhail Aslanovich, it is clear that coherence of space is an important condition for the unity of the country and its sustainable development. How things stand in this area today? What kind conditions do we start from?

- Ensuring the coherence of the territory is really a big challenge which is one of the seven identified Strategies of the country's scientific and technological development. Challenges constitute both risks and benefits; and problems, and windows of opportunity. The undoubted advantage and wealth of Russia is its vast territory with enormous reserves of natural resources. But these are also obvious risks - an extremely uneven socio-economic development of the regions, their differentiation in terms of the quality of people’s life, conditions for economic activity, a high level of transportation costs, including the cost of maintaining infrastructure facilities in harsh climatic conditions.

Currently, expert and public discussion continue on the “Spatial Development Strategy of the Russian Federation” - the most important strategic planning document that should identify key challenges and priorities for the socio-economic development of the country as a whole and its regions, as well as set strategic objectives for ensuring the coherence of the territory.

The draft Strategy promulgated by the Ministry of Economic Development has come under harsh criticism of the Federation Council, the Public Chamber, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. It must be admitted that many of the ways to solve problems proposed in the Strategy are indisputable. But with the definition of calls contained in the draft document, it is worth agreeing.

First, it is a sharp increase in the economic role and population of large cities and the outflow of people from rural areas, small and medium cities. Secondly, this is a high degree of interregional differentiation. The level of provision of citizens with basic social benefits (comfortable housing, medical care, access to education, cultural facilities and events, etc.) varies significantly in Moscow and, for example, in rural areas of the Siberian Federal District.

Thirdly, this is the so-called network gap: the periphery of almost all regions does not have sufficient density of highways maintained in a normative state, stable cellular communications, and sufficient Internet speed.

All these challenges must be adequately answered. In the May presidential decree, tasks to ensure the coherence of the country's territory are included in several national programs and projects. Transport connectivity should be provided by the national project “Roads” and the Comprehensive Plan for the modernization and expansion of the trunk infrastructure. The tasks of providing the entire population of Russia with access to qualified medical care and education have been set in the national projects “Healthcare” and “Education”.

The need to reduce the impacts on nature in the construction and operation of infrastructure facilities, from traffic flows from the national project "Ecology". Following the Eastern Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin ordered the government to create a national program for the development of the Far East. In each of the listed global, complex tasks there is a scientific and technical component, on which the Council on the priority of scientific and technological revolution “Coherence of the Territory of the Russian Federation ” should work on in close cooperation with the other Councils and the Coordination Council.

- What progressive changes should occur as a result of work in this priority area? What will be the results of the work?

- The results to be obtained can be presented in three dimensions: social, economic and managerial. The social dimension of coherence of a territory is the fulfilment of relevant social standards: wherever Russian citizens lives, they should receive a set of social benefits guaranteed by the state. Economical: it is an opportunity to deliver goods on time, reliably and with such costs, at which the products will be competitive. Political and managerial coherence is necessary for the effective execution by authorities at all levels of their authority, including territorial development planning, effective use of budget funds and other public resources.

- The priority of “Coherence of the Territory ...” turned out to be extremely extensive: there are Space, and the Arctic with the Antarctic, and intelligent transport systems, and communication with navigation. How to organize work on such a field of very different tasks?

- In order to start forming complex scientific and technical programs of the full innovation cycle according to our priority, it was necessary first to structure it, identify the levels of connectedness of the territory, and for each of them determine the priority complex tasks. We see three such levels: global (Russia - foreign countries passing through our territory international transport corridors); interregional (capital - periphery, neighbouring regions); intraregional. Within the framework of intraregional coherence, the tasks are also very different. One set of tasks arises from the need to ensure the coherence of the territory in large agglomerations and is completely different in places with low population density and low economic activity.

In Moscow, for example, the priority complex task will be the efficient management of traffic flows in the conditions of a severe shortage of capacity and the need for infrastructure development. It means that it is necessary to focus attention on the creation and implementation of intelligent transport systems for personal and public use, and the prospect of the transition to electric transport and the widespread use of unmanned technologies are already obvious.

A completely different set of tasks is relevant for areas with low population density and economic activity. By the way, it is more than half of the country. Today, in such regions we have a density of infrastructure facilities (roads and railways, airports, ports), which seriously yields to Europe. To build in a short time a huge number of roads, water and air harbors with available resources is impossible. Therefore, there arises a complex, and first of all scientific and technical task: to ensure the coherence of the territory and the competitiveness of the economy in the context of a shortage of traditional means of communication.

For the transport system of such regions, it is appropriate to raise the issue of forming an off-road module - a unified line of off-road vehicles (including ultralight aircraft, airships, all-terrain vehicles, amphibians) that will be economical in production and operation.

For the Far Eastern Federal District, which now includes the Trans-Baikal and Buryatia, the creation of such a line of vehicles, as well as a digital platform that allows them to organize their optimal and collective use, seems vital. Therefore, the Council began to discuss the tasks of creating a Mobile Module for Integrated Territorial Development.

- How is the work of the Council organized?

- In mid-October, the Council held a meeting in the composition approved by the government. Prior to this, an expert group for planning the activities of the Council met twice. At all three meetings, a whole block of issues related to our main task today was the formation of the Integrated Scientific and Technical Program (ISTP) of the complete innovation cycle “Coherence of the Territory”.

First, we must set its substantive and methodological framework, and then form a package of comprehensive research plans (CRP)and integrated scientific and technical projects, from which it will be formed. In the framework of the CRP, it is assumed to generate scientific and technical knowledge, and the ISTP implies translating these results into a practical plane, bringing a product to the market or solving a significant socio-economic problem.

The combination of these two tools - ISTP and CRP - we plan to ensure the comprehensive nature of the programs and the alignment of the chains of the full innovation cycle when the results of R&D are used in the production of innovative products, when creating new technologies.

- At what stage is the formation of your integrated program?

- The Council approved its concept and the list of complex tasks included in it - directions for the formation of the ISTP and CRP. Now we have identified six such areas: integrated forecasting and modelling; transport and universal infrastructure; multimodal transport and logistics systems; public transport for urban agglomerations; off-road transport systems; "Smart territory". Representatives of our Council will speak about them at the November session of the General Meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The next step in the formation of the Comprehensive Program, with the participation of interested organizations and governmental bodies, is to determine for all these areas a list of scientific and technical tasks for which the ISTP and CRP will be formed.

However, in order to fully form the Comprehensive Program and begin to implement it, we must have the “rules of the game” adopted at the federal level, including the procedure for including programs that have been formed and approved by the Council under the President of the Russian Federation on science and education programs in the budget process. Now there is only a draft resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation “On Approval of the Rules for the Development, Approval, Implementation, Adjustment and Termination of Integrated Scientific and Technical Programs and Projects of the Full Innovation Cycle in order to ensure the implementation of the priorities of the scientific and technological development of the Russian Federation”.

We believe that this document needs to be improved. Our Council sent to the Ministry of Education and Science and to the Coordination Council on priority areas of scientific and technical development of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation on Science and Education a number of proposals to the project. They concern the rationalization of harmonization and approval of the Integrated Programs, as well as a clear description of decision-making mechanisms.

- Will specific ISTP and CRP be initially approved within the framework of the Comprehensive Programs, or are they supposed to be selected at later stages?

- This is not mentioned in the draft Rules. We proposed to establish that the passport of the Comprehensive Program submitted for consideration by the Council under the President of the Russian Federation on Science and Education should include several ISTP and CRP, taking into account the scale of the task, so that in future it can be adjusted and added new elements. For consideration of proposals to the Integrated Program at a meeting of the Council on priority, they should include, among other things, an analysis of potential customers and markets, indicators of goal achievement, a forecast of expected results, risk assessment, plans, schedules, budget, sources of funding.

The most important task of the Council at this stage is to efficiently organize the work on the collection and analysis of proposals for the formation of programs and projects.

Poisk

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