‘Science Should Help in Bridging Gaps’
International cooperation in science and innovation is not only able to help solve global issues, such as the battle against climate change, hunger and incurable diseases, but also to overcome political disagreement between countries. The joint international OECD-HSE workshop 'Transnational research and innovation partnerships. Designing international co-operation projects to deliver on economic competitiveness and the grand challenges' addressed the question of how to achieve maximum effectiveness in such cooperation, best practices in organizing research cooperation, and the support tools that the state should provide.
‘We must form an international cooperation environment so that we can work comfortably despite the political conditions in an unstable world’, said Grigory Trubnikov, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Russia. ‘We want to make our contribution to the global economy bigger, and scientific diplomacy is an important element on the way to achieving this goal’.
Annually, approximately 1,500 Russian researchers represent Russia in leading international research centres, such as CERN (Switzerland), German Electron Synchrotron (DESY, Germany), Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS, Italy), and KEK (Japan). Considerable attention is being paid to international S&T cooperation within the country as well. A total of 898 international projects have been supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and have received 866.85 million roubles in grant funding.
The Higher School of Economics is not only a leader in the federal programme aimed to support research at universities, but also a key Russian representative in OECD events, notes Trubnikov. He reaffirmed the Russian government’s commitment to active cooperation with the OECD, the readiness to increase the number of Russian members in OECD structures, and a strong intention to become an associate member of the organization. Leonid Gokhberg added that cooperation with the OECD that has lasted for more than 20 years has allowed Russian scholars to be involved in the work of the most relevant agenda for the international academic community.
Dominique Guellec, Head of the Science and Technology Policy Division (STP) at the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, believes that it is necessary to split research costs between governments of different countries in order to increase responsibility for solving global issues. ‘There are serious challenges, such as hunger or climate change, but there is no international response. Countries don’t work together’.
According to Natalia Stapran, Director of the Department for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, science can no longer be national in the era of digitalization and globalization. ‘Transnational cooperation is not a goal anymore, it’s a reality. It’s time to solve the problem of how to work under the new conditions, and scholars should be proactive in this regard’, Ms. Stapran said. ‘International cooperation has become part of everyday life for most of us’, agreed Kai Husso, representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. According to Leonid Gokhberg, the focus should not be on international, but on interregional cooperation. ‘This practice demands special tools’, he emphasized.
As part of the panel session ‘Going global — Building international research and innovation partnerships’, representatives of Brazil, Kazakhstan, China, Sweden and Switzerland shared their experiences in choosing and funding international projects, as well as their assessment of its effectiveness. The discussion continued in groups that focused on the distribution of intellectual property rights and revenues in international projects, ways to resolve conflicts arising due to cultural differences and work ethics, sustainable funding, and the advantages of participation in international partnerships.