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7 Apr 2017

Belarus president wants breakthrough projects from scientists

MINSK, 7 April (BelTA) – If Belarusian scientists suggest implementing a breakthrough project, the government will always find money for it. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the relevant statement during the government conference held in the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus on 7 April to discuss problems and prospects of developing Belarusian science, BelTA has learned.

“We will surely do it. If you come up with a super project and an export-oriented one at that, a project that can return the investment, trust me we will find money for it. Not $10-15 million but $100 million if necessary. But you will have to prove that the project is vital for us or will pay its way,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

As a last resort the government may consider setting up a dedicated fund to finance bleeding-edge R&D projects. Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the existing options are sufficient for now. Getting things done is what matters.

The head of state said that in the past he made a similar proposal to Belarusian creative intellectuals when he visited the movie set of the movie Anastasia Slutskaya (Anastasia of Slutsk). Back then he was asked for more money for shooting new films.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the government will find money in any conditions if a truly momentous project is suggested. “I am still waiting for a good movie script and have no idea what those young movie directors and actors are up to now,” added the president.

The right of scientists to running risks was also discussed during the government conference. Scientists often face extremely steep requirements, which rule out the possibility of failure. This is why scientists are reluctant to explore breakthrough research areas where high risks are rampant and success is not guaranteed.

The head of state instructed the State Control Committee and the General Prosecutor’s Office to objectively analyze the fulfillment of scientific programs without picking on the results. “Yes, you have to control the spending of government money. If laws are violated, let’s talk about it,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “Scientists may make errors or allow some risks, may explore some wrong direction… I implore you to keep it in mind and treat them like human beings.”

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