: / Strategies / National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2003-2005)

Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

H. Science

229. There has been significant reduction in the volume of research and development work (R&D) in the Republic over recent years. While in 1990 R&D represented 0.7 percent of gross domestic product, its share in 1998-2001 was only 0.21 percent. At present, the scientific potential of the Republic is concentrated in 92 separate establishments, organizations, enterprises, higher educational establishments, production research centers and temporary research teams. The highest qualification level is that of specialists in academic and higher educational sectors of science: 42 and 43 people, respectively, with degrees of doctor and candidate of sciences are to be found for each 100 specialists with higher education.
230. A decrease in investment in science has changed the allocation of financing for R&D. The share of funding from the state budget spent on fundamental research has increased, while similar support for scientific and technological services has practically ceased. At the same time, expenses from extra-budget funds have been reduced from 7 percent in 1996 to 0.3 percent in 2000. This suggests that in recent years there has been a decrease in the establishment of various (public, private, regional) funds to support science. The share of financing of R&D from own resources of scientific organizations earned from carrying out paid activities is insignificant. These resources, as well as the money received from lease of their premises are practically all spent on paying salaries and covering current expenses.
231. The share of clients investments in research has decreased from 32.4 percent in 1996 down to 18.8 percent in 2000, while funding by foreign investors has increased 12 times. The share of R&D for the development of new types of materials, products, processes, designing of new experimental equipment, goods and products decreased, mainly explained by a lack of demand for such work due to the lack of resources on the part of potential clients.
232. The cessation, for all practical purposes, of new investment in research has resulted in serious aging and depreciation of machinery and equipment used in scientific research. Centralized investment for procurement of instruments, equipment, consumables, etc. is provided in minimal volumes. Foreign currency support to information centers and research libraries to provide the scientific sector with research and development information from aboard has stopped.
233. The employment rate in Science and Scientific Services was declining until 1999. There was some increase in 2000, but in 2001 another decline has been observed. The largest number of specialists is employed in natural sciences, medicine, engineering, social and agricultural sciences. The number of specialists-theorists has increased, but the number of professionals among women has decreased. The number of specialists in human sciences has decreased by 57 percent.
234. There are other problems and threats in addition to those mentioned above, and a majority of them are related to the financial resources deficit for science. The technology research complex has been traditionally one of the areas supported by the state and, in principle; it cannot exist and develop properly without such support.
235. To reform the area of scientific R&D, it is necessary to improve the efficiency of use of limited financial and material resources allocated from the state budget in recent years by:
competitive financing of R&D and technology research projects in priority directions of social and economic development of the Republic;
conducting state research and technology expert examination of research work to be completed, as well as the projects proposed for financing;
introducing project financing on a repayment basis; and
targeted support for R&D and technology research work, which is at the stage of introduction for commercial development.
236. The volume of funding for science from the state budget during 2003 -2205 shall be increased to 1 percent of GDP, against the present 0.21 percent and the funding shall be extended on a program basis. Some relief of the budget shall be achieved by increasing the share of extra budgetary resources attracted to finance R&D activities, including grants from foreign foundations, which it is hoped will increase to 50 percent of the total volume of science financing by 2005.
237. Salary levels in science need to be increased in order to attract a greater number of people employed in this area to 0.5-0.6 percent of the total number of those employed in economy as compared to 0.3 percent employed at present. The increased expenditure on science should also be used to attract young people to research and technology activities by organizing and conducting scientific contests of young scientists and students, conferences, seminars, etc. Postgraduate and doctoral studies shall become prestigious occupations; it is necessary to increase the value of scholarships paid to post-graduate students. Integration of science and education shall promote an increase in the total number of people employed in the area of science and engagement of youth in scientific activities. A tried and true method of such integration is the establishment of scientific and research institutes and scientific centers within leading universities of the Republic. An effective promotion of innovation would also be supported by the formation of independent scientific and research and technical centers.
238. For the future, it will be necessary for science development strategy to concentrate efforts on fundamental research that ensures a linkage to NSPR priorities energy, information technology, modern methods of production management, development of mountain territories, etc. Critical problems at the state level need to be identified for each of these directions, the solution of which shall become top priority. At the same time, a major share of public resources allocated to science should be spent on solving these problems according to the priorities for financing fundamental scientific research, as well as research in the humanities on the reasons for poverty and recommendations for its reduction. Development of new scientific research directions should be made on the basis of extra budgetary resources, funding by sponsors and foreign funds.
239. The following measures will need to be taken in the implementation of the science development strategy:
Integration of science, education and production is the imperative of our era. The Republics higher education establishments should become the centers of both fundamental research and applied science, as their research and technology personnels potential expands and they become familiar with the fundamentals of marketing and management, modern computer and information technology, and are able to adapt to new economic conditions.
Creation of conditions for development of a technology transfer system should significantly reduce the time between obtaining the results of scientific research and its practical application to production.
The establishment of the State Innovation Fund should ensure introduction of a system of financing applied research. The financial resources of the fund can be sourced from the state budget, the Kyrgyzpatent and line ministries and departments interested in using the results of scientific research. Such a financing mechanism should promote development of scientific innovation activities restrained by the lack of working capital that is necessary for experimental and commercial developmental tests. It is also advisable to stimulate financial institutions to provide science with financial resources.
Improvement of the legislative base in the sphere of research and intellectual property envisages introduction of amendments to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic On Science and on the Basis of the State Scientific and Technical Policy for the purpose of adapting it to the new economic conditions in which science functions. In particular, it is necessary to strengthen the provisions related to scientific innovation, to introduce amendments to the procedures for competitive selection, expert examination and financing of scientific projects. It is necessary to adhere to international conventions and agreements envisaging the guarantee of authors and inventors rights to intellectual property and the broadening of opportunities for authors and inventors to receive awards.
Establishment of a telecommunication infrastructure for research becomes an objective necessity when humankind generally is moving into the information technology age.
Development of international cooperation should become an indispensable part of scientific and technical research. It is intended to further develop relationships with scientific research programs of the European Union, programs of the International Scientific-and-Technical Center, the US Civil Research Foundation, and so forth.